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Distance Learners: Books

This guide outlines library services and resources for distance learners at the University of Northern Iowa.

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Find and Request Books

Library staff will check out and send most books owned by Rod Library to UNI distance learners.

Use OneSearch! on the library home page to find books and then request the desired books through the ILLIAD system.

(Links to both OneSearch! and ILLIAD are included below.)

Distance students can request books not owned by Rod Library using interlibrary loan (ILL) which also uses the ILLIAD system.

Please remember that you will have a book via interlibrary loan for a shorter amount of time than an on-campus student because the book is sent to four addresses before it gets back to the lending library.

A link to our ILL guide with videos and more details is included below.

Note: There are reciprocal borrowing privileges among the three Iowa Regent Library systems.

Loan Periods and Returning Library Materials

Most materials are checked out for three weeks to undergraduates and for one semester for graduate students. Circulation privileges expire at the end of each semester.

Materials returned late, or which are lost, by distance education students will be assessed fines and other costs just as they are for other UNI students. UNI absorbs the cost of mailing books and articles to UNI distance learners. The student is responsible for return shipping costs.

Books should be insured at a value of $50 per item when you return them. Please be aware that materials are NOT considered returned until they are received in the library. Be sure to allow time for mail delivery.

It is a good idea to save the package in which the books were sent to you and return them in the same package. Use the pre-addressed label when returning books. If you have misplaced the label, send the package to:

Interlibrary Loan – Distance Education
Rod Library
University of Northern Iowa
1227 W. 27th Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50613-3675

Not all books in the library circulate or circulate for the time periods mentioned above. For example, books in any of the reference collections within the library normally do not circulate. However, if only certain pages are needed from particular reference works, those pages can be scanned and e-mailed to you.

Different Loan Periods for Distance Learners

For a couple of library material types,  Distance Learners have a different loan period than on-campus students.

  • Youth Books - 10 days with no renewals
  • DVDs/Videos - 14 days with no renewals (The DVD/Video loan period for on-campus student is for 7 days)

Any exceptions to this stated circulation policy will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Recall of Books

Library books can be recalled sooner than the original due dates by another library patron. All library patrons have at least a three week loan period for normal circulating books. If another library patron wishes to have the book, and you have already had the book for three weeks, you will be given one week to return the book to Rod Library. Recall and overdue notices are sent to your e-mail account. 

Find Books

Find books

Library Databases 

Google Books Advanced 

Using Other Libraries

Public Libraries

In some instances, you may be able to obtain the information and materials you need at your local library. You can also use your local library card at all public libraries in the state of Iowa.

Iowa State University and the University of Iowa

As a UNI student, you may use the libraries at the University of Iowa and at Iowa State University. You should be able to check out materials from those libraries, subject to the regulations of the lending institution. Your UNI identification card can serve as a means of identifying you as a UNI distance education student. It may take time for the ISU or UI libraries to fully process you and to enter you into their respective computer systems. There will be a small one-time fee to establish borrowing privileges at ISU.

You should be aware that occasionally in the past UNI students have encountered difficulties in circulating materials from these libraries, usually because they are using the libraries at times when there are few staff members available who are aware of how to handle these situations. Before attempting to check out materials at any branch library, you should register at the main library circulation desk.