Interlibrary Loan

icon of an exclamation markThe Randall Library building is closed for renovation during Summer 2024.  Starting May 13th, ILL items ready for pickup can be retrieved at the temporary Library Help desk in the front entrance of Randall Library from 8am – 4pm, Monday – Thursday. Some delays in service are possible.  

Information about Interlibrary and Document Services

Introduction to Interlibrary Loan

Lending Information for Other Libraries

Libraries: Please visit our Interlibrary Lending service policy for more information about our ILL lending services.

When should I use Interlibrary Loan?

ILL iconIf you have carefully searched the Library Catalog for a book or journal, and we do not own it (or have online access to it), then you may place an ILL request for the item.

Interlibrary Loan Contact Information

Phone: 910-962-7312
Office: Randall Library Room 1023B

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can I check out an ILL?

The due dates for interlibrary loan items are set by the lending library, and do not conform to Randall Library's checkout periods for items from our own collection. The typical lending period for an ILL item is 4-6 weeks, although some libraries will grant more or less time depending on their institution's policies. An item's due date will be printed on the paper strap attached to the item for customer reference.  

What if I damage an ILL item?

The lending library may issue a replacement invoice for any item they consider to be returned damaged. Damage can include (but is not limited to) highlighting or pen marks, coffee stains and other water damage, and torn or detached pages. 

Replacement invoices are the responsibility of the individual who borrowed the item, and charges are added to the user’s library account. Once these charges are paid, the item becomes the property of the user.

For policy information, please see 

What happens when an ILL item is overdue?

Overdue interlibrary loans damage our reputation with other libraries and inhibit our ability to successfully borrow materials for all faculty, staff, and students. You will receive several warning notices before your borrowing privileges are suspended. Borrowing privileges are reinstated once an overdue item is returned unless we have received a final replacement invoice for the item from our lender. You will be notified via email when a final replacement invoice is pending.

Once the final invoice is issued, replacement charges and billing fees will be added to your library account and the item can no longer be returned. At this point, ILL privileges may be suspended indefinitely. Unpaid charges are transferred to student accounts and can inhibit registration, graduation, and transcript requests. Replacement charges issued by lending libraries typically far exceed the market cost of the item, and invoices are non-negotiable.

Are there laws or guidelines that impact borrowing materials through ILL?

Library resource sharing staff abide by the statutes outlined in Title 17 of the U.S. Code, as well as the CONTU Guidelines which aid the interpretation of Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act. This process may require the utilization of the Copyright Clearance Center and commercial document suppliers to obtain as much requested material as possible.

For more information on the copyright rules for interlibrary loan materials, please see this website

Can I cancel my ILL request?

Interlibrary loan requests can only be canceled between the time they are submitted and the time they are processed by ILL staff. Once a request has been sent out to potential lending libraries (in status: Submitted to Lending Libraries), it cannot be canceled by the requestor.

Can I borrow an e-book via ILL?

Due to licensing terms, e-books cannot be borrowed or lent via interlibrary loan. Any ILL request for an e-book will be processed as a request for a physical copy (unless Randall Library already owns the e-book, in which case a link to the item will be provided via e-mail).

How long does it take to get an item through ILL?

Items requested through Interlibrary Loan may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to arrive depending on the item's type, availability, and the shipping method used by the lending library. Please plan for at least 2-4 business days for journal articles, and at least 7-14 business days for books. Certain material types are less-often lent by libraries (including newly-published popular fiction and recreational media), so requests for these items may take longer to fill than for other items.

How do I make a purchase suggestion?

  • Please fill out our Suggest a Purchase form.
  • You will be asked for the author, title, publisher, date, and where you saw this item mentioned.
  • You will receive an email confirmation of your purchase suggestion.
  • If you want the item put on hold for you when it is available, you can select that option in the form. You will receive an email when the item is ready for pick-up.


Why are some Interlibrary Loan requests being purchased rather than borrowed from other libraries?

When placing an ILL request for a book during the fall or spring semesters you may recommend that Randall Library consider purchasing the item for the collection. To do so, select “Consider for Purchase” or “Not sure” on the request form. If you prefer to borrow the book through the traditional ILL process, select “Borrow.” 

The criteria for this ILL-initiated purchasing program are more restrictive than for standard purchase requests, and include year of publication, cost of item, and expedited shipping availability. If the title meets the criteria, the item will be purchased rather than borrowed. If the title does not meet the criteria it will be requested for borrowing via ILL. 

Purchased items are typically ready for check out within 7 to 12 days. On arrival the item will be placed on hold for you at the Library Help Desk and you will receive an email when it ready to be checked out.

