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Interlibrary loan requests should be submitted via our Online Patron Request Form. We cannot accept phone or email requests for ILL services. Please indicate in your request if the request is for a subcite.


Interlibrary Loan borrowing is provided to any member of the Harvard Law School community (faculty, students, and staff). If you need a book or journal article that is unavailable within the Harvard University library system, we will attempt to borrow it from another library. You are encouraged to consult with a Reference Librarian prior to completing a request form. They can assist you in locating materials at the Harvard libraries as well as locating full text electronic resources to save you the time waiting for interlibrary loan (ILL) materials to arrive.

Please Note: We DO NOT BORROW the following materials:

  • Whole issues of periodicals
  • Books published within the past year
  • Locally available videos
  • Items available at other Harvard Libraries (excluding Countway)
  • Items on reserve at the Law School Library
  • Items available on-line as page images
  • The latest edition of textbooks
  • Electronic books (e-books)


  • We will only borrow missing Law School books after an appropriate search.
  • We will only borrow checked out Harvard books after a recall has failed

Turnaround Time

Because materials are generally sent by UPS or US Mail, it can take ten days to two weeks for the Harvard Law School Library to receive the materials from another library in the United States. Items from international lenders can take up to a month to arrive. While we do our best to accommodate requests as quickly as possible, please note that there are NO RUSH REQUESTS and that we cannot guarantee delivery in time to meet deadlines. If an item is needed right away, please be sure to indicate the deadline date on the web request.

You can check the status of your interlibrary loan requests using our online patron request form.


We will notify you via phone or email as soon as the item is received or if there is a problem with your request.

Hold Procedures

ILL items will be placed on hold at the Langdell Circulation Desk unless the lending library requests otherwise. Books and microfilm originals will be held for the length of the loan, usually one month. Copies will be held for the semester; copies are generally yours to keep. “In-library use” books will be placed on hold in the Special Collections Reading Room. We strongly suggest that you pick up items promptly as they are on loan for a limited length of time.

Renewing ILL Books

Most books may be renewed unless the bookband indicates “No renewals.” To renew an Interlibrary Loan book, use our online patron request form or contact us via any method listed in our contact information. Please provide your name and the “Log number” located on the bookband. We will contact you as soon as a renewal is secured to provide you with the new due date. Please note, that you are responsible for any fines incurred if you neglect to renew the book promptly.


Interlibrary Loan books are subject to recall by the lending library. If you receive a recall notice for an interlibrary loan book, please return it as soon as possible. We will make every effort to obtain a replacement for you.

Return Books Before the Due Date

Please return books to the Langdell Circulation desk on or before the due date. Do not remove the bookband as it expedites returns to the library owning the book. Please note, you are responsible for replacement and other fees should you damage or lose books borrowed on Interlibrary Loan.


Please follow all restrictions set by the lending library. For example, some libraries require that materials they lend be used in the borrowing library only. Some do not allow photocopying.

Borrowing Journals

You can request articles from a journal; often a photocopy is provided. Generally you cannot borrow an entire issue of a journal. Due to the copyright law, we also cannot request copies of entire issues of periodicals. If an entire issue of a periodical is missing, please notify the Circulation Desk so that it may be replaced.


Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified 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 copy order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Items not available through Interlibrary Loan

There are several reasons why an item might not be available on Interlibrary Loan, including:

  • the item does not circulate (e.g., it is reference or rare materials)
  • the item has not been received by any libraries (e.g., newest issue of a periodical)
  • the citation you provided does not correspond to any known item

If we determine that the item exists but is not available for Interlibrary Loan, we will forward your request to the appropriate bibliographer for purchase. They will contact you if the item will not be purchased. Please note, book purchases may take anywhere from a few days to months, depending on the place of publication, and whether the item is in print and in stock. If the problem is due to the citation, we may refer you to Reference or ask you to bring a copy of the publication where the item is cited. Failing that, we may suggest that you contact the author of the citing publication directly.

Contact Information

Harvard Library Resource Sharing
1 Harvard Yard
Widener Library, Room G-30
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

Phone: 617-495-2972
Fax: 617-496-2666


Monday – Friday, 9:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.