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Interlibrary Loan

All interlibrary loan requests are currently suspended.
You can now bring back your interlibrary loan items during regular takeout hours. Keep in mind that it will be at least 72 hours before the item is checked in at the locations. Contact the location from which you borrowed your item(s) if you have questions.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows you to request materials that Durham County Library does not own. There is no guarantee that we will be able to obtain a copy of the item you’re interested in, but we’re always happy to try. Most items can be checked out like an ordinary library book, but some must 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 we encourage you to search through our materials that might give you the information you need first. Ask a librarian if you need help!

Who can request materials through Interlibrary Loan?

Durham County Library patrons with full-privileges adult, juvenile, and out-of-county borrower cards may use Interlibrary Loan services. Fines must be no more than $10.00 to place a request.

Visit for more information on obtaining library cards with Durham County Library.

How can I place an Interlibrary Loan request?

While we’re closed due to COVID-19, all interlibrary loan requests are suspended.

What can I request through Interlibrary Loan?

Items that can be requested are:

  • Books that Durham County Library does not own, though there are some exceptions (see below).
    Note: Textbooks that fit the other requirements may be requested, but please note that ILL is not ideal for borrowing them because we are unable to predict how long it will take for the book to arrive or how long you will be allowed to keep it.
  • Articles from magazines, newspapers and journals that Durham County Library does not have access to. These are usually copied for you rather than loaning you the item itself.

Items that CANNOT be requested are:

  • Books that Durham County Library owns, including Reference materials and items in the North Carolina Collection and the Serena Warren Wheeler Collection.
  • Books that Durham County Library has ordered but not yet received – but you can place a normal request on these items any time!
  • Books that were published less than 1 year ago or more than 100 years ago.
  • Audio-visual materials, including DVDs, music CDs, and audiobooks.
  • E-books and e-audiobooks.

Due to the closing of the North Carolina Collection as we get ready to move back into Main Library, microfilm materials currently can’t be requested.

How many items can I request?

At any given time, you can have no more than 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?

The time between your request and when the book arrives varies and can be as much as 4 weeks or more.  Because of the many steps involved in the ILL process, and because much of it is in the hands of other libraries, we are unable to predict how long it will be before your materials are ready for you to pick up, regardless of which library is sending them. We will contact you by email or phone, depending on your preference.

How long can I check Interlibrary Loan items? Can I renew them?

The library that loans the book decides how long you can check it out, 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 location 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.

How much does this service cost?

Interlibrary Loan is a free service for patrons who are in good standing with the library and have a full library card rather than a computer-use card. Occasionally, a fee may be required from the library that lends the materials, but we will check with you first.

If you receive an article from a magazine, newspaper or journal, and you want us to print it, there is a $.10/page fee.

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

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.

The standard lost book processing fine of $5 per item applies, but there will be additional 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 Interlibrary Loan items until they are paid.

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

Who can I contact if I need help?

If you need assistance with any ILL question, contact the designated staff member at your library location.

Floyd Harris

East Regional
Phil Locey

North Regional
Emily Tobias

South Regional
Laura Broadwater

Southwest Regional
Patrick Holt

Stanford L. Warren
Carter Cue

Kathleen Hayes

North Carolina Collection
Elizabeth Shulman

Copyright Notice

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research”. If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use”, that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.