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What are Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan Services?

Document Delivery Service (DDS) provides you with fast delivery of copied articles, book excerpts or other documents from our existing collections. Such items can normally be scanned and sent to you electronically, mailed, or printed for pick up from the Circulation desk. However, historical materials are handled only on a case-by-case basis which means they may not always be available for DDS due to possible damage in handling.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Service is the result of our participation in a national network of libraries that makes it possible to deliver resources not found in our own collections. Libraries all over the country cooperate to borrow and lend from each other on their users’ behalf.

Who may use the Document Delivery/ILL Services?

All cardholders are welcome to use these services. Texas Medical Center users must supply an email address from a TMC institution with which they are affiliated, and must also have been issued a Library Card number by The TMC Library.  For non-cardholders, only non-returnable items (like copied articles and book excerpts) may be requested.

How do I place an ILL request?

All users should place their requests using our ILLiad Request System.

First, create an ILLiad account at ILLiad Request System.

  • Once you have an account, log in to ILLiad.
  • From the left-hand menu of your ILLiad Main Page, click on the type of item you’d like to request.
  • Fill out the request form with as much information as possible.
  • Click “Submit Request.”

Can I get my textbooks through Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

No. Interlibrary loan services were established to assist student and faculty with borrowing supplementary materials for research and is not intended for ordering textbooks. The TMC Library cannot order any edition of a book that is required in a course syllabus (textbook) through Interlibrary Loan.

The process of requesting, shipping, and receiving Interlibrary loan books can take 1-2 weeks because we often have to request books from out-of-state libraries.

Loan periods set by lending libraries for interlibrary loan books is generally three weeks.  Lending libraries do not allow students to keep a book for an entire course. Most libraries do not purchase textbooks for their collections. If a library does purchase a textbook, it is often placed on restricted course reserve for use by their students.

What is not available through ILL?

A.  We will make every reasonable effort to obtain any library materials requested via ILL. There are some things that are difficult to obtain or cannot be obtained through ILL, including textbooks, popular movies and music, bestsellers or recently released items, archival materials, and obsolete formats (film strips, VHS, LPs, etc.)

How long will it take?

Interlibrary Loans delivery times will vary. Most articles will be delivered within 3-5 days, with most arriving within 48 hours.  Most books & DVDs will arrive within 7-10 business days.

Document Delivery of items that are located within the TMC library can be delivered to you much more quickly, usually within 24 hours or so.

How will I receive my documents?

Several delivery options are available:

  • Pick-up: You can pick your items up at the Circulation Desk
  • Web Delivery: Your documents can be scanned and posted to a secure website for download or printing
  • Mail: We can send the items to you via the US Postal Service
  • Fax: We can fax documents to you (an additional fee may apply for long-distance faxes)

View the Fee Schedule for rates, payment options, and information on our limited free service for qualified users.

How can I check the status of a request?

A. First, Log in to ILLiad

  • From the “View” menu on the left-hand side of the ILLiad Main Page, click on “Outstanding Requests”
  • Click on the transaction number of your request to view detailed information about its status

How long can I keep requested materials?

A. All loan periods are set by the lending library. In general, we try to allow at least 4 weeks for books and at least 2 weeks for DVDs and other media items.

Please check the book strap on your item to determine its specific due date. Unless otherwise specified, loose articles are yours to keep and do not need to be returned.

How can I request a renewal?

A. Renewals are granted at the discretion of the lending library. Some materials cannot be renewed at all. Please check the bookstrap on your item to determine if renewals are allowed.  To request a renewal:

  • Log in to ILLiad
  • From the “View” menu on the left-hand side, click on “Checked Out Items (Renew).” A list of your currently checked-out ILL items will display.
  • Click on the transaction number of the item for which you’d like to request a renewal. Detailed information about this request will display.
  • Click on “Renew Request” at the top of the display.  A confirmation message will display.
  • If the lending library denies the renewal, you will receive an email notification; the original due date will still apply.

If your renewal is denied, please contact Interlibrary Loan by phone at (713) 799-7105 or by email at

What happens if I lose or damage an item?

Damaged items will be returned to the lending library for assessment. The cost of lost items or items damaged beyond repair will be determined by the lending library. Any fees the lending library charges will be passed on and will be the responsibility of the patron.

If the lending library is willing to accept a replacement copy of the lost or damaged item, the patron can purchase a replacement copy and bring it to The TMC Library Circulation Desk along with a $25 processing fee.

What is the penalty for an overdue item?

Although The TMC Library’s Interlibrary Loan Department does not charge traditional overdue fines, any fees, fines, or associated costs charged to us by the lending library will be passed on to the user.  The Library does reserves the right to charge patrons processing fees to cover staff time and other expenses related to overdue materials.

  • Each week, patrons with overdue materials will be sent an overdue notice via email.
  • 2 weeks overdue, the patron will be blocked from requesting or checking out any additional ILL materials.
  • 3 weeks overdue, all library privileges including remote access will be blocked.
  • 4 weeks overdue, the patron will be charged a non-refundable $25 processing fee for each additional week that the item is overdue.
  • If a book is 6 weeks overdue, the patron will be charged a non-refundable, full replacement cost.
  • Patrons who repeatedly keep materials past the due date will lose their ILL privileges.

An Important Note about Copyright:

Most publications you will obtain are copyright-restricted. The TMC Library abides by the provisions of U.S. Copyright Law. Your Interlibrary Loan Registration Form includes a copyright statement, as will any materials delivered to you. Please, read the terms carefully and observe the law.

Contact Us

Customer Service ContactAlisa Hemphill
Telephone Number713.799.7105
Fax Number713.799.7180
Hours of Operation8:00a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday
AddressHAM-TMC library PC/ILL Department
1133 John Freeman Blvd Houston, TX 77030