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Request from another library system

All ILL requests are on hold due to COVID-19.

If you have outstanding ILL items, you can return them in the drop box at your checkout location. If your items no longer have paperwork or labels to show that they are ILL items, please include a note inside their front covers that says “ILL”.

If you have questions, contact the location from which you borrowed your item(s).


You can request items that Durham County Library doesn’t own through the interlibrary loan (ILL) service. Interlibrary loan means that we’ll look for a copy we can borrow from another library system for you. There’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to get a copy of your item, but we’re always happy to try.

Most items borrowed through ILL can be checked out like an ordinary library book, but some can only be used within the library building.

While we’re very happy we can provide this service, it does involve extra cost to the library, so please make sure we don’t already have something you can use before placing your request. If an electronic copy would work, check OverDrive and hoopla. Ask a librarian if you need help!

How it works

To use ILL, you’ll need a Durham County Library card with no more than $10 of outstanding fees.

What can I request?

You can request most books that Durham County Library doesn’t already own, except for:

  • Books that we’ve ordered but not yet received – but you can place a normal request on these items any time!
  • Books published less than 1 year ago or more than 100 years ago.

Books that we own can’t be requested through ILL, even if our copy is for in-library use only.

You can also request articles from magazines, newspapers, and journals that we does not have access to. You’ll usually get a copy of the article rather than the actual magazine.

You *can’t* request ebooks, e-audiobooks or audiobooks on disc, CDs, DVDs, or any other audiovisual materials.

Is there a cost?

Nope, ILL is a free service if you have a Durham County Library card. Occasionally, the library that lends the item may charge a fee – if so, we’ll check with you before going ahead with the request.

If you receive an article from a magazine, newspaper, or journal and want to print it, the usual printing fee of $0.10/page applies.

If you do not pick the item up at all, you will be fined $5.

How many items can I request?

At any given time, you can have up to 5 requests in any stage of the process. For example, you could have 2 requests being reviewed, 1 being shipped to your preferred Durham County Library location, and 2 more checked out.

How long will it take before my book arrives?

Because of the many steps involved in the ILL process, and because a lot of it is in the hands of other libraries, we can’t predict how long it will take before your item arrives. It can be as much as 4 weeks or more. When it’s ready for pickup, we will contact you by email or phone, depending on your preference.

How long is the checkout period for ILL items? Can I renew them?

The library that loans the book to us decides how long you can check it out for, so it varies from item to item. We will let you know the due date when we check it out to you.

You can always request renewals by contacting your Durham County Library location at least 5 days before the book’s due date. The library that loans the book decides whether or not you can renew it and, if so, the length of the renewal.

What are the overdue and lost book fines?

We do not charge overdue fines, but there may be overdue fines from the library that loaned the book.

For lost items, our standard processing fee of $5 per item applies, but there will also be lost item fines from the library that loaned the book. These can be very expensive and will prevent you from checking out or renewing any Durham County Library items or ILL items until they are paid.

If you do not pick an ILL item up at all, you will be fined $5.