Looking for books not available at MLibrary? Try UBorrow.

UBorrow is another service of interlibrary loan (ILL) for the borrowing of physical items that allows you to:

  • Search or browse a database of 14 combined library catalogs
  • Discover whether or not a book is available at MLibrary or within the participating institutions
  • Place a request that goes directly to another institution without pausing in the local interlibrary loan office
  • Expect a faster and more reliable turnaround time (usually within 5 business days)
  • Receive longer loan period for physical book loans for 12 weeks (DVDs and other special materials will still have relatively brief loan periods)

Other than those distinctions, there’s no real difference to you between a regular ILL book and a UBorrow book.  You may have used a similar system at your public library—MeLCat is a consortium of 400 Michigan libraries allowing direct patron interaction.  UBorrow, on the other hand, provides books from the research collections consortium of the Big Ten libraries.

Participating Institutions

Center for Research Libraries Purdue University    University of Michigan
Indiana University Penn State University University of Minnesota
Michigan State University University of Chicago University of Nebraska
Northwestern University University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign University of Wisconsin
Ohio State University University of Iowa  

How do I decide whether to use regular ILL or UBorrow?

UBorrow is only available for books and other items that can be physically loaned (not scans/article/chapters that you would download).  If you are going to need a book for 12 weeks, start with UBorrow; ILL traditionally has shorter loan periods, particularly for popular items.  But if you can’t find the book in the UBorrow database, then ILL should be your next stop.  See this chart to help you choose.

Page maintained by Ralph Johnson
Last modified: 09/12/2013