Interlibrary Loan FAQ

Last reviewed: March 22, 2024

Who may use Interlibrary Loan? 

UC faculty, staff, (current and retired) and currently registered students. A valid UC Irvine library card is required. Requests for instructional and research purposes only will be honored. All non-UC users should contact their local public library, workplace library, or the ILL unit of their college or university for interlibrary loan privileges. 

What can I request on Interlibrary Loan? 

Books, journal articles, and materials that are not available at UCI or are missing/checked out. 

How long does it take to receive materials?

  • Libraries within the UC system including the RLFs take approximately 3-5 working days
  • Libraries outside of the UC system can take longer than 3 weeks

It’s very important to plan ahead when submitting your requests; the time it takes to receive your material depends on many factors.                                                                    

How will I know when my requests have arrived? 

You will be notified by email when ILL material is available for pickup at the Check Out desk of the Langson, Science or Grunigen Medical Library.  If your ILL item is not picked up within 7 days, it will be returned to the lending library.

How much will this cost me? 

Free loans and copies are available from other UC’s, Stanford (excluding Lane Medical Library), Center for Research Libraries, and some reciprocal academic loan partners. 

Fees for book loans and copies from schools that charge UCI are subsidized up to $50 per transaction for faculty, staff, and graduate students. Requests by honors undergraduates and materials for senior theses are also subsidized. If there is a fee, requests will not be placed without your approval.

You are responsible for any charges for overdue and billed books, which, if charged by the lending library, may include a non-refundable billing fee for books that are returned late. For more information, see Fines and Fees.

Are there any restrictions on Interlibrary Loan materials? 

The lending library, not the UCI Libraries, determines the conditions regarding the use of their materials.

  • Some materials may be restricted to “Library Use Only”
  • All media is restricted to "Library Use Only"
  • Microfilm or microfiche loan will be held at the Langson Library.
  • Some items may not be photocopied and must be used in Langson Library’s Special Collections & Archives during public service hours.
  • Items borrowed cannot be placed on Course Reserves for UCI classes. 
  • Some items may come with short due dates, sometimes as little as a week, please check the due date on your item carefully.
  • It can take several days to verify renewals with the lending libraries
  • Some libraries may not permit renewals

Dissertation requests purchased by the UCI Libraries are limited to 10 per person per year: July 1st through June 30th. (This service only available to UCI faculty and graduate students.)

How do I return an ILL? 

Borrowed materials should be returned on or before the due date to any of the UCI Libraries’ check out desks, in the bookdrop, our at our curbside drop box. Please leave any bookbands on the items so they are clearly marked as ILL materials.  Please remove any and all post-its, bookmarks or other notes from the book before returning the item.

How do I renew ILL items? 

For UC items: Renew in your My Library Account through UC Library Search

For Non-UC Items:

  • Please request renewals about 1 week before the due date to allow the lending library time to review the request.
  • Request renewals through My Library Account through UC Library Search.
  • If the items are not listed in  My Library Account, please email or call the phone number on the book band of the material you want to renew. Provide your name and the “ILL#” from the book band to request your renewal.
  • The lending library will either approve the request and extend the due date, or refuse to renew the material.
  • You will be notified via email if your renewal request was denied.
  • If your renewal request was approved the due date will change in  My Library Account.
  • If your renewal reqeust was denied please return your item as soon as possible so as not to jeopardize our relationship with the other library.

What happens if my ILL materials are overdue? 

You are responsible for your ILL materials.

  • If they are overdue, Library privileges may be blocked until you return the items and pay any fines charged by the lending library.
  • You will be charged for seriously overdue or lost items.

Failure to return materials on time jeopardizes our borrowing privileges with other libraries.

Why was my ILL request cancelled? 

We will notify you by email if your ILL request was cancelled. While there are many reasons why an ILL request might be cancelled the most common are:

  • The item requested is available at the UCI Libraries. If the item is missing, contact a Check Out Desk to find out how to request a search for a missing item and then resubmit your request with a note to us.
  • The materials have been placed on Course Reserves.
  • The item is non-circulating (cannot be checked out) and is unavailable for loan from the owning libraries.
  • Materials that cannot be obtained often include:
    • Periodical volumes, particularly those less than five years old
    • Reference books
    • Non-print material such as videotapes, CD’s, sound recordings
    • Extremely old books
    • Rare or valuable material housed in Special Collections
    • Genealogical material
    • New books, especially “popular reading”
  • The item has been recently published or acquired by the lending library. We suggest you resubmit your request at a later date (1-2 months is recommended).
  • ILL was unable to find the item as cited in the original request. We suggest that you verify the citation, confer with the ILL staff, and initiate a new request if the item is still needed.
  • If you specified a “need-by” date and the deadline cannot be met, ILL will notify you and cancel the request. We suggest you initiate a new request if the item is still needed.

How long can I use my ILL materials?

The lending library sets the loan period and may also set special conditions on the use of ILL materials.  In general:

  • Materials may be borrowed for at least two weeks.
  • UCI faculty and students may use most UC materials for one quarter.
  • Photocopies are yours to keep.
  • The lending library sets the due dates, and some items may be kept for as little as a week.

Items checked out on the same day may have different due dates, please check due dates carefully.

How can I check on the status of my requests?

Use  My Library Account through UC Library Search to manage your ILL items.