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Circulation: Books by Mail

Books by Mail — delivery to home addresses by UPS courier

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries continue to offer Books By Mail to all Penn patrons within the United States. 

Books by Mail

Register and request via Books by Mail to have Penn materials shipped to your off campus home address. The library pays for the outbound shipment. Users are responsible for paying return shipping or returning materials to the Van Pelt Library ground floor outside book drop (to the right of the main entrance). If you prefer to pick up books at the Van Pelt Library, please use our new Pickup@Penn service.


IMPORTANT! Users must register for Books by Mail before submitting requests. Please do not submit Books by Mail requests without registering. These requests will be canceled.

Questions? Email us at

Electronic Delivery

Requests for electronic articles and book chapters can be submitted via Request Digital Delivery. To expedite delivery, please submit no more than one book chapter per request. Requests for copies of entire books should be submitted via purchase request

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Books by Mail?

Offered to current Penn faculty, students and staff.

Eligible participants can request delivery of "Available" Penn Libraries circulating materials via courier. Biddle Law Library materials are not included in the service.

Reserve materials are excluded, as are journals, reference and other non-circulating materials.


How much does Books by Mail cost?

The library will pay for shipping books to users. Users must pay for the return shipment via insured carrier such as USPS, UPS or Federal Express. Alternatively, users can return the books to Van Pelt for no additional cost. There is no cost for electronic article/chapter delivery.


Who is eligible?

Current faculty, students and staff in the United States and Canada. Patrons with disabilities should contact Susan Shapiro in the Office of Student Disabilities Services to inquire about eligibility.


How do you register?

Patrons must register before making requests. Register for Books by Mail online here. Library staff will determine eligibility and reply within three business days.


Delivery restrictions?

The library will send materials via insured carrier UPS to a street address only, not a P.O. box.

Please note that buildings and residences on Penn campus are not eligible for Books by Mail delivery.


How do you request delivery?

Once the registration is approved, users may request materials by using the Books by Mail request option in Franklin. Only materials from circulating collections, and only those with the status "Available" may be requested using the Books By Mail request choice. Books charged out to other users may not be requested through Books By Mail. In order that we may serve all patrons equitably please submit no more than 5 requests per day.


Regular library policies apply

Participants in Books By Mail are subject to the same loan policies and fine rates as other users on campus. Users who become delinquent, whether through fine blocks, overdue recalled blocks, or other reasons, will be unable to access the request menu to request delivery. Users must observe due dates, renewing or returning materials on time (including shipping time), and must return recalled items promptly.


Processing, shipping and returns

Requested materials will be checked out to the user, then shipped via insured carrier. Library staff will send prompt email messages regarding any material that cannot be located or that, because of size or condition, cannot be shipped. Please return to:

Van Pelt Circulation
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
3420 Walnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19104-6206


You may also return materials to the Van Pelt Library ground floor outside book drop to the right of the main entrance.


Van Pelt Book Drop and Accessible Entrance Map

Van Pelt Library is located between 34th and 36th streets below Walnut. To reach the front of the building, walk down the 36th street walk from 36th street or Woodland walk from 34th street. When you are facing the stairs to the main entrance, the bookdrop and the accessible entrance will be on the right.

Questions? Email us at


Contact us at the Van Pelt Library Interlibrary Loan office:

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For Books by Mail:

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(215) 898-7555