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Interlibrary Loan: ILL frequently asked questions (FAQ)

The process for requesting a loan through Cuesta library for materials at other libraries

Frequently asked questions

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What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

Interlibrary Loan is a service through which patrons may request print and audio-visual materials not owned or accessible by Cuesta College library.

Who Can Use ILL?

All current Cuesta College faculty, staff and students may request materials thru interlibrary loan.

Is There a Limit on the Number of Requests a Borrower may Submit?

The interlibrary loan service limits borrowers to 10 requests in process at any one time. This includes pending requests, received requests, and items being returned. We limit the number of requests we process in order to make sure other patrons' requests are processed in a timely manner.

Is There a Charge for ILL?

Interlibrary Loan services are provided to current Cuesta faculty, staff, and students only, usually without any costs from participating institutions. Occasionally, there may be a fee from non-participating institutions that charge for interlibrary loan services – those libraries are sent requests as a last resort, after no cost options are exhausted. You will be sent a notification/request for permission if a last resort scenario occurs for your request and you’ve indicated you’re willing/able to pay a fee.  Any fees incurred will be added to your library account, payable immediately.  Fees tend to range from $20 - $50 per request (remember, fees are very rare).

What is Electronic Delivery?

Many libraries ship photocopies of articles to us in electronic format. In the past we printed these articles before delivering them to you. Now, we are able to electronically delivery these articles in PDF format (Adobe's Portable Document Format).

What Types of Materials are Available?

The ILL Department will attempt to borrow articles, books and other materials you may require. Some items are more difficult to borrow and thus take longer to arrive. These include textbooks, bestsellers, rare materials, bound journal volumes, videotapes, DVDs or CDs, foreign theses and dissertations, and microprint. Not all items are available and many institutions require fees for lending 

or do not lend or copy rare materials and full journal issues. If you would like further assistance before placing your request, please contact the Reference desk at (805) 546-3157

How Long does it Take to Arrive?

Most loan requests are filled within 10 business days; articles generally arrive within one week. Other materials may take longer, depending on the location of the supplying library and method of delivery used. If you need resources ASAP, please consult a Reference librarian for materials in person at the library on either campus or via chat at

How Will Loans be Delivered?

Loans or other items that are physically delivered (whenever possible articles will be delivered electronically) are to be picked up at the Cuesta College Library Circulation desk. You will be asked for your preferred pickup location of either the SLO or NCC campus and notified when the request(s) are ready to check out.

How Long Can I Keep the Material?

Photocopies, unless otherwise noted, are yours to keep. Documents delivered electronically are available for download for thirty (30) days after first received. Loans of books and other materials may generally be kept for three (3) weeks unless otherwise noted on the book strap. If you need to use the material longer, please email to request a renewal.

ILL Request Form

ILL Request Form
Click the image below to access the form.