As you would expect, this depends on where your item is coming from and what type of resource you’re requesting: Western’s answer is 1 to 4 weeks for book, and 1 week for a photocopied journal article.

The path that an interlibrary loan request takes is as follows (roughly):

  1. You fill in your request
  2. Your request is received by the Western Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan (ILL) department
  3. They review whether ILL is absolutely necessary (we might have the item here at Western, hiding somewhere)
  4. They send your request to the other university’s ILL department
  5. This ILL department then sends your request to their holding library
  6. That library receives the request
  7. The library staff process your request and send the item back to their own ILL department
  8. Your item is shipped here to Weldon
  9. Weldon ships the item to Brescia
  10. We email you

That’s many steps.  Things that can delay this process include: holidays, weekends, libraries that are far away. So, make sure to use RACER when you still have lots of time before your essay is due.  Here is Western Libraries’ answer to this question:

How long will it take for my request to arrive?

  • Your request may come from anywhere in Canada, the United States or off continent.
  • Staff find the best source and arrange for the material to be delivered to campus.
  • If your request has a deadline, please note this in “special instructions” on the RACER form.
  • Photocopies are normally available within a week.
  • Loans usually take 1 to 4 weeks to arrive.


For more information on requesting Interlibrary Loan material, see RACER’s online guide: