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Faculty Research Assistants

Obtain a Proxy Library Card

Before using the Five College "Request Item" service or the Interlibrary Loan service on behalf of a faculty or staff member, you must submit a research assistant proxy library card form. Print out the form below, complete both sections, and bring it to the service desk in Neilson Library. You will be issued a proxy library card.


Request Five College Materials

You may request Five College books on behalf of a Smith faculty or staff member, using your proxy library card. For Five College journals, journal articles or books not accessible via "Request Item" (e.g., art and music books), see the next section.

  • Check Discover Advanced and use Request Item instead of Interlibrary Loan for books in the Five Colleges.
  • Use the barcode number as it appears on your proxy library card when making requests. Never request material for a faculty or staff member using your own account.
  • Note that you can also renew Five College items through your account in Discover Advanced - see instructions for renewing.
  • If the item is checked out, recall it using Request Item.

Request Interlibrary Loan Materials

Use interlibrary loan (ILL) to request materials not owned by the Smith College Libraries and not available via Request Item.

  • If Smith owns the item, but you can't locate it on the shelf, please ask for help at the circulation desk.
  • If the item is checked out, recall it using Request Item.
  • If an item has been declared billed, missing, lost, it may be requested via interlibrary loan. In this case, add a note to the request regarding the item's status.

Register for Interlibrary Loan as a Faculty Research Assistant

  • Register for interlibrary loan as a faculty research assistant. Before registering, you must first obtain a proxy borrowers card (see above)
  • Once you've registered, you will be connected to the main interlibrary loan menu, where you can make requests, monitor your requests, ask for renewals, etc.
  • Remember to share your username and password with the faculty/staff member you are working for, so that s/he can access the account, if needed.

Interlibrary Loan Notifications

  • When ILL books arrive, the faculty/staff member will be notified via email. You or the faculty member may pick up the books at the Neilson Library service desk. Please return books on or before the due date to the same desk
  • For scanned articles, the faculty member will be notified via email that a PDF has arrived. It will be accessible from the ILL main menu under View/Download Electronically Received Articles.


  • ILL books can usually be renewed. To request a renewal, log onto your interlibrary loan account and click on View/Renew Checked Out Items.
  • Note that the lending library (not Smith) determines whether a renewal will be granted and - if so - for how long. The faculty member should watch his/her mail for either a renewal confirmation message with a new due date or for a renewal denied message.
  • Should the renewal request be denied, the book must be returned immediately. However, ILL can try to borrow the same book for you from another lender.


  • ILL books may be recalled at any time by the lending library. If a recall notice is received, the ILL office will contact the faculty member, asking that the item be returned immediately.
  • Should a book be recalled, ILL can try to borrow the same book for you from another lender.

Interlibrary Loan Assistance

  • If you have any questions about filling out the request forms or need help completing a citation, please ask for help at the Neilson Library service desk (413-585-2910 or via email to
  • Request an individual research appointment if you will be doing substantive research for the faculty/staff member and therefore need an introduction to research tools.
  • You can check the status of outstanding requests on the ILL Main Menu under View/Modify Outstanding Requests.
  • If you need additional information, stop by the Neison Library circulation desk, call 413-585-2962 or email Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Contact Us

Location Phone Email
Neilson Library 413-585-2910
Hillyer Art Library 413-585-2940
Josten Performing Arts Library 413-585-2930