Where can I find books the Libraries don’t have?

Dear Benny,
I’m an avid reader who also likes to do research on a variety of topics, but there are some books that just aren’t available in the Libraries’ massive collection. How can I access books that Penn Libraries doesn’t have?
—Always Learning

Dear Always Learning,

The process to locate a book is easy, and can usually be done right from your computer. Through Penn’s membership in several library organizations, anyone with a PennCard can request books and materials, including journal articles and bestselling novels that the Penn Library system doesn’t own. To make a request directly from a computer, go to the BorrowDirect and E-ZBorrow page on the Penn Libraries’ website. The services allow you to search multiple library collections simultaneously to find what you want and then place the request yourself.

BorrowDirect enables Penn Libraries patrons to borrow books directly from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale, and the Center for Research Libraries.

E-ZBorrow offers books from more than 60 academic libraries in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and West Virginia. The borrowing period is six weeks with one six-week renewal.

Tracking a request’s progress can be done online, and when the book arrives, you’ll be notified by email. Requested materials usually arrive in 3-5 days, and can be picked up at any Penn library.

Another way to get books and other materials that aren’t available at Penn is through InterLibrary Loan, which requires contacting one of the Penn Libraries InterLibrary Loan offices based on the school and topic of your search.

For more information about which of the InterLibrary Loan offices can help you, go to InterLibrary Loan at Penn Libraries.

Originally published on February 21, 2013