Interlibrary Loan FAQ

Who is eligible to make interlibrary loan requests?

UCSC faculty, staff and currently enrolled students. Community patrons and UC alumni should consult with their local public library.  

How much does an interlibrary loan cost?

Though we provide ILL services to eligible UCSC patrons at no charge, the cost of an interlibrary loan transaction can range from $20 to $50 and up. Please request only those materials necessary for your research, retrieve items promptly after being notified of their arrival, and return materials on or before the due date.

How do I request an interlibrary loan item?

The fastest and most accurate method for UCSC users to borrow items from other libraries is to use the "Melvyl Request" feature available in:

If you are unable to use "Request" above, order an item using a blank Citation Linker form:

What is "Melvyl Request" ?

Melvyl Request is a program that allows authenticated users to place requests directly from the Melvyl catalog or via the UC-eLinks function in various article databases.  

What if UCSC owns the item?

An ILL request may be placed for an UCSC-owned item provided the item is currently checked out to another patron, is declared lost or missing, or is otherwise unavailable. Materials that are available in the Reserve Book Service may not be requested through ILL. Requests for items on Reserve at either McHenry Library or the Science & Engineering Library will be canceled.

Book Loans

When an item is borrowed for your use, the lending library will determine the length of the loan period, indicate whether that period may be extended by a renewal, and/or stipulate any restrictions on the use of the book. For example, when lending a rare or valuable book, a library may specify that it must be used only in the borrowing library building or that it may not be photocopied.


Libraries rarely lend entire issues or volumes of journals. Most libraries will provide photocopies or electronic copies of journal articles rather than send the issue. If a photocopy is sent it then becomes the property of the requesting individual.

How Long Does It Take?

70% of all materials arrive within 7 working days. The fastest method for requesting materials is via Melvyl Request. Materials not owned within the UC system that are requested from elsewhere take longer to arrive.  In some instances, materials may not be available.  This is especially true for rare and unique items.  If items are requested during peak activity periods such as mid-terms and finals, processing time will be delayed.

Notification of Materials' Arrival

We will inform you by e-mail about the arrival of ILL materials. Therefore, it is very important that an accurate e-mail address is included with each request. Inquiries about the status of a request may be made to the ILL office via e-mail or phone 459-2234. The status of your request may be monitored at My ILL Requests.

Picking Up Materials

Materials are held for pickup at the Circulation Desk of either McHenry Library or the Science & Engineering Library. Materials must be picked up by the person making the request or their proxy. Present your UCSC library card and photo ID to pickup the material. For materials delivered via the web, borrowers will be emailed with instructions on how to retrieve the item. Effective July 1, 2014, items will be held for 14 days or by their due date, whichever is sooner.

Returns & Renewals

ILL due dates and other restrictions (library use only, no photocopying, no renewal, etc.) are set by the lending library. The date due and lending restrictions are noted on the strap wrapped around each item. You may also find additional information or restrictions on your ILL item by checking the request details at: My ILL Requests ... show me how.

Materials can be returned at either the McHenry or Science & Engineering circulation desks. 

If you would like UCSC ILL to return your non-ILL materials to a UC campus or to Stanford, we are happy to do that for you as a courtesy. Please be aware that you are responsible for ensuring that your items make it back to their owning libraries by their due dates. Any materials lost in transit are still your responsibility, and you will be billed for items that do not make it back to their owning libraries.

To ensure that ILL materials are renewed properly, please submit renewal requests between two weeks before and two weeks after the due date.  Renewals may be requested at My ILL Requests. If you are having difficulty using this service, please use our manual renewal form.

What If My ILL Item is Overdue?

ILL books are renewable within two weeks of the due date. The item becomes billable when it's two weeks overdue. Patrons with an ILL bill charged to their account will be blocked from using library services until the book is returned or the fines are paid.


Items borrowed via Interlibrary Loan are subject to recall at any time by the lender. Patrons are notified of recalls via a courtesy e-mail, but are ultimately responsible for keeping track of the due dates and statuses of materials. Recalled items must be returned within seven days of the recall date or the item will be billed for replacement. Patrons with an ILL bill charged to their account will be blocked from using library services until the book is returned or the fines are paid.

Borrowing Standards

Your adherence to the borrowing regulations specified by the lending library are critical to the continued use of that institution's resources by this university. The UCSC Library subscribes to the National Interlibrary Loan Code of the American Library Association as well as to regional agreements. We also adhere strictly to copyright law. 

Fees and Fines

Fees for Interlibrary Loan:

ILL provides service to eligible UCSC patrons at no charge; however, the cost of an ILL transaction can range from about $20 to $50. Please request only those materials necessary for your research, retrieve items promptly after being notified of their arrival, and return materials on or before the due date.

Fines for Interlibrary Loan:

Overdue items are billable two weeks after their due date. Recalled items are billable if not returned within seven days of the recall date. You are responsible for keeping track of the due dates and statuses of your materials. Courtesy overdue notices are sent via email to the email address you have on file with ILL, generally about one week after the due date.

As of July 1, 2009, minimum replacement/billing fees are:

  • $65.00 minimum replacement fee, up to the actual cost of replacement; some items cost significantly more
  • $20.00 billing fee

Once you have been billed for an item, you will be blocked from using Interlibrary Loan and other library services.

When you return billed items, the replacement fee will be waived. The processing fee will NOT be waived. Please allow up to one business day for the removal of replacement fees. Note: If the item is more than six months overdue AND/OR the lending library has already replaced the item, the replacement fee may not be refundable. 

If you would like to contest your fees, please complete the Billing Appeal Form.

If you believe you have returned an ILL item that is still checked out to you (or if you are being billed for the item), you may initiate a "claims returned" by emailing interlibrary loan staff or by filling out a billing appeal form. Either action will result in a search for the item. If the item is found, all associated charges will be removed from the your account. If the item is not found, you are responsible for the replacement and billing fees for the item.

The following will NOT result in reduced/canceled fees:

  • Failure to note due dates or to renew on time
  • Lack of knowledge of loan regulations
  • Disagreement with library or loan policy
  • Inablility to pay overdue fees or other charges
  • Failure to receive overdue or recall notices
  • Unwillingness to take responsibility for materials loaned to a third party
  • Appeals submitted 90 days or longer after the fine was assessed