Interlibrary Loan Borrowing Privileges

 Using Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan is a Libraries’ subsidized service which supports the scholarly research and curriculum needs of current Penn State faculty, staff and students. Interlibrary Loan supplements the services offered by the University Libraries and should be used when your needs cannot be met with the University Libraries resources. Material received through Interlibrary Loan is by permission of the lending library. Every effort should be taken to be good stewards of the borrowed material. Interlibrary Loan staff process requests daily Monday through Friday. Interlibrary Loan reserves the right to limit the number of requests processed per day for an individual.


Items that may be requested through ILL

  • Loans of Books
  • Copies of Journal and Newspaper articles  (We reserve the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.)
  • Loans of Dissertations/Theses
  • Loans of Newspaper Microfilm
  • Loans of older journal volumes

    Please note: All items are subject to recall at any time by the lending library.


Items which cannot ordinarily be obtained

  • Textbooks
  • Entire volumes of (recent) periodicals
  • Reference books
  • Very old or rare books
  • Computer software (including language programs)
  • Manuscripts
  • Theses/Dissertations from some universities
  • E-books (requests for E-books will be switched to the physical/bound volume format)

Your Responsibilities

To use Interlibrary Loan you must be both:

  •  A current faculty, staff, graduate student, undergraduate student, post doctoral student, or a retired faculty or staff, with a valid Penn State Access ID card.
  • A registered Libraries’ user in good standing.

You are responsible for:

  • Understanding and complying with all Penn State Libraries' policies.
  • Being familiar with the Libraries' Borrowing Privileges and Lending Code.
  • Presenting a valid Penn State ID card when picking up material.
  • Respecting the loan periods and limitations set by the lending library.
  • All materials charged to your account. 
  • Any fees incurred for lost interlibrary loan material.
  • Contacting Penn State Interlibrary Loan for all inquiries (users should not contact the lending library directly).

There are no interlibrary loan request limits. However, you should refrain from submitting a large number of requests at one time. Prioritize your requests and submit them at different times to enable interlibrary loan staff to work on your most urgently needed requests first.

Please plan ahead when requesting materials. The average time required to obtain material is two to ten days, depending upon material format and availability. When several libraries must be contacted before an available copy is located or if the material is located outside the United States, the process may take longer.

You can use E-ZBorrow for obtaining circulating books from Pennsylvania academic libraries generally available within 3 to 5 days. These books will be checked out on your "My Library Account".

Please contact Interlibrary Loan if you have any questions about your responsibilities.  Use the "Ask a Librarian" or the "Contact Us" links located on this page.


Address and Pickup Location Changes

Keep your address and pickup location current in both ILLiad and "My Library Account." All loans will be sent to the pickup location specified in your profile. To ensure receiving emails from the ILLiad and CAT systems, use your Penn State email address. This information can be changed in ILLiad under Profile - Change User Information located on the left navigational bar.



When interlibrary loan material is ready for either pickup or viewing electronically, an email notice is sent to the email address specified in your ILLiad profile. If you included your address for text messaging, a text message will be sent to you as well as an email.

Pickup notices will contain any important information you need to know for that particular item, such as “in library use" only, or that the material is in the Special Collections Room for you to view, or “no photocopying” allowed.

Notices are also sent to remind you of coming due material, overdue material and when interlibrary loan staff will be placing a bill for lost material on your Libraries Account. You can view the status of your request within ILLiad under Checked out Items/Renew. Failure to receive notices is not an excuse for having overdue material.  E-ZBorrow books are checked out on your "My Library Account."



Articles you receive are for your personal use only.

If you want an article to be placed on Course Reserves, please contact Course Reserves.

Important Copyright Information:
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research". If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use", that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

*This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.*


Loan Periods and Renewals

When picking up material, please leave all bands on the book. This band has important information for you and also for circulation and interlibrary loan staff.

