Interlibrary Loan

Due to the holidays, customers may experience longer than normal wait times.

If we don’t have it, another library might! 


First Time Registration

The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service allows libraries to borrow materials that they do not own, such as books, microfilm and photocopies of journal articles, from other libraries throughout the country. Please keep in mind that many libraries do not loan recently published, high-demand, rare, or fragile materials. 

Please be sure you have first checked our library catalog for the item you are seeking. Interlibrary Loan requests cannot be made for items that we have in our catalog. Borrowers may have up to 5 active interlibrary loan requests at any one time. 

WorldCat is an excellent resource for submitting Interlibrary Loan requests.

Fees for Interlibrary Loan Requests

Due to increasing postage and processing costs, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library charges a small fee for the Interlibrary Loan service. This enables us to continue providing this valuable service to patrons. 

Interlibrary Loan Books and Microfilm(Currently unavailable)
$2.00 fee for each Interlibrary Loan item

Interlibrary Loan Photocopy Requests
$0.25 per photocopied page for each article

Frequently Asked Questions Suggest a Purchase

Interlibrary Loan Policies

  • Payment must be made at time of pick-up.
  • If items are not picked up, customers will still be assessed the fee.
  • If the request cannot be filled, the fee will not be charged.
  • Items will be held for seven days on the holds shelf at the pickup location.
  • Items are checked out for three weeks with one possible renewal for a total of six weeks.
  • You may return items to any branch. You MUST  return items in side the branchDo not use the book drop.
  • Damaged Items:  If a customer returns a damaged interlibrary loan item(s), their library card account will be assessed the full replacement cost of the item as determined by the lending facility.

  • $100.00 Lost Item Fee — The default price is $100.00. Please speak with ILL staff about lost items as we will need to discuss the matter. Many times the cost will be lower, however it may be higher. 
  • Maximum Borrowing Charge is required on the request form — 95% of items received are free, however if the owning library charges us, we must pass that to you. You should fill in the maximum fee you are willing to pay the owning library. If you do not want to pay a borrowing charge, put $0. The $2.00 fee CML charges will be assessed in any case 

Difficult to Obtain

  • Genealogical material
  • Material not published in the U.S. or not held by U.S. libraries
  • Very old or rare books
  • Very expensive books
  • Reference material

Items We Cannot Request

  • Audio books
  • Videotapes
  • DVD’s
  • Compact Discs


You must have a current library card with borrowing privileges to request an ILL. You cannot have fees over $10 on your library account.

It usually takes between 2 to 6 weeks for a requested item to arrive, and you can have no more than 5 active requests at a time. A request is considered active from the time it is submitted to the time it is returned to the lending library.

Transfers Between Branches

If you find an item in our catalog and wish to pick it up at your nearest Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branch, we will transfer it to your choice of branch at no charge. The Interlibrary Loan fee applies to items that are not in our catalog and therefore must be obtained from a library system other than Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The fee helps supplement the postage required to mail the item from the lending library system to our library system.

Interlibrary Loan Statuses

The library uses various statuses to track Interlibrary Loan requests. After you have placed a request, you can logon to your Interlibrary loan account at any time and check the status of your request. Go to "View Outstanding Requests" on the main menu to see the progress of your requests. Explanations of each status are listed below:

Awaiting Conditional Processing - A potential lending library has responded to the request by asking us to clarify something or comply with special conditions (high cost, restricted use, etc.) before they will lend the item. If there is fee levied by the owning library we will ask you to agree to it before we proceed.

Awaiting Copyright Clearance - An article request has been received and is being reviewed by ILL staff to determine if copyright fees must be paid.

Awaiting Request Processing - The request has not yet been submitted to lenders, but Interlibrary loan staff will soon do that unless there is a problem with the request. Interlibrary requests are usually submitted in the order in which they are received.

Awaiting Unfilled Processing - The request has been sent to potential lending libraries, but it has not been filled. We are trying to locate additional libraries that may own the material; this process can take several days before all potential libraries respond and either accept or decline the request.

Cancelled by Customer - Customer has cancelled the request. Cancelled requests can be found and resubmitted at a later time at "View Cancelled Requests.  Please note if you want to cancel an item, let us know ASAP. The $2.00 fee will be assessed when an item is listed as "shipped"

Cancelled by ILL Staff - We were unable to locate the requested item, or lenders were unable to fill the request.

Request Finished - Request has been successfully processed and completed (article photocopy has been picked up, or book has been picked up and returned by customer). Requests with this status are archived under "View Request History."

Request in Processing - The request is being processed by ILL staff.

Request Sent - Request has been sent to potential lending libraries and ILL staff is waiting for a response indicating that the request will/will not be filled.

Received by Your Library - The item has been received by local ILL staff. It will be processed and sent to the pickup location. An item remains in this status from the time it is received by ILL staff until it is mailed back to the owning library. You may check the local status of these items by logging in to My Account in the library catalog.