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InterLibrary Loan


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Van Pelt Library - Interlibrary Loan

What is it?
Interlibrary Loan is a service through which library materials in use or not owned by the Penn Libraries 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, School of Medicine (including Nursing) or Law Schools will be served by 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 available at 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. Articles are delivered to your desktop electronically.
  • 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.

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 PennText 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 homepage, under Collections, click on Borrow Direct+/ILL and log in. On the sidebar of the new page, select either Request Book or Request Article. On the form, fill out the citation information. Please provide as much information as possible, such as an ISBN or ISSN, to help speed identification of the correct material.
  • In Franklin, find the book you need. From the RECORD page, choose the "Request it" link.

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.