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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Interlibrary Loan

Information about and instructions for using Interlibrary Loan. Interlibrary Loan is a free service that allows you to borrow items (books, articles, book chapters, DVDs, and more) from other libraries around the world if UT does not own the item.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible?

Current university students, faculty, staff and university retirees. See Interlibrary Services for External Organizations and Individuals if you are not a current student, faculty or staff.


What can I borrow?

Physically, you can borrow books, conference proceedings, microfilm, AV materials, dissertations, and theses.

Electronically you can borrow articles, book chapters, electronic dissertations, proceedings, standards, and more.

*NOTE*: you can only request one article or chapter from a book per request. If you would like to request two chapters from the same book, you will need to place two separate requests.

*NOTE*: you can only request three chapters per book (each in separate requests). If you need more than three chapters, you will need to request a loan of the entire physical book.

*NOTE*: You cannot request an entire book be scanned. Unfortunately, we are unable to borrow ebooks, so if you want an entire book, you will need to use the loan request form to request a physical copy of the book, or use the Suggest a Purchase form to see if we can purchase an ebook.  


Where do I pick up my book/item?

You can choose the pick up location of your item when you set up your account or by changing your account information. Once your item arrives, go to the front desk at the location you have chosen and ask for your item there.


I can't pick up my book yet. How long will it remain on the hold shelf for me to pick it up?

Your book will remain on the hold shelf until the due date, which you can find on your ILS account page or in the email you received indicating your book was ready to be picked up. You can pick up the book any time before the designated due date. The only exception to this is if the book is recalled by the lending library, in which case you will receive an email. 


How long does it take?

An Interlibrary Loan request for a physical item normally takes around 5+ business days to receive your materials. Requests for articles or chapters are usually filled within 24-48 hours (depending on availability).


How much does it cost?

There is no charge for this service. However, overdue fees, recall fees, and replacement costs for lost or damaged books apply.


How long can I keep this item?

The loan period is entirely dependent on the lending library’s due date. The loan period can range from one week to six months. Not all libraries grant renewals on interlibrary loan items.


Return an item

Interlibrary loan physical items can be returned to the circulation desk at any of the following libraries on the university main campus: Architecture and Planning Library, Benson Latin American Collection, Classics Library, Collections Deposit Library, Fine Arts Library, Kuehne Physics Mathematics Astronomy Library, Life Science Library, Perry-Castañeda Library, or Walter Geology Library. Pickle Research Campus users can return items to the book drop at the Library Storage Facility or in the blue bags via Campus Mail.


Renew an item

Not all interlibrary loan physical items can be renewed. To find out if your item can be renewed, log in to your Interlibrary Services account and select Checked Out Items. From this list, you will see which loan requests can be renewed. To renew an item, click on the transaction number of the item you want to renew. If you see the Renew button, select this option a few days before the due date for the longest available renewal. You may keep the item until you receive confirmation of the new date or a message stating that the item must be returned.

Only one renewal is allowed for borrowed material.

If you have questions about renewals, please contact ILS at 

Overdue Items

Failure to return interlibrary loan items by the due date will result in your Interlibrary Services account being blocked. The next step for long overdue, lost or damaged items is a block on your Libraries circulation privileges and a financial bar placed with the university registrar. Please see our policies page for more information on overdue, lost or damaged interlibrary loan materials.


Why was my request cancelled?

If your request is cancelled, you will receive an email indicating the reason for the cancellation. Common reasons include that we have exhausted all possible lending options, we have changed your request to a purchase request, you have submitted a duplicate request, or your item is available through UT libraries or online.

Although we try our best to obtain any request submitted to us, sometimes no library is able to lend us an item. This could be because the item is very rare and may not be held by any libraries or may not be circulating, even if it is held by libraries. It may also be because the item is too new for interlibrary loan. We try every avenue for lending or purchasing your request before we cancel it for this reason.

Sometimes we purchase the item you requested for UT libraries rather than borrowing it. If this happens, you will receive an email indicating we have done this. Once the book becomes available, you will receive another email. We purchase Ebooks by preference, so if you need a physical book, be sure to choose that you will not accept Ebooks in your request under advanced options.


I no longer want this item. Can I cancel the request?

Yes, you can. In your account, look for "View" at the top of the page in the menu options. Under "View," click "Outstanding Requests," which will pull up a list of requests you have made that have not yet been filled. Find the request you wish to cancel in this list and click on the transaction number on the left side of the screen. This will take you to the request. At the top right of the request, you can click "Cancel Request" to cancel  your request. 

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