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InterLibraryLoan at Penn Libraries


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Van Pelt Library

What is it?
Interlibrary Loan is a service through which library materials not owned by the Penn Library may be requested and obtained from other libraries.

Who may use it?
All current University of Pennsylvania students, faculty, and staff are eligible. The main Interlibrary Loan Office is located in Van Pelt Library, Room 233, 2nd floor east, 215-898-7558. Students, faculty, and staff affiliated with the Dental, Veterinary, Medical (including the Nursing School, the Biology Department and the Hospital), and Law Schools must use the Interlibrary Loan offices in the Dental, Veterinary, Biomedical, and Law libraries; see links to the left.
Courtesy borrowers 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.

How long does it take?
Usually we are able to fill requests for books and journal articles within 2 to 7 days through our participation in three major national cooperative programs. When we must borrow from libraries outside these networks it may take longer to receive materials.

What kinds of materials can Interlibrary Loan provide?

  • Books and newspapers -- These can be borrowed, free of charge, in their original form or in microform. You will be notified by email as soon as the material is received. You may pick materials up at the Van Pelt Information Desk any time the library is open. Depending on the policy of the lending library, you may keep material for a period of 1 to 4 weeks. Some material is restricted by the lender to use within Van Pelt Library.
  • Photocopies of periodical articles -- Copies of articles from journals that are not availableat Penn are provided free of charge, for articles under 50 pages. If your research needs require submission of more than 30 requests per semester, we ask that you speak to Interlibrary Loan staff about your project. Most articles are sent electronically, posted to the web for your use. If the supplier sends a hard copy, we will mail it directly to you.
  • Dissertations and theses -- 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.
  • Rare books, manuscripts, etc. -- Libraries generally do not lend rare books or manuscripts. However, you may be able to purchase a photocopy or microfilm copy directly from the owning library.

What cannot be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan?
Materials in Penn's collections -- Because of restrictions in the National Interlibrary Loan Code, we cannot accept requests for any materials that are owned by the University of Pennsylvania Library. This includes books on reserve, and books in seminar or other non-circulating collections. However, books that are lost or missing from the collections, or are otherwise unavailable for use, may be requested through Interlibrary Loan.
Before submitting a request, please check FRANKLIN to determine that the material is not available in the Penn Libraries.

How to submit an Interlibrary Loan request:
Several options are available for submitting a request.

  • From PennText, whether starting from Article Finder or a library database search, select the Document Delivery option from the PennText menu after you find a citation. Log in using your PennKey and Password.
  • From the library web, click on Borrow Direct+/ILL, then scroll to the bottom and select either a Book Request or an Article Request form. Log in using your PennKey and Password, and fill out the citation information. When submitting a blank request form, please provide as much information as possible to help speed identification of the correct material, such as an ISBN or ISSN.
  • In Franklin, find the book you need. From the RECORD page, type your PennKey and Password in the boxes on the upper right corner of the page. After logging in, click on the FDD button to place your request. The bibliographic information will automatically fill in the request form.

Because of copyright restrictions, you must submit a separate form for each item needed; multiple citations on a single form will not be processed.

Whom do I contact if I have queries or problems?
Email us at if you have any questions or concerns.