Interlibrary Loan Policies and Procedures

Information about who is eligible for ILL, how to place, track, and pick up an ILL request, any associated costs, and other general policies governing Woodruff Main Library's interlibrary loan service.

    Interlibrary loan (ILL) is provided to facilitate the university-related research of Emory students, faculty, and staff.

    This service is not available to spouses or children of the above groups, to alumni, or to guest researchers. If you are a non-Emory user, we encourage you to contact your primary academic, public, or corporate library regarding interlibrary loan services.

    We absorb most fees charged by other libraries for supplying materials via ILL.

    There are a few exceptions to this general rule:

    • Extensive copying or reproduction requiring special processing by the supplying library (e.g., microform or photographic reproductions)
    • Copies with copyright fees in excess of $35

    We will advise you in advance of any charges and/or prepayment requirements.

    Users of ILL services also are responsible for prompt payment of any overdue fines and/or replacement costs arising from their requests (please see Returning Items below for further information).

    You should submit payment for ILL activity to the Interlibrary Loan Office and not the Library Service Desk.

    Please see Submitting an ILL Request for details.

    Though we will attempt to fill almost any request submitted, the following types of material often are difficult to obtain through interlibrary loan:

    • Recently published items
    • Textbooks, study guides, and workbooks (note that we do not request textbooks for class use)
    • Entire volumes or issues of periodicals, especially if fewer than 3 years old
    • Reference works
    • Rare and/or fragile books and original manuscripts
    • Newspapers and other ephemeral or bulky materials in their original format
    • Audiovisual materials and computer software
    • Works of genealogy or heraldry
    • Items from outside North America or Western Europe, especially theses and dissertations

    Turnaround time varies considerably. However, we can fill most requests in seven to twelve days. Electronic articles often arrive within 24 to 48 hours. Items being shipped from nearby libraries can arrive in two to four days. 

    Note that some requests may take longer to fill depending on the location, nature, and availability of the requested item, in addition to nationwide shipping delays that many industries are currently experiencing.

    We may also limit requests to 5 per person per business day, so if you are placing more than 5 requests at once, please identify which requests are the highest priority in order to ensure they are processed first.

    Need a book today? See information about interlibrary use programs that allow you to check out books directly from other local college and university libraries.

    We will notify you by email when the requested material is available for your use.

    To view the status of an ILL request, log on to ILLiad and look under the Active Requests section of the ILLiad home page. The request's current status will be listed in the bottom right corner of each item’s citation box, or you can click the Details icon to view the full history.

    You may also email or call 404-727-6874 with any questions about the status of your requests.

    Most ILL articles are delivered electronically in PDF format. We will notify you via email when requested documents are available for viewing. Instructions on how to access the article are included in the email notice.

    To view an electronic document, log on to ILLiad and look under the Electronic Documents section of the ILLiad home page. Click the View PDF button to access the PDF.

    Electronic documents will be available via ILLiad for 30 days or until you delete them, whichever occurs first.

    For most ILL users, the pickup location for borrowed items and paper copies from ILL is the Library Service Desk on level 2 of Woodruff Library. Since the Library Service Desk maintains several types of items for pickup, please be sure to specify "interlibrary loan" when asking for these materials.

    Health Sciences Center Library users will pick up items at the Information Desk, near the entrance to the library. Please specify "interlibrary loan" when picking up these materials.

    The lending library determines the loan period and renewal policy for its materials. In most cases you can expect to keep interlibrary loan items for two to four weeks, regardless of whether you are faculty, staff, or a student.

    Exception: materials from the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) are loaned for six months, subject to recall.

    Please make every effort to complete your work with ILL materials within the original loan period. If a renewal request is necessary, a three-week renewal may be requested via ILLiad (not Library Search).

    Please note that renewal requests must be placed three days before the original due date. ILL must contact the lending library for permission to renew and will inform you by email whether or not your renewal request has been granted. Please also note that, with the exception of CRL material, we usually can obtain only one renewal per item.

    Exception: If the lending library has indicated NO RENEWAL on the item label, you will not be able to renew the item.

    To place a renewal request in ILLiad, look under the Checked Out Items section of the ILLiad home page and click Request Renewal. If Request Renewal is greyed out, then the item is not eligible for renewal.

    The lending library establishes the conditions under which borrowed material may be used. If items are rare, fragile, and/or extremely valuable, you may be required to use them within the library or rare book room only, photocopying may be prohibited, etc.

    If you fail to comply with the conditions of a loan, it could jeopardize your interlibrary loan privileges and/or those of the Emory Libraries with lending institutions.

    While you may submit as many requests at once as you need to support your research and teaching, the library may only be able to process 5 requests per business day. If you submit more than 5 requests at a time, please indicate which requests are the highest priority so the library can process those requests first.

    Please return all ILL items by the due date directly to the Woodruff Library Service Desk or Interlibrary Loan Office on Level 2 or to the Health Sciences Center Library Information Desk near the library entrance.

    Please note that ILL materials may be recalled by the lending library at any time. Failure to return a recalled item by the date will result in a fine of $2.00 per day and possible suspension of ILL privileges.

    Please contact the ILL office at 404-727-6874 or for fine payment options, which include cash, check, and credit card. Checks payable to Emory University can also be mailed to the following address:

    Interlibrary Loan
    Woodruff Library
    540 Asbury Circle
    Emory University
    Atlanta, GA 30322-2870

    Continued failure to return ILL materials or to pay fines in a timely manner will result in suspension of your interlibrary loan privileges. Access to ILLiad will be blocked for requesters with any ILL items more than 28 days overdue or with $20 or more in unpaid ILL fines.

    Emory faculty and persons with disabilities are eligible to register proxies. A proxy acts on another person's behalf to place ILL requests and pick up ILL material.

    If you are eligible for a proxy, you may request a proxy account by emailing Please include the proxy's name and NetID.