Harvard University Library


nAbout HUL



: Archive


nMaking a Gift


nStaff Resources


<< Return to News

Borrow Direct: An FAQ for Harvard Library Staff

1. What is Borrow Direct (BD)?

Borrow Direct is a rapid book request and delivery system. It enables current Harvard faculty, staff, and students to search the combined library catalogs of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale—a combined collection of over 50 million volumes—and to directly request expedited delivery of circulating items.

2. How is Borrow Direct different from Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary loan requires library staff mediation to submit a request. With the Borrow Direct service, patrons will be able to place requests online without library staff mediation. Materials received from another Borrow Direct library will be checked out to the patron's Harvard Library account.

3. When will Borrow Direct be available to Harvard users?

Harvard's target implementation is June 2011.

4. Which Harvard libraries will lend through Borrow Direct?

The initial launch of Borrow Direct at Harvard will be limited to a few lending libraries, as we test service models and determine the best-practice approach prior to expanding lending from other libraries. The initial libraries have not yet been determined; however, regardless of whether a library is participating as a loaning library, their patrons will be eligible to request items via Borrow Direct.

5. How does Borrow Direct work?

Upon implementation, members of the Harvard community will use their current IDs, PINs, and established library privileges to place Borrow Direct requests online through the BD catalog interface.

6. What can be requested through Borrow Direct?

  • books and printed music not owned by Harvard libraries
  • books and printed music that are currently unavailable at Harvard; e.g., charged out, lost, missing, at the bindery, etc.
  • books and printed music that normally circulate from the BD partner collections

7. What cannot be requested through Borrow Direct?

  • books and printed music currently available for loan at Harvard
  • journals, magazines, newspapers, and other serials
  • photocopies of articles or other material
  • reference books, microfilm, and other non-circulating materials
  • audiovisual materials (DVDs, videos, CDs)
  • special collections and/or rare materials

8. How will materials be delivered?

Most materials will be delivered to a Harvard library within four business days. Individual borrowers will receive an e-mail notice when a requested item is available for pickup.

9. Which libraries will serve as Borrow Direct pickup locations?

Options for pickup locations are currently being reviewed and are not yet defined.

10. Is there a fee for requesting items through Borrow Direct?

This service is free of charge to library patrons.

11. How long can I keep the material I borrow through Borrow Direct?

Six weeks, subject to recall by the owning library. A one-time renewal for an additional six weeks is generally available.

12. How are Borrow Direct materials returned?

Patrons return their Borrow Direct materials to the Harvard Library, which returns the materials to the Borrow Direct partner institution. Drop-off locations are yet to be defined.

13. How can I learn more about this service?

This FAQ will be updated as planning for implementation continues and will soon be posted to a Borrow Direct iSite. The iSite will provide additional information as well as options for submitting feedback or questions. You may