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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Distance Learners and Instructors: Library Resource & Services

A guide for students and instructors enrolled in online or off-campus courses through Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can use Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning Library Services?
  2. Is there a charge to receive materials from the library?
  3. If a book is checked out from the University of Illinois library, how can I get it?
  4. If a book is not available from the University of Illinois Library, how can I get it?
  5. Why do I need an i-card?
  6. How do I create a library account?
  7. What is a NetID and why do I need it to use some online resources?
  8. Why am I sometimes unable to connect to an online resource?
  9. How long can I keep books I have borrowed?
  10. How can I keep track of and renew the material I have borrowed?
  11. How am I notified that material is overdue?
  12. How do I return material?
  13. What is a "VPN" and how do I use it?
  14. How can I get help with my writing?
  15. How do I get an i-card?

1. Who can use Online & Continuing Education Library Services?

You may use Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) Library Services if you are a student or faculty member engaged in off-campus and distance education courses offered through the University of Illinois' Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning Education Programs. Students enrolled in classes that meet on-campus or who live in Urbana, Champaign, or Savoy will be directed to the appropriate departmental library for their library needs.

2.  Is there a charge to receive materials from the library?

Depending on what you request, there may be a charge. Please note - You must be enrolled in a Center for Innovation for Teaching and Learning class for the following to apply:

  • There is no charge to download an article available from the library’s Online Journals and Databases.
  • There is no charge for articles/book chapters available via Interlibrary Loan.
  • There is no charge to pick up or return a book to an I-Share library. If you return an I-Share item past its due date, you are subject to the late fees associated with the individual I-Share library.
  • There is no charge for articles/book chapters copied by DocExpress. The Center for Innovation for Teaching and Learning pays for this cost.
  • If you receive a book from the University of Illinois Library, you are responsible for the return shipping charges, including insurance. If you check out a book and it is lost, you will be charged $125.

3.  If a book is checked out from the University of Illinois library, how can I get it?

If you live in or near Illinois and an I-Share library:

  • Use the I-Share catalog to see if the book is available from an I-Share institution and have it sent to the I-Share library near you.
  • For instructions about ordering and picking up books at I-Share libraries, see the Request I-Share Books tab of this guide. Check this map of I-Share libraries to see if one is close to you.

If you do not live in or near Illinois:

  • Consider requesting one or two chapters of the book through the library's DocExpress service. Amazon, Google Books, or the publisher's website may help you determine which chapters or page numbers may be of interest. For instructions about how to request an item via DocExpress, see the Request Articles tab of this guide.
  • Use Interlibrary Loan services at a public or academic library near you.
  • Request a recall of the book by calling Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery at 217-333-1958 and ask for someone who can assist with continuing education.
    • The book will be recalled from the person who has checked it out and then mailed to you.
    • The recall process will take at least three weeks.

4.  If a book is not available from a library at University of Illinois, how can I get it?

You have two options.  If you live in Illinois in the vicinity of an I-Share member library, you can order the book through the I-Share catalog and pick it up at an I-Share library when you receive email notification that it is available.

If you do not live in Illinois or if you do not have access to an I-Share member library, you should try to check the book out from a library in your community. If your local library does not have the book, it should be able to order it for you through interlibrary loan.

5.  Why do I need an i-card?

Your i-card is your student ID. You need it to access a wide variety of services from the University of Illinois including, but not limited to, library resources.  For your convenience, your library card number is located on your i-card and the number starts with 20111-. 

6.  How do I create a library account?

Library accounts are created from the library website. The form requires your name, email address, chosen user ID and password, your borrower ID number found on your i-Card, and the library you are affiliated with, i.e. the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Refer to the Using the Library Catalog guide for more details.

7.  What is a NetID and why do I need it to use certain online resources?

Your NetID is a name assigned to you that is unique across all University of Illinois campuses. It serves as your login to many University computing and networking services and also determines your University email address, which is NetID@illinois.edu.  For more information about your NetID, your password and other networking accounts, please contact Technology Services.  If you have forgotten your password, or want to change your current password, you can do so from the NetID Password Manager.

You need your NetID and password to log in to the library’s proxy server.  To use many resources available through the library, you will be prompted to log in with your NetID and password. 

8.  Why am I sometimes unable to connect to an online resource?

A technical problem may cause the the library’s website, the catalog, or another online resource to become temporarily unavailable.  To check the status of the library’s system, visit the IT Help Desk website and look under System Status and Service Alerts.

In addition, some resources only allow a limited number of users to connect simultaneously. If your connection is initially unsuccessful, try again later.

To report a problem connecting to a database or online journal, visit Online Journals & Databases, scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out the feedback form for "Report a problem."  Please include as much information as you have about the problem, including the name of the resource you are trying to access.

9.  How long can I keep books I have borrowed?

It depends!  Use the library's Borrowing Privileges website to determine when you need to return an item.

10.  How can I keep track of and renew the material I have borrowed?

You can view your checked out items from the My Account page. You can also track and cancel requests, view pick-up notifications, renew material, and view fines.

11.  How am I notified that material is overdue?

Overdue notices are sent to your @illinois.edu email address.

12.  How do I return material?

If you have access to an I-Share library, material from the University of Illinois Libraries may be returned to any I-Share member library.

You can also return material directly to us via an insured carrier (FedEx, UPS, or U.S. mail).  If a return book shipment is lost in the mail, you are responsible for a $125 fine per book; therefore, you are encouraged to insure the book.  Material borrowed by students during on-campus visits can also be returned to us; we'll make sure it gets back to the lending library.

Please mail your books to the exact address below:

University of Illinois Library
128 Library ILL/DD; MC-522
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801

13.  What is as "VPN" and how do I use it?

A "VPN" is a Virtual Private Network. A VPN system is used to create a secure connection between one computer and another computer or network. As an affiliate of the University of Illinois, you can download and install a VPN for more secure access to University resources, including the library. Visit the Technology Services website to download the University's most recent VPN software.  

14. How can I get help with my writing?

If you are a graduate student enrolled in an CITL course, you may request writing assistance through Writers Workshop.

14. How do I get an i-card?

To obtain an i-card, fill out the photoless i-card request form on the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning website, or contact them by phone at 217-333-3061 or toll-free at 800-252-1360 x33061.