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Interlibrary Loan

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Coming Soon! Your Interlibrary Loans will soon be on your main Penn library account and will have the same loan period and policies as Borrow Direct! We apologize in advance for any inconvenience during the transition when we will move all currently received loans onto library accounts.


What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan is a service through which library materials not owned by Penn or Penn Libraries materials currently unavailable may be requested and obtained from other libraries, for use by Penn students, faculty, and staff.

Who can use Interlibrary Loan?

All currently affiliated University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and staff are eligible to use the service. The main Interlibrary Loan Office is located in Room 233 of the Van Pelt Library ( or 215-898-7558).

Courtesy borrowers and Penn alumni are not eligible to use interlibrary loan services at Penn. Courtesy borrowers should contact the service at their home institution or at their local public library.  More information on courtesy and alumni borrowing can be found here:

What kinds of materials can Interlibrary Loan provide?

Through Interlibrary Loan you may request materials not owned by the Penn Libraries as well as Penn Libraries materials currently in use or otherwise unavailable to borrow.  This includes materials that are checked out, non-circulating, on Reserve or missing.  Formats that can be requested include books and journals, electronic articles or book chapters, DVD's, Music CD's and microfilm or microfiche.

You will be notified by e-mail as soon as the material is received.  Articles and book chapters will be delivered to your desktop electronically while physical items such as books or CD's will be available at the Circulation Desk of the library specified in the email. The length of the loan period and whether renewals are allowed is set by the lending library and will vary.  Some material is restricted by the lender for use only within Penn Libraries.

How do I submit an Interlibrary Loan request?

Use the Resource Sharing home page to get started. For a book request, start with either BorrowDirect or E-ZBorrow for the fastest service.  If your title is not available in either of those services you will be given the option to pass the request on to Interlibrary Loan.  Most DVD's, music CD's, microfilm and microfiche will need to be requested using the Interlibrary Loan Request Book link in the left-hand column.   If you need an article or a book chapter, use the Request Article link in the left-hand column.

When submitting any Interlibrary Loan request form, please provide as much information about the item as you can. If you need to double-check citation information for a book, it's often helpful to check Amazon or WorldCat.

Can I get articles through Interlibrary Loan?

Journal articles or book chapters not available at Penn, up to a maximum of 50 pages - for a specific article or book chapter, may be requested via Interlibrary Loan.  In general, the more complete and accurate the citation you provide the more quickly the article or book chapter will be delivered. If you need to double-check citation information for an article, it's often helpful to check Articles+ or individual databases. Please submit requests for each specific article or book chapter needed on a separate request form.

These requests will be delivered electronically to your desktop.

If you have questions about submitting a request please contact ILL staff at your home library.

Can I borrow dissertations and theses through Interlibrary Loan?

It is usually possible to borrow dissertations and theses from institutions that belong to the Research Libraries Group; other libraries will sometimes lend dissertations and master's theses. The Interlibrary Loan staff can provide information on the probability of obtaining an item.

Many dissertations are now available in full text through Proquest's electronic resource Dissertations & Theses which can be searched through the Franklin catalog. Many full text dissertations from the United Kingdom are available via EThOS. Additional foreign dissertations may be available online via the Center for Research Libraries.

Can I request videos through Interlibrary Loan?

To request a video through Interlibrary Loan go to the Resource Sharing home page and on the left side, choose Request Book and fill out the form with as much information about the movie as you know (eg, Title, Director, Publisher, Year).

How many requests may I submit?

A maximum of 5 requests will be processed per person per day, depending on staffing and overall request volume.

How quickly do requests arrive?

Turnaround time for journal articles requested through Interlibrary Loan is typically 2-5 business days, and for books 7-14 days depending upon the lender's location. For faster book delivery, try E-ZBorrow or BorrowDirect first.

Can I renew my Interlibrary Loan requests?

Interlibrary Loan books are not checked out on your Penn library account.  One week before your Interlibrary Loan book is due you will receive an email letting you know whether the book is eligible for one renewal.  Use the link in that email to get to your ILL account and click the Renew button.  You can also see your current Interlibrary Loan requests from the main Resource Sharing page.  Click on View Current Requests on the left hand side of the page.  Please note that Interlibrary Loan lending periods and renewal policies are set by the lending library and will vary.

If your book is past due, to avoid fines please return the item and place a new request for another copy of the same item from a different library.

I can't find an answer to my Interlibrary Loan question.  What should I do?

Contact the Interlibrary Loan office at your home library or email the main Van Pelt Library Interlibrary Loan office at



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