I've come across a few books which I'd like to read, which I'd only be able to access through inter-library loans - but these are purely for personal interest, not actual research.

How much of a "pain" is it for libraries to engage in ILLs? (The use of "may be able to" in the wording makes me think there's some level of negotiation involved?) - should I go for it any time I'm willing to pay the nominal fee, or save it for really special cases?

There's also the option of joining my university's library as alumni, if it's somehow easier for academic libraries.

  • 4
    Just ask the librarian, that is what they are there for. Nov 21 at 14:08
  • 1
    @MaartenBuis especially relevant, because if the librarian is frustrated by this request you can understand that you do not have a librarian in front of you, but simply a book manager.
    – EarlGrey
    Nov 21 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


Such things are completely normal for almost all libraries. Even for my village/town library, but especially for university libraries.

Many university libraries have standing agreements with other (larger) libraries for less common books. It is a sort of magic superpower that librarians have.

Some might appreciate monetary contributions, of course.

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