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Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan information

Library Delivery Services

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan

When you need items that are currently unavailable from the University of Chicago Library or are not owned by the Library, submit an Interlibrary Loan request. Interlibrary Loan enables you to obtain items for your research from libraries around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use Interlibrary Loan?

  • Current University of Chicago faculty, students, and staff
  • Proxy borrowers

Faculty and academics with indefinite borrowing privileges may request to establish another person as a proxy borrower. To request a proxy borrower or renew an existing proxy borrower account, use the Proxy Borrower Request form.

How do I use Interlibrary Loan?

How quickly do requests arrive?

  • Books usually arrive within 8 business days.
  • Articles usually arrive within 3 business days.

Arrival times may be sooner or later depending on the availability of the item and who is supplying it. An email notification is sent once requests are available.

Loan Periods & Renewals

Loan periods and renewals vary based on policies set by the lending library.

Requests for renewals can be submitted online through your Interlibrary Loan account. A two week renewal grace period will be granted while we contact the lending library to obtain a renewal request on your behalf. Approval of renewals are at the discretion of the lending library.


Items can be recalled by the lending library. Borrowers will be notified by email if an item is recalled.

Fines, Blocks, & Lost Items

Overdue items are subject to fines, account blocks, and lost item fees as outlined in the borrowing policies.

What can be borrowed?

You may request books, articles, book chapters, dissertations, theses, microforms, videos, CDs, DVDs, and conference proceedings that are:

  • Not owned by the University of Chicago Library
  • Currently unavailable from the University of Chicago Library -- checked out, missing, or on order.

Items that are difficult to obtain through Interlibrary Loan include imprints prior to 1800, loan requests for current publications, entire journal volumes, reference materials, textbooks, rare books and original manuscripts, genealogy or heraldry, and audiovisual material.

How many Interlibrary Loan requests may I make?

There is no limit.

How Do Library Delivery Services Compare?

  BorrowDirect UBorrow Interlibrary Loan
Delivery time ~4 business days ~4 business days ~8 business days
Loan / renewal period 12 weeks / none 12 weeks / 4 weeks Varies
Which media? Books & musical scores Books, DVDs, microforms, & musical scores All formats
Number of books 60 million 90 million 300 million
Number of libraries 13 15 72,000

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Ask a Librarian
Subjects:Help Guides



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