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

Basic elements of ILS policy include the following:

  • ILS services support the research, teaching and service efforts of members of the UT Knoxville community. UT Knoxville faculty, students, and staff with valid UT Knoxville ID cards are eligible to use ILS.
  • Lending and borrowing are conducted between libraries, not between libraries and individuals.
  • Users may usually borrow ILS materials for at least two weeks, and must return them by the due date assigned by ILS staff. Lending libraries generally allow one week shipping time each way, and a two-week use period. Renewal requests may be possible, but must be made in advance of the due date assigned by ILS staff.
  • Materials generally not available through ILS include: manuscripts and archival materials, rare books and maps, and psychological or educational tests. Other materials that are often difficult for ILS to obtain include: newspapers (unless a microfilm copy is available), entire issues or volumes of periodicals, audiovisual materials, and genealogical materials.
  • No Textbooks. ILS can not serve as a replacement for purchasing your course textbooks. Rather, use ILS for very short term loans (average 2-4 weeks) or article copies. If you find acquiring any course text difficult, inform your instructor and request placement of course materials into our Reserve Collection.
  • No Repeat Loans. ILS provides short-term loans (2-4 weeks average). Do not reorder the same item multiple times. If you need a book longer than a typical interlibrary loan and one renewal provides, consider recommending the item for library purchase.
  • 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 UT 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 to the time they are received by ILS staff.
  • Failure to abide by ILS rules may result in the suspension of ILS and/or library privileges.



  • There are no per week or per month limits on the number of requests you may submit. Note that during peak times, you may be asked to prioritize requests or may have some requests temporarily routed to a holding queue as ILS staff manage the traffic. Staff will notify you if such services are required.
  • ILS expects users to verify that a requested item is not available at UT. (Ten percent of all requests submitted to ILS are found to be held by UT Libraries.) 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, UT ID number, mail and delivery addresses, e-mail address, UT status, phone number, deadlines, and delivery and contact preferences.


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


ILS users should identify sources needed well ahead of the due date of a paper or project. Staff use several international interlibrary loan networks to place requests. Requests are automatically routed to five or more libraries in a sequence. Each library has limited time to respond to our orders. In addition to these networks, ILS staff use online full-text databases and commercial document suppliers to fill requests.

Photocopies are primarily sent to us electronically; books are shipped Fourth Class, FedEx or one of the couriers we participate with.  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.

ILS requests are processed in the order received. If average turnaround does not meet your needs for a specific request, give your “deadline” and tell ILS whether you can still use the item after the deadline. This priority service is available to faculty, graduate students, and staff.


ILS services are provided without charge to eligible UT 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.

Dissertations are covered by a different charge policy. If ILS can’t secure a free loan, you may be able to pay for a copy (est. $35). ILS doesn’t cost-share most dissertation orders. ILS will contact you concerning any charges prior to ordering a dissertation or other item accruing charges.


The Circulation Desk, 2nd Floor, Hodges Library serves as the central pick-up and return point for materials ordered via ILS. Library Express delivers ILS material at no charge to the academic department mail rooms for faculty, staff, and graduate students. ILS will notify these users when materials are available.

Materials borrowed through ILS should be returned to The Circulation Desk, 2nd Floor, Hodges Library.  Upon request, Library Express will pick-up and return materials for eligible users from academic offices.  Loans remain charged out to the patron until ILS has checked them back in.

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