As a reminder, items outside these criteria may be requested by contacting your Liaison Librarian or submitting through the Suggest a Purchase form.

What kind of material can I request to borrow through Interlibrary Loan?

Most books, book chapters, DVDs, Music CDs, Dissertations/Theses and articles from journals or magazines. Course textbooks and other required course materials are not available to borrow though ILL. These items can be purchased or rented from UNCW's Campus Bookstore.

What do the Interlibrary Loan status messages mean?

Submitted to ILL Staff Request has been successfully submitted.
Awaiting Copyright Clearance ILL staff checking to see if a copyright fee is required; if fee is
required it is paid by the library up to our maximum of $30.00 USD.
Information Needed from User A request for additional information has been emailed to the user.
Submitted to Lending Libraries Request has been sent to potential lending libraries.
Ready for Pickup Loan is available to check out from the Randall Library Circulation Desk.
Received by ILL Staff Article or loan has arrived and an email notification to the user is pending.
Selected for Library Purchase Request has been selected by Library Acquisitions to purchase for the collection. The item will be rush ordered and placed on hold for the requestor when it arrives.
Available for Download

Article has been posted and ready for user to download; to view articles, logon to ILL account, select “Electronically Received Articles” from the menu and select the one wanted. Articles are deleted from the ILL server after 30 days.

Checked Out Loan has been picked up by or mailed to customer.
Request Completed or Expired Loan was successfully returned, or article has expired and been removed from the ILL server.
Awaiting Renewal Processing Customer has requested a renewal; ILL staff will contact the lending library for approval.
Link Emailed to User

The item was found in our electronic holdings or open-access online; a link to the item has been emailed to the user.

Request Cancelled

User or staff has canceled the request; reason for cancellation is included in email notification and available to view in user's ILL account (under "Cancelled Requests").


I'm a UNCW student/staff/faculty, can I use other UNC libraries?

  • Yes, take your UNCW One Card to the Library Help Desk in the main library at one of the other UNC system libraries.
  • Let the staff know that you want to borrow materials through the "UNC Direct Borrowing agreement."
  • Show your UNCW One Card and be prepared to log in to your UNCW account in order to show that you are in good standing.
  • If the library does not honor your UNCW One Card, ask the staff member to call the UNCW Library Help Desk at 910-962-3272 so your status can be verified.
  • The borrowing policies of that library will apply to any items checked out to you.

How do I receive materials ordered through Interlibrary Loan?

  • Current faculty and staff may choose to have items sent to their office through campus mail by selecting "Mail to Campus Address" as the delivery method in their ILL account profile.
  • Undergraduate and Graduate students will receive an email notification or text message and instructions when an article is available for download from their ILL account. When a loan is received, an email notification or text message is sent when the item is available for pickup at the Library Help Desk in Randall Library.
  • Distance Education faculty and students will be prompted to enter their current mailing address when creating their ILL account. Items will be mailed via UPS with return shipping provided.
  • Graduate students completing degree requirements outside of the Wilmington area may set their ILL account status to “Distance Ed Grad” and provide their current mailing address. Items will be mailed via UPS with return shipping provided.
  • Graduate students based at the Center for Marine Science may have items sent to them at CMS Myrtle Grove through campus mail. In their ILL account, students should select “CMS” as their department/major, set their status as “Distance Ed Grad,” and enter CMS/Myrtle Grove as their address.

Can I renew an Interlibrary Loan book?

  • You may request one renewal for an Interlibrary Loan item, unless the lending library has disallowed renewals. If no renewal is possible, it will be stated on the item's white band and in the item's record in your ILLiad account.
  • Renewable items may typically be granted only one renewal, and the request must be submitted through the user’s ILL account before the item’s due date.
  • To request a renewal, log on your Interlibrary Loan account, click on the transaction number of the item you want to renew, and select "request renewal" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Your request will be forwarded to the lending library for consideration.
  • You will get an email with a new due date if the request is granted or a message requesting the return of the item if the renewal is denied.
  • For policy information, please see the Interlibrary Borrowing Policy

How do I get a book, article, or other materials from another library?

  • Current UNCW students, staff and faculty can use our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service to borrow items not owned by Randall Library.
  • Current UNCW faculty, staff and students are eligible to borrow materials not owned by Randall Library through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
  • First time users will enter their name, address, and other personal information into the system only once, at the time of their first request. Thereafter, you log in with your UNCW username and password and need only enter the bibliographic information for your requests.
  • Whenever possible, documents are delivered electronically to your ILL account (you will receive email or text message notification).
  • Users can check the status of request(s) through their Interlibrary Loan account.
  • Log on to our Interlibrary Loan Page to create a request.