This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries Interlibrary Loans - Policies

Interlibrary Loans - Policies

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) locates and provides access to materials not available at the Auburn University Libraries. ILL policy conforms to national, regional, and state interlibrary loan codes, and to the policies of individual lending libraries.

ILL supports the research, teaching and service efforts of members of the AU community. AU faculty & retired faculty, enrolled students, and staff with valid AU ID cards are eligible to use ILL.

The number of interlibrary loan requests in progress at one time is limited according to patron category. Please plan your research activities accordingly. If there are special circumstances surrounding your research, any of the Interlibrary Loan Department staff members will be happy to discuss them with you. The limits are as follows:

Faculty: 100 active requests
Graduate students: 50 active requests
Staff & Undergraduate students: 25 active request

Lending and borrowing are conducted between libraries, not between libraries and individuals.

Users may usually borrow ILL materials for at least two weeks, and must return them by the due date assigned by ILL staff. Lending libraries generally allow one week shipping time each way, and a two-week use period.

Materials generally not available through ILL include: manuscripts and archival materials, rare books and maps, pre-1900 imprints unless microfilmed, and psychological or educational tests. Other materials that are often difficult for ILL to obtain include: newspapers (unless a microfilm copy is available), entire issues or volumes of periodicals, audiovisual materials, genealogical materials, computer programs, books published within the last year, and videos.

The lending library may impose restrictions on use, such as LIBRARY USE ONLY, NO PHOTOCOPYING, NON-RENEWABLE, or USER'S SIGNATURE REQUIRED. In some cases, they may also elect to give us a shorter loan period. We ask your cooperation to abide by these restrictions so we may continue to use these libraries' collections on behalf of the AU community.

The requester is financially responsible for any damage or loss of borrowed materials from the time they are picked up or delivered to the user until the time they are returned to an ILL staff member.

Failure to abide by ILL rules may result in the suspension of ILL and/or library privileges.


A web form for ILL requests is accessible at all times. If you require assistance in using the form, visit either the ILL Office or any AU Libraries reference desk.

ILL expects users to verify that a requested item is unavailable at AU. If an item is checked out, please recall it. Users are also responsible for providing a complete bibliographic citation for each item, including author, title, date of publication, pages needed, etc. The source of the citation (database searched and accession number, book reference and page, etc.) can also be very helpful. Other necessary information is the requester's name, mail and delivery addresses, e-mail address, AU status, phone number, deadlines, and delivery and contact preferences.

Accurate and complete information helps ILL staff process your requests quickly and reliably.


ILL users should identify materials needed well ahead of the due date of a paper or project. The ILL staff uses several methods and networks to place requests. Requests are automatically routed to up to five libraries in a sequence. Each library has limited time to respond to our orders. In addition to these networks, ILL may use online full-text databases and commercial document suppliers to fill requests.

Photocopies are generally mailed First Class or transmitted over the Internet by Ariel; books are shipped Fourth Class. Some ILL partners ship UPS of FedEx. Depending on which supplier fills the order, an average of 1 to 3 weeks is normally required to make an item available to the requester. Turnaround time can be much longer for rare items or problematic requests.

ILL requests are processed in the order received. If average turnaround does not meet your needs for a specific request, give your "deadline" and tell ILL whether you can still use the item after the deadline.


ILL services are provided without charge to eligible AU users, unless the charges incurred to supply an item exceed $35. In such cases, the user will be notified, and may elect to pay the amount above $35.


The Circulation desk on the first floor of the RBD Library serves as the central pick-up and return point for materials ordered via ILL. Users will be notified when materials are ready for pick up. Copies (articles, conference papers, chapters) can be delivered to your campus office via campus mail.

Materials borrowed through ILL should be returned to the Circulation desk.


Fair use, as determined by U.S. Copyright law, Title 17, Copyrights, United States Code section 107, allows for the reproduction of copyrighted    material for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. The categories used in determining fair use are:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is ocommercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

U.S. copyright law, Title 17, Copyrights, United States Code, strictly limits the ability of the Interlibrary Loan staff to obtain journal articles. Under section 108(d), "Limitation on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives," libraries are authorized to furnish a photocopy. 108(d) reads:

"The rights of reproduction and distribution under this section apply to a copy, made from the collection of a library or archives where the user makes his or her request or from that of another library or archives, of no more than one article or other contribution to a copyrighted collection or periodical issue, or to a copy or phonorecord of a small part of any other copyrighted work, if-
  1. the copy or phonorecord becomes the property of the user, and the library or archives has had no notice that the copy or phonorecord would be used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research; and
  2. the library or archives displays prominently, at the place where orders are accepted, and includes on its order form, a warning of copyright in accordance with requirements that the Register of Copyrights shall prescribe by regulation."

If a user requests more than one article from one issue of a journal, the Interlibrary Loan Department staff must pay a copyright fee through the Copyright Clearance Center or must purchase the article from a commercial vendor. If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The Interlibrary Loan Department staff reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in our judgment, fulfillment of that order would involve violation of the copyright law.

The National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) has developed a set of guidelines to assist libraries in fulfilling their duties while adhering to copyright law. CONTU guidelines (or the "suggestion of five") permits the copying during a calendar year of no more than five articles from a single journal title, not owned by the library, dated within the past five years. This means that the Interlibrary Loan Department staff can order a total of only 5 articles from a single journal title dated within the past 5 years regardless of how many users request articles from the same journal title. For articles obtained in excess of this number, the Library must pay a fee to the Copyright Clearance Center or   must purchase the articles from a commercial vendor. The Interlibrary Loan Department staff reserves the right to restrict such purchases.

Last updated: 06/13/2018