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Answered By: William Gee
Last Updated: Jun 24, 2022     Views: 225

Joyner Interlibrary Loan aims to borrow from other libraries materials that ECU students, faculty, and staff request, which are not available in Joyner or Music Library collections. We can often obtain journal and newspaper articles, book chapters, books, dissertations and theses, DVDs, CDs, and more. However, not everything can be borrowed. Libraries can refuse to provide materials or place limitations on the use of their materials. Please read below for some common material types that may be difficult for us to obtain. But keep in mind, we will always try! 


Interlibrary Loan can be used to request materials that the library does not own, including textbooks, but many libraries do not loan textbooks of any kind. Also keep in mind that loan periods through interlibrary loan are typically only one month and rarely can be extended to the full semester. Items through interlibrary loan are borrowed from other libraries and each library sets its own loan period, which we must follow as borrowers. For more information on textbooks, visit

Materials owned by & available from the ECU Libraries

If you request items that the ECU Libraries own that are currently available, we'll either refer you to the electronic, print, media, or microform collection or provide the item from ECU's local collection. If the item you want is checked-out, missing, or otherwise not available, we will request to borrow it from another library. If you are taking your classes remotely (Distance Education), let us know -- we might be able to ship the materials to you (For more information, visit

Material published or released within the current or past year

Libraries sometimes take months or longer to acquire newly released titles. Many libraries will not loan their newly acquired materials or they simply may already be checked out by other patrons. If we cannot borrow a newly released title, the request may need to be considered at later date, or the library will consider purchasing a copy.

Entire volumes or issues of periodicals

Full bound versions of journals and magazines are usually impossible or highly costly to replace if they are lost or damaged, so most libraries will not loan them.

Reference works

Being classified as reference works, most libraries have them in their reference departments and do not loan them to their own patrons, so will not loan them to other library's patrons. Most of the time, though, we can obtain photocopies of sections from reference books.

Rare books

Rare books are usually old (pre-1900), fragile, historically significant, valuable, or of limited printing, and are thus impossible to replace if they are damaged or lost in shipping or while on loan. As a result, few libraries lend rare books.

Archival manuscripts

Often these papers are only owned by one library in the world and no other copies exist elsewhere. They are too valuable, historically significant, or irreplaceable to risk having them shipped. Often when these materials are donated to or purchased for the library, they are promised or contractually bound not to lend them offsite. 

Genealogical research materials

Like reference books, rare books, and archival papers, genealogical works, whether individual papers or bound books, are often not loaned by libraries. These items are typically owned by few libraries and are irreplaceable if lost or damaged.

Newspapers (original print version)

Very few libraries retain hard-copy newspapers because of the space they require and because newspaper and newsprint are not designed for longevity. Instead, most newspapers are microfilmed or digitized. Requests for newspaper articles are typically filled by borrowing the microfilm reels or getting a photocopy/PDF scan of the article.

DVDs, CDs, and other media

Media formats are increasingly easier to borrow than in years past, although there are still libraries that do not lend their media. Records break; Cassette tapes and VHS tapes can get erased if run through certain security scanning equipment; DVDs and CDs scratch and break easily in the mail. Additionally, these media items tend to be popular at the owning libraries. Media for academic use (e.g. documentaries) can also be expensive.

Computer software

Few libraries own and circulate computer software because of licensing/copyright limitations and how costly and quickly software is outdated.

Dissertations & Theses

Dissertations and theses are sometimes only owned by the college or university library where the degree was granted. Newer ones may be available online from those campuses or through the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text database. Older materials and those from institutions outside of the United States of America are more difficult, or even impossible, to obtain.

Grey (gray) literature / Unpublished works

Because working papers, internal reports, drafts, and presentations are unpublished, they can be difficult or impossible to obtain.

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