Interlibrary Borrowing

Randall Library Interlibrary Borrowing Policy

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that provides access to library materials not available at UNCW’s Randall Library. It is governed by the American Library Association's National Library Code and the US Copyright Revision Act of 1976 (17.United States Code. 101 et seq.).


Current UNCW students, staff, and current and emeritus faculty are eligible to use Interlibrary Loan.  Other affiliated library users are not eligible for Interlibrary Loan, including UNCW alumni, retired faculty and staff, non-sponsored visiting scholars, and North Carolina resident borrowers.


Interlibrary Loan is offered as a free service for eligible users because Randall Library absorbs the following costs for our campus community.

  • Borrowing fees can range from $8.00-$35.00 per request, depending on the lending institution.
  • Copyright fees can range from $25.00-$65.00 per article, depending on the publisher.
  • Shipping rates vary by courier, weight, and destination.
Availability of Materials

Eligible users may request materials not owned by Randall Library, including

  • Books and book chapters
  • Conference proceedings
  • Articles (from journals, newspapers, or magazines)
  • Dissertations
  • Audiovisual materials (CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, etc.)
  • Government documents
  • Microforms

Eligible users may also request materials that are owned by Randall Library but unavailable (checked out, missing, lost, damaged, or on order).

Please note that eligible users may request only one copy of an individual title at a time. 

Required UNCW course materials cannot be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan.

Materials such as genealogical material, manuscript collections and other archival material, rare material, bound journal volumes, and reference works do not typically circulate and often cannot be borrowed via Interlibrary Loan.

eBooks cannot be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan due to licensing restrictions imposed by the publishers.  Any request for an eBook will be treated as a request for a hard copy print book.

Placing Requests

All requests must be placed by logging in to ILLiad. Citations should be as complete as available information allows. Please note that by submitting an Interlibrary Loan request, the user is acknowledging that they have read and understood the statement of copyright compliance below. 

The Interlibrary Loan office is staffed and requests are processed from 8:00am – 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. 

The Interlibrary Loan office will contact the user via email if additional information about a request is needed.  If the information is not provided within 4 business days, staff will cancel the request.

Arrival Time and Access

Borrowing (Electronic Materials)

Please plan for at least 2-4 business days for articles to be sent by the lending institution. Users will be notified via email and/or text when requested articles are available to download.  Article PDFs are hosted on the Interlibrary Loan server for 30 days, after which they are deleted and cannot be recovered. Please reference the copyright statement below regarding received photocopies, reproductions, and electronic versions of articles and book chapters.

Borrowing (Physical Materials)

Please plan for at least 7-14 business days for items to arrive from the lending institution.  Users will be notified via email and/or text when items arrive. They will be held at the Library Help Desk for pickup, except in the following scenarios.

  • 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 ILLiad profile.
  • Distance Education faculty and students will be prompted to enter their current mailing address when creating their ILLiad profile. Items will be mailed via USPS with return shipping provided.
  • Distance Faculty who work fully remotely outside of the Wilmington area will be prompted to enter their current mailing address when creating their ILLiad profile. Items will be mailed via USPS with return shipping provided.
  • Graduate students completing degree requirements outside of the Wilmington area may set their ILLiad profile status to “Distance Ed Grad” and provide their current mailing address. Items will be mailed via USPS 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 ILLiad profile, students should select “CMS” as their department/major, set their status as “Distance Ed Grad,” and enter CMS/Myrtle Grove as their address.

Users are asked not to remove any paperwork attached to the item, as it is needed to process the item’s return.

Loan Periods and Renewals

All due dates are determined by the lending libraries and will vary from Randall Library’s loan periods. 

All items will include a slip with the due date and a note stating whether or not the item can be renewed.  Renewable items may typically be granted only one renewal, and the request must be submitted through the user’s ILLiad account before the item’s due date. 

Overdue and Lost Materials

Upon return by the user, Interlibrary Loan materials go through multiple checkins as part of the return process: at the Library Help Desk, the Interlibrary Loan office, and the lending institution. This process tracks the material’s progress, ensuring that the item is safely returned and that the user’s account does not become delinquent.

Users are financially responsible for Interlibrary Loan material from the time it is picked up at the LIbrary Help Desk or mailed to the user, until the time it is returned to and received by library staff.

Users with overdue material will have their accounts suspended after three notices. Returning an overdue item will reinstate privileges unless a replacement invoice has been issued by the lending institution. Once a replacement invoice for an item is received, the charges are added to the user’s library account.  The user’s ILLiad account will remain suspended until proof of payment is provided to the Interlibrary Loan office.

Users will be charged for any replacement costs issued by our lenders for lost or damaged material.  Damage includes markings with pen, pencil or highlighter, damp or wet pages, and significant rips or tears.  An Interlibrary Loan item that is overdue may be considered lost and invoiced by our lenders.  All charges are added to the user’s library account once an invoice is received. Unpaid charges for students will be transferred to Student Accounts and can impact graduation dates and transcript requests.

Copyright Statement

Randall Library reserves the right to cancel any request that is not compliant with Title 17 of the United States Code as well as the CONTU Guidelines which aid the interpretation of Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act, summarized below:

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific 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.

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. 

Responsible Use of Interlibrary Loan Services

Use of Interlibrary Loan is contingent upon users’ compliance with this policy. Randall Library is able to provide this service to the UNCW community because of reciprocal agreements with other libraries based on good faith. Lending libraries expect that their materials will be treated with care and that due dates will be honored by the borrowing library and its users. Habitual non-compliance negatively impacts our standing in the Interlibrary Loan community and impedes our ability to borrow materials for all students, faculty, and staff. Users with more than one instance of overdue materials are at risk of losing their Interlibrary Loan privileges permanently or having additional restrictions placed on material use.


Reviewed August 2023.