Interlibrary Loan vs Prospector

What are Prospector and Interlibrary Loan? 

Prospector and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) are both services that can help you access library materials that we don’t own at Colorado College. They are similar but if you understand the differences between the services, you can get what you need faster and easier. 

Prospector is a local (Colorado and Wyoming) interlibrary service for students, staff, and faculty, ideal for borrowing more commonly available books and media. Search Prospector first for faster turnaround. Place requests 24-7 through the Prospector website and manage renewals through your regular library account.  Direct questions about Prospector to the Circulation department at or at the Circulation Desk or see the policies page for more details. 

Interlibrary Loan is a service that supplies articles, scanned chapters, and harder-to-find books. Sign up or sign-in to your ILL account here. Note that ILL is managed separately from your regular library account and Prospector. Use ILL for requesting journal articles and book chapters, and for books you can’t access through Prospector. For book requests, start by searching WorldCat—an international library catalog with thousands of participating libraries. When signed into your ILL account you can request books through WorldCat or articles through our databases and the citation will autofill into your request form. For more info see the ILL webpage. Direct questions to 

*Remember when searching for books, spelling and punctuation count! Unlike Google Prospector, WorldCat, and our website don’t have the ability to predict and correct spelling. If you are unsure, search in Google first and cut and paste the title to search it. Also try removing punctuation when doing a keyword search. 


Prospector Vs. Interlibrary Loan—which should I use? 

For Books: Try the CC library catalog first using a Books and Media search on the home page. Then search Prospector if you can’t find what you need in our catalog. Lastly, search WorldCat for harder to find materials. Prospector is faster on average because you can place requests and get a response on weekends, and since it’s local and delivered through our courier system. Interlibrary Loan can take longer for physical media as books are shipped through the mail. 

For journal articles and book chapters that we don’t have access to through OneSearch or our databases, place an article request through Interlibrary Loan.  

For more details about Prospector borrowing and policies, go to 

For more details about Interlibrary Loan policies, visit: 


Noteworthy FAQ’s & Disclaimers: 

Don’t forget the power of Google to find electronic materials and check spelling for title searches. Many articles and dissertations requested through ILL can be found with a quick Google search—try putting the title in quotation marks. Did you know that articles available through Science Direct will come up automatically when you Google them while on campus? Then try OneSearch as a next step for searching articles. Still can’t find what you need? Talk to a research librarian in person or on chat. 

Be careful with your ILL and Prospector books!  Fines for ILL are decided by the lending library— we can’t control them.  Avoid proximity to drinks and water bottles. Do not underline or make notes, even in pencil.  

Please leave all paperwork and labels attached to ILL books so they can be checked in properly. 

E-books are not usually borrowable through ILL because of publisher contracts. There are some exceptions, but most of the time physical books are the rule for ILL. 

ILL is not able to scan chapters from books we own. Patrons should visit Tutt to check out the book or scan the chapter as needed. 

ILL and Prospector do not supply non- circulating physical materials like journal issues, newspapers, magazines and bound journal volumes. 


Quick Fact Sheet 


Interlibrary Loan, a.k.a. ILL 

Local version of ILL: Colorado and Wyoming libraries only 

United States and International libraries 

Borrow physical books and media 

...books and media plus journal articles and book chapters 


21 day checkout with 21 day renewal. 

Checkout time variable, set by lending library 

Check after searching Tutt’s “Books & Media” 

Search WorldCat when you can’t find in Prospector 

Request anytime, self service 

Requests processed Mon-Fri, 9-5PM 

Due date reminder on receipt slip 

Comes with paper band or sticker with library paperwork & due date. Do not remove. 

Can request class textbooks when available 

Textbooks and books for classwork discouraged 

Good for research, class texts, & recreational reading 

Use for research and hard to find books 

Replacement fines $25 + cost of book (decided by Circulation dept) 

Fines set by lenders—can be in excess of $100 

Pick up @ Circ Desk, return @ book drop or Circ 

Pick up @ Circ Desk, return @ book drop or Circ 

Faster 1 week avg delivery via courier 

1-2 week delivery, average 

For Current students, staff, faculty 

Students, staff, faculty & alumni* (see policies page) 




Report an issue - Last updated: 10/12/2023