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Interlibrary Loan (Collections Access, Loan and Management Division)
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Circulation Policies

Loan Period

The loan period is 60 days for all libraries, U.S. and non-U.S. A reminder notice is sent after 45 days asking that material be returned soon. Material not returned after 60 days will result in suspension of borrowing privileges. In addition, it is possible that the CALM Division may recall material borrowed on Interlibrary Loan, when needed for official Library of Congress business. A Recall Notice would be sent in such a case, and the loan period might be shortened.

Use Only on Library Premises

The Library of Congress lends books to other libraries with the stipulation that they be used only inside the borrowing library. This is consistent with LC's own policy which prohibits readers from removing books from the LC reading rooms (except for Congressional use). The policy is also intended to protect borrowing libraries from the negligence of one patron, since one overdue book will suspend all loans to a particular institution.

Shipping from LC

All books for domestic libraries are shipped via Federal Express when the street address is provided. Otherwise, they are sent via UPS. Article, and other public domain, digital copies will be sent electronically via Odyssey, if request includes an Odyssey address, or as an email attachment, if size limitations allow. If the document is too large to send as an attachment, and the borrowing library does not have Odyssey, alternate means will be used, after consultation with borrowing library.

Lost or Damaged Items

As set forth in the U.S. National Interlibrary Loan Code and the IFLA Principles and Guidelines for Interlending, the borrowing library assumes responsibility for the safety of borrowed materials from the time the material leaves the lending library until it is returned safely. Borrowers should contact the Accounts Unit via email, or by calling 202-707-5441, as soon as possible regarding any concerns about lost or damaged items.


Interlibrary Loans may not, ordinarily, be renewed. Final due dates are given on the charge card which accompanies the requested material. If you feel there are extenuating circumstances, contact the CALM Division, Circulation Section, at the address below.

Discharging Borrowed Material

The Library of Congress does not update the status of OCLC and email requests when material has been returned to LC. Returning books are only discharged in the LC online circulation system. If you are concerned about whether an item you borrowed from LC has been returned, contact the Accounts Unit via email, or by calling 202-707-5441.

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  March 17, 2022
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