Purpose – This paper aims to evaluate the use and the costs of AMIN, the interlibrary loan service in Iran. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire was used for the data collection. It was completed by those librarians in charge of AMIN in academic libraries. Findings – The statistics collected from six libraries showed that 514 items were loaned, of which 49 per cent were journal articles and 43 per cent were books. Post was used for the delivery of about 55 per cent of the items, while e‐mail was used for the delivery of only 7 per cent of the items. The average time spent dealing with each request (the time lapse between receipt of the request and dispatching the item) was about 7.1 days. The library of the University of Tehran was the most effective library in this regard as it only took 3.4 days on average for each request. The study revealed that the participating libraries did not have a proper procedure in place for collecting usage statistics and therefore one cannot evaluate the effectiveness of the AMIN service. Originality/value – The paper reveals the cost of document supply in Iranian academic libraries and illustrates that ILL services in Iran are not efficient and that measures could be taken to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of services.