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College of San Mateo Library
Research Help

InterLibrary Loan (ILL) Service

Two library buildings connected by a line

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services are available whenever the library is open, except for summer session (see Library hours).

What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

The Interlibrary Loan Service provides access to library materials not owned by the College of San Mateo Library, or the other SMCCCD Libraries. All CSM students, faculty, and staff who are eligible to borrow materials from the library are eligible to use Interlibrary Loan Services and can request books from local PLS Libraries. Additionally, community members are able to request interlibrary loans for PLS items for pick-up at the College of San Mateo Library.

How to Request an Interlibrary Loan

  1. Check to see if the Library already owns it:
  2. Check to see if your item is available in the San Mateo public library system (PLS - includes all San Mateo County-area libraries)
    • Search the PLS catalog
    • If your item is available in the PLS catalog you have two options:
      • Request the item(s) for pick-up at College of San Mateo Library using our PLS Materials Request Form:

        Request from PLS

        OR:
      • Place a hold to pick-up at your local San Mateo County-area library through your PLS account (available for users who have active PLS library cards) and pick it up at your PLS Library of choice
        • If available, items in PLS libraries are typically available for pick-up within a week; you will receive an email from the CSM Library letting you know when your item is ready
    • If your item is not available at PLS then go to step 3.
  3. Items not available at CSM Library, SMCCD Libraries, or PLS libraries
    • If you're unable to find an item in the library catalog, one of our databases, or PLS, then CSM students, faculty, and staff may place a request for it via our interlibrary loan (ILL) request forms depending on the type of material:
    • Request a Book Request an Article
      • Items outside of SMCCD and PLS may take up to two weeks to arrive
      • You will receive an email from the CSM Library letting you know when your item is ready
      • We will do our best to full all requests, but some material may not be available to loan from other institutions

The Fine Print

  • Some interlibrary loans may take up to two weeks to receive, so please plan your research accordingly.
  • At the College of San Mateo Library, there are no ILL service charges for SMCCD students, faculty, and staff; there are no hold fees for any PLS items. College identification or other proof of student or employment status may be required.
  • Some (but not all) ILL lending libraries charge fees for certain requests. Any fees charged by the lending library - postage, insurance, photocopy costs, ILL service fee - are the responsibility of the requesting user (including students, faculty and staff of the SMCCCD) and must be paid in full before using the borrowed material. All library borrowers are fully responsible for any costs assessed by the lending library in connection with lost or damaged materials.

Updated Fall 2022