Due dates are determined by the lending library. The average loan period is 4 weeks with a 2 week renewal. E-ZBorrow books have a 12 week loan period. If a longer loan period is needed, please contact Interlibrary Loan to make arrangements.  Material from the Center for Research Libraries often has extended loan periods. Restrictions on the use of Interlibrary Loan materials are also placed by the lending library. Some restrictions may include:

  • In Library Use Only
  • No Copying
  • No Renewals
  • Rare Books Room Use Only

Requests for renewals may be made through ILLiad anytime in the 7 days prior to the due date.  E-ZBorrow books may not be renewed. There are times when the lending library does not allow renewals. This will be indicated on the book band of your item. Plan to use those materials within the time allotted.  Materials from the Center for Research Libraries may be renewed indefinitely, unless recalled. See contact information on the right- hand column of this page. For more about renewals on ILLiad see Requesting Renewals.


Returning Material

All loaned material should be returned directly to a University Libraries circulation desk, preferably to the location where you picked up the material.

You can also return material via UPS or US Mail to the address below. Please wrap items securely. You are responsible for any damage incurred upon returning.

Interlibrary Loan
127 Paterno Library, Curtin Rd.
University Park, PA 16802


Overdue Material

All Interlibrary Loan material is subject to recall by the lending institution. Recalled items should be returned to a circulation desk immediately. Overdue policies go into effect the day the recall is sent to you.

If your interlibrary loan material is overdue, you will receive an email notice reminding you to return it.  If you continue to receive overdue notices for an item you returned, notify Interlibrary Loan. Refer to the contact information in the left navigational bar of this page.


Overdue Fees and Interlibrary Loan Charges

Overdue Fees:  Overdue material that is not returned within four weeks of the due date is presumed lost. When this occurs, you will receive an email about the lost material and will be billed on your Library Account for $125.00 for the replacement cost of the item. Your Libraries' privileges may also be blocked. Billing and penalties will follow the University Libraries fees and fee payment processes.  You will be responsible for any late, damaged or lost material fees assessed by the lending institution.

Interlibrary Loan Charges:  Penn State University Libraries absorbs the standard costs for the interlibrary loan service. In special circumstances where Interlibrary Loan cannot cover the associated costs for obtaining an item, you will be contacted.


Account Blocks

You may be blocked from using ILLiad or placing requests through "I Want It" and E-ZBorrow if you have overdue books or unpaid charges for lost material. Contact Interlibrary Loan for more information. Contact information appears in the left navigational bar of this page.


U.P. Faculty/Staff Office Delivery

Office delivery is available to University Park Campus faculty and staff. Circulating material from the Libraries and Interlibrary Loan will be delivered to your departmental address via campus mail.

This service is available to faculty and staff who are registered with the Libraries and are in good standing. Materials should be delivered to your office within 3 – 4 business days.  To ensure proper delivery of materials, please review your address information in your Library Accounts.

There are several changes when using this service:

  • You will receive a system-generated notice that your material is being sent.
  • Material will be checked out to your library or ILLiad account prior to being placed in campus mail.  Due dates for restricted loan materials, such as DVDs, will be based on the date checked out, not the date received (see note about DVDs below).
  • Material will be delivered to the departmental office address you provided in your CAT and ILLiad accounts.

ILL Purchase Express

Interlibrary Loan may purchase a book instead of requesting it through ILL.  The book is then added to the Libraries' permanent collection after the user's loan period.

Book requests meeting established criteria are ordered from a book vendor within 24 hours. Expected delivery of the book from the vendor is within 6 working days. Once the book is received, it is rush-processed and sent to the pickup location identified in your ILLiad profile. An email is sent to you when the book is available for pickup. You will have the book for the standard Penn State Libraries loan period, such as semester loan for faculty, staff and graduate students.

This service is available for current Penn State faculty, staff and students.  You will be notified via email if your book request is a possible purchase and was forwarded to Acquisitions Services. If the book cannot be received within 6 working days from a vendor, the the book is requested and supplied through Interlibrary Loan.


Assistance for Temporary Impairment

If you are a current Penn State faculty, staff or student and are unable to pick up your library material due to a temporary impairment, please use the "Ask a Librarian" or the "Contact Us" links located on this page to contact the ILL office for assistance on delivery.