interlibrary loan @ brown university library

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Guide to Interlibrary Loan Services at Brown University

The Interlibrary Loan Office is located on Level A at the Sciences Library
Hours: 8:30-5:30, Monday - Thursday; 8:30-5:00, Friday
Phone: (401) 863-2750

ILL Options for Fastest Service  
Interlibrary Loan Book Request
Interlibrary Loan Article Request


  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibilty
  3. What may be borrowed?
  4. Charges
  5. Copyright Restrictions
  6. How to Request Materials
  7. How long does it take?
  8. Notification
  9. Loan Periods
  10. How to Renew Materials
  11. Overdue Materials
  12. Loss or Damage of Materials
  13. Access to Other Libraries


The Interlibrary Loan service of Brown University provides access to library materials in other research institutions throughout the world. Through cooperative agreements, participating libraries share their collections with students and faculty from other institutions. Forms for interlibrary loans may be obtained from the Reference Desks and the Interlibrary Loan Offices at both the Rockefeller and Sciences Libraries. Or use one of our Electronic Request forms:
Interlibrary Loan Book Request (see Options for Fastest Service)
Interlibrary Loan Article Request


All Brown University Faculty, Students, and Staff and other holders of a valid Brown University I.D. card, who are in good standing with Library circulation, are eligible to borrow materials on Interlibrary Loan. To use the electronic request forms, you must have a Brown Net I.D.

Fee and access card holders are not eligible for interlibrary loan service from Brown University, but may obtain this service through their local public, school, or academic library.

What may be borrowed?

Interlibrary loan is a library-to-library transaction and is governed by the American Library Association Interlibrary Loan Code. In general, most books and photocopies of journal articles can be obtained through interlibrary loan. However, Brown University cannot place interlibrary loan requests for the following kinds of items:

Moreover, the following kinds of materials are not ordinarily obtainable from other libraries:


Brown has established reciprocal agreements with other libraries to provide free photocopies and book loans, and attempts are made to obtain items from libraries which do not charge. However, it is frequently not possible to obtain items free. Although Brown normally absorbs all charges incurred from Interlibary Loan transactions, some copyright or special purchase fees may be passed on to the person requesting the materials. In thes e cases, the Interlibrary Loan office will contact the requestor before completing the transaction.

Copyright Restrictions

Current copyright law and guidelines place restrictions on both personal as well as institutional photocopying of materials protected by copyright. The Interlibrary Loan Office can provide additional information about copyright restrictions which may apply.

More information on Copyright at Brown University.

How to Request Materials

Request forms for interlibrary loans are available at the Reference Desks at both the Rockefeller and Sciences Libraries. Before applying for an interlibrary loan, confirm with a member of the Reference Department that needed items are not available at Brown University. A separate form should be filled out for each item needed, and the information provided should be as complete as possible. If you have any questions, seek assistance from a member of the Reference Department or the Interlibrary Loan Office. If you prefer to submit your requests using the Electronic Request Forms , please be sure to indicate on the form where you found your information, i.e., Medline, Psyclit, WorldCat, etc.

How long does it take?

The average time for delivery of an interlibrary loan item is about two weeks. Sometimes Brown must request the material from several libraries before successfully obtaining it. This, of course, takes longer than the usual two weeks. If you have a deadline beyond which the material will not be useful to you, you must specify that date on the request form.


Users will be notified when requested materials have arrived at Brown. You may choose to be notified by phone, email, or by campus mail. The due date of materials to be returned, along with any special instructions, will accompany the material.

Loan Periods

Loan periods are established by the lending library. In general, loan periods range from two to four weeks. All interlibrary loan items must be returned by the due date, unless other arrangements have been made with the Interlibrary Loan Office. There is a $1.00 per day late fee for overdue Interlibrary Loan materials. Renewals, if permitted, should be requested three days in advance of the due date. Interlibrary loan items are also subject to recall by the lending library. Some lending libraries may stipulate "in library use only" or "no photocopying" of their materials.

How to Renew Materials

If you find that you need to keep your ILL material for longer than the loan period given, you may request a renewal of the due date. The ILL office will then ask the lending library to extend the due date. The lending library is solely responsible for th e decision of how long to extend the due date, and it may decide not to renew. When requesting a renewal, you should provide the ILL office with the following information: Your name, the IL# which appears on the band attached to your ILL item, the title of the item, and the time period forwhich you wish to keep the item. You may req uest a renewal by email at or by phone, 863-2750. Once you have requested a renewal, it is your responsibility to contact the ILL office again to find out if the renewal was granted . You may not request a renewal on an ILL item that is currently due.


ILL materials must be returned to the ILL office by the date marked on their ILL bands. Turning in ILL materials late can jeopardize Brown's relationship with other institutions' libraries. The overdue fine for ILL is $1.00 per day, with no limit. ILL overdue fines apply to all users, including faculty members. Failure to comply with ILL policy can result in the suspension of library privileges.

Damage to or Loss of Materials

You, the borrower, are financially responsible for any damage to or loss of interlibrary loan materials, from the time you pick them up until you return them to the Interlibrary Loan Office. You also are responsible for damage caused by photocopying, even if no specific photocopy restrictions are noted on the material. Should any damage occur, report it to the Interlibrary Loan Office; do not attempt to repair it yourself.

Access to Other Libraries

Brown University Library's membership in the Boston Library Consortium (BLC) entitles Brown students and faculty to on-site access to 17 Consortium member libraries, and, upon application, borrowing privileges at the BLC libraries. Ask at the Reference Desk for a list of BLC libraries. Special resource sharing agreements have also been established with MIT, the Rhode Island School of Design, and some academic libraries in Rhode Island, to allow Brown University students and faculty on-site access to the facilities. Because regulations vary, ask at the Reference Desk in either the Rockefeller or Sciences Library if you wish to visit these or other institutions.

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Comments to: Brown University Library Web Team
Last Updated: Wednesday, 21-Dec-2005 10:52:10 EST
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