Using the IU Libraries

Photo courtesy of Indiana University Bloomington

One word that describes my library experience at IU: INTERLIBRARY LOAN!

What is this mysterious word? One might hear it uttered by the librarians once in a while.  But interlibrary loan (ILL) is a scholar’s and a casual reader’s best friend.  So what the heck is interlibrary loan?  It is a system in which the IUB Libraries will try to get materials from other university libraries for you if they do not own what you are looking for.

OK, Stephanie, so why are you so excited about this?  Well, growing up, I was that kid who had a library card for the public library at a really young age.  I was that kid who checked out 32 books and read them in about three weeks.  So, essentially the ILL is having FREE access to all of the books that are owned by hundreds of university libraries.  If you can’t find a book that you want at IUB Libraries, then you can request to have that item delivered to you in just a few short days.  I have used ILL for scholarly papers, but also for pleasure reading!  Want a copy of the Hunger Games?  It will be delivered to the nearest IU library in a few short days!

OK Stephanie, do you really use the ILL for pleasure reading?  Yes, once in a while.  But the ILL is incredibly helpful for research–something that I am just starting to learn as a master’s student.  During my first year, I was up late writing a very important research paper.  I really needed an electronic article that would be the crux of my argument, which the IU library did not own the article.  But when I put in an ILL request for the article, the item showed up in my email inbox in less than 24 hours!   So the main takeaway: ILL is a lifesaver!

I am simply amazed how many resources that the IUB libraries have for all of its students.  I keep learning about new resources and neat tricks to help my exploration process easier and more enjoyable.