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Interlibrary Loan: Frequently Asked Questions

Who may borrow materials from the Library of Congress?

Any domestic or international academic, public, or special library may borrow from The Library of Congress. Our lending policies are governed by the National Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States (from ALA) and the International Lending and Document Delivery (from IFLA).

Please note: Individuals are not able to borrow directly from the Library of Congress. We encourage you to contact a local public or academic library to request on your behalf.

How much does it cost for interlibrary loan?

Our services are free to libraries in the US, US territories and US government facilities abroad.  For international libraries, the fees are 24USD for book loans or 16 for article scans up to 25 exposures.  If submitting from outside the US via Worldshare, please verify the max cost is set correctly.

We accept IFLA vouchers: the cost is 3 full IFLA vouchers per book and 2 full IFLA vouchers per article.

How do I submit a request?

Before you submit your request, please check the online catalog to see if the Library owns the item you want at: catalog.loc.gov, or contact Ask a Librarian.

There are two ways to submit an interlibrary loan request:

1) OCLC members may submit requests via Worldshare.

2) If your library is not a member of OCLC, you may submit a request through our website. To do so, please register as a Lending Webborrower by submitting this form: First Time Registration for ILL.Your application will be reviewed, and an email response sent to you with a user ID and password, which you may use to submit an interlibrary loan borrowing request.
Please note: Individuals are not able borrow directly from the Library of Congress. We encourage you to contact a local public of academic library to request on your behalf.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us directly at 202-707-5444 or email us at [email protected] or [email protected] (international).

How long does it take?

We try to answer most requests within a week, certain materials outside the general collection or stored remotely may require additional processing time. To check the status of your request please contact us: [email protected] or [email protected] (IFLA borrowers) or [email protected]. Alternatively, you can call 202-707-5444. Please verify request status before submitting duplicate requests. Scanning of materials for ILL is completed after the transaction is marked as shipped online, scans will follow in a few days.

What can I borrow?

Most books and some microfilm collections can be borrowed for 60 days.  However many of our special collections do not circulate unless there is a circulating microform copy. Serials, rare books, genealogy, local history, and manuscripts, do not circulate, unless on microfilm.  Books do not circulate via ILL if there is a digital surrogate. Films, photographs, and audio or visual recordings are not available via the interlibrary loan service, for these please contact Duplication Services.

How do I find out whether or not you have what I need?

Please check our online catalog at: catalog.loc.gov. Most books and some microfilm collections can be borrowed for 60 days. However many of our special collections do not circulate unless there is a circulating microform copy. Serials, rare books, genealogy, local history, and manuscripts, do not circulate, unless on microfilm. Books do not circulate via ILL if there is a digital surrogate. Films, photographs, and audio or visual recordings are not available via the interlibrary loan service, for these please contact Duplication Services.

If you still need assistance, please call us at 202-707-5444. We encourage you to consult Ask a Librarian.

Do you have every book ever published?

The Library of Congress does not keep a copy of every title ever published. The Library does have millions of books, periodicals, maps, manuscripts and other printed materials in 460 languages.

What is the Library's renewal policy?

The Library generally does not allow renewals. The loan period for library materials is sixty days and must be returned by the due date which is included with the book (please check the printed pass). If you wish to discuss the due date or other circulation policies, please call an Account Representative at 202-707-5441, or send an email to [email protected]. Please note, renewal requests submitted via Worldshare are automatically declined.

May I submit RUSH requests?

Due to the high volume of requests received, we cannot accept rush requests.

Do you have a waiting list?

Unfortunately, no. We can only send items that are available at the time of the request.

Do I have an account with the Library of Congress?

For all account questions and/or issues, please contact an Account Representative at 202-707-5441, or send an email to [email protected].

Does the Library of Congress update the status of requests in OCLC?

We generally do not check in items on Worldshare when they come back because of the large quantity of materials we handle for interlibrary loan. Please note: the Library does not use Worldshare to track ILL circulation once a book has left LC. The Library tracks circulation, including ILL circulation, exclusively in our integrated library system. Please check our online catalog or contact the accounts section at [email protected] or (202) 707-5441 to verify the circulation status of books returned from interlibrary loan.

How do I contact ILL at the Library of Congress?

For interlibrary loan request-related reference inquiries, please contact us at 202-707-5444 or email us at [email protected] (domestic), or [email protected] (international). 

For circulation issues, please contact an Account Representative at 202-707-5441, or send an email to [email protected]

Do I have an account with the Library of Congress?

For all account questions and/or issues, please contact an account representative at 202-707-5441, or send an email to [email protected]

Am I able to get articles scanned from microfilmed materials?

Yes, we can scan up to 25 exposures per request in the form of a pdf, which can be sent electronically or printed and mailed. Duplication Services is available for requests above 25 exposures or whole reel copies.

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  April 15, 2022
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