Submitting Requests

All material held by CRL is eligible for loan. Member libraries can make unlimited number of requests, request any amount of material in any format to be sent, and extend to patrons the generous CRL loan period of six months with unlimited renewals.

How to Submit Requests

OCLC ILL subsystem

  • CRL catalogs use OCLC; CRL has completed retrospective conversion for most of its cataloged titles, entering all records into OCLC.
  • CRL’s OCLC symbol is CRL. CRL suggests that members put CRL first in the lender string and enter CRL twice or more to ensure the request stays open.
  • CRL urges ILL offices to request materials through OCLC when CRL’s holdings symbol is attached to the bibliographic record.
  • CRL has set up a union list of serials in OCLC called CRIU. 

ALA Request Forms

  • CRL accepts requests submitted on the standard American Library Association (ALA) Interlibrary Loan Request form, either sent through the mail or via fax.


  • Requesters can transmit requests by fax, using either the ALA request form or a locally designed form that incorporates all the information required in the ALA form. Accepting a request by fax does not imply that CRL will provide rush service or give priority to the request.
  • Requests can be sent to the Access Service Fax Number: (773) 955-9732


  • ILL offices may telephone to verify holdings before submitting a request through the mail or an electronic system.
  • CRL will also accept requests over the telephone. However, this is not the preferred method, since it affords many opportunities for inaccuracies, misunderstandings, and inconsistent paperwork.

CRL Partners in Resource Sharing

  • Borrow Direct
  • ConnectNY
  • Linda Hall Library
  • Prospector
  • Rapid
  • UBorrow
  • Others as member demand arises

Shipping Loaned Items

CRL ships loaned materials to most requesters by UPS.

If a patron requires expedited delivery, CRL can ship items via a courier such as FedExCRL will bill the library or the patron for the delivery charge for expedited service.

Member libraries may return materials by Pony Express, UPS, or USPS library rate. Use the enclosed CRL mailing labels for returns, and use the red labels when returning recalled materials. Member libraries should include a copy of the original loan paperwork with returned items. Please include a note with returned materials to inform CRL of any problems such as torn microform, wrong microfilm reel in box, pages missing from hardcopy materials, etc.

Document Delivery

CRL provides copies of articles on request, in compliance with copyright guidelines and fair use provisions. CRL provides these copies as scanned images, or as photocopy documents when specifically requested.  Copies can be delivered in several ways:

  • Odyssey
  • Article Exchange
  • Email pdf
  • Fax
  • Photocopies mailed by USPS first class mail

Sometimes the condition of material or the quality of the printing or graphics means that loan of an item is more satisfactory than a copy; in these cases, CRL will send the original format for loan instead of a copy.

CRL Digitization

ILL Video Tutorial

CRL now offers a short video tutorial for ILL librarians on how to borrow materials from CRL collections.