Interlibrary Loan Borrowing

Picture of Book Stacks

As a member of the Boston University School of Theology community, there are several ways to gain access to that needed resource not available at any of the BU Libraries.

Click on any of the boxes to learn more about methods of getting that perfect resource you need for your paper.

Click here to log into ILLiad

Using interlibrary loan (or ILL for short), current BU STH students, faculty, and staff are able to request needed materials for their research from other libraries, with delivery straight to the STH Library circulation desk! You can request items that BU owns and are checked out through the Boston Library Consortium, or books that BU doesn’t own from libraries throughout the world!

ILL Quick Facts

It is available to current BU School of Theology students, faculty, and staff.
If BU owns an item you need but it is checked out, you can place a request for the item through interlibrary loan at Boston Library Consortium libraries. If no BLC library is willing to lend, recall the item on our online catalog.
When BU doesn’t own the item, we will try to borrow it from any library throughout the world that does (and is willing to loan it)!
Request physical items like books (arrives in 1-3 weeks, if filled) or single article or book chapter scans (1-2 business days).
Physical items like books are delivered to the STH circulation desk and PDF article and book chapter scans are accessed through the ILLiad main menu; you will get an email when it is ready to be picked up/viewed.
Return item by due date on slip around item. We can try to renew the item, but it is up to the lending institution.
The borrower is responsible for fines from the lending library if material is lost, overdue, or damaged.
All interlibrary loan transactions are subject to U.S. Copyright Law; with ILL scans, we are usually limited to one article scan, one book chapter, or 10% of an item.
• Start Here First! Visit WorldCat Discovery (available here or on our home page), and type in the needed resource you need. Once you find what you need, WorldCat Discovery will tell you if the item is available at any Boston University libraries, Boston Library Consortium libraries, or at any other participating libraries throughout the world. With a couple of clicks, you can request the item right from that page!

Please read the ILLiad FAQ or watch our tutorial for more information on using ILLiad:


Through agreements with Boston College, Northeastern University, and Brandeis University, all BU students, faculty, and staff can borrow directly from those universities’ libraries using just their BU ID (Terrier Card), like you would checking out an item at our library. Furthermore, when those items are due, no need to trek all the way back to the library from which you borrowed the item; just drop the book off at Mugar Library’s book return! Remember that all due dates are set by the lending institution and we are unable to take care of fines or renew items for you.

More information about borrowing in-person at other libraries in Boston can be found here.


The Boston University School of Theology is a member of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), which is a partnership of ten different schools of theology in the Boston area. Through this partnership, all current BU School of Theology students, faculty, and staff, as well as students in the Division of Religious and Theological Studies, are able to borrow at all the BTI libraries.

You can sign up for a BTI Card at the School of Theology Library circulation desk. Using that card, you have full access to each member library!

Boston Theological Institute logo

Getting a BTI Card

Visit the circulation desk at the School of Theology Library and ask for a BTI Card. Your BTI card which allows you borrowing privileges at the following libraries:

Check out Materials at other BTI Libraries

First, you need to register a patron account at the BTI library you’re visiting. Please present both your BU ID and your BTI card at the circulation desk of any BTI library between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, in order to make a patron account there. You must have your BTI card and BU ID before you go to a BTI library to borrow materials.

Please note that books checked out at BTI libraries are governed by the lending libraries’ policies and patrons are responsible directly to the BTI library for any overdue fines.

BTI cards expire at the end of each semester so please stop by at the beginning of the next semester to pick up a new card.

Returning Items from other BTI Libraries

Items checked out at another BTI library can be returned to the BU School of Theology Library circulation desk. You must sign the BTI return log (in a red binder) upon returning these items at the Theology Library circulation desk during business hours; do not return BTI materials in the book drop.

BTI books from other libraries returned to the School of Theology Library are returned by courier to their home institution. This process may take about a week. Overdue notices may still be sent out between a BTI book’s return to our library and the date when it finally reaches the originating library, but any fines should be waived when the book arrives.

If you have any questions, click here or email sthref@bu.edu.

More information about borrowing in-person at other libraries in Boston can be found here.

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BU graduate students, faculty, and staff are able to apply for a Boston Library Consortium (BLC) Card, which allows the user the ability to borrow books from any library that is a member of the Boston Library Consortium. You must apply at the Mugar Library circulation desk.

• Information on BLC borrowing is available via Mugar.

Eligible to borrow in-person at all BLC libraries.

You do not need this card to borrow at BC, Northeastern, or Brandeis. You just need your BU ID.

Borrowing lengths, fines, etc. all set by lending institution.

Return items at library from which they were borrowed.

More information about borrowing in-person at other libraries in Boston can be found here.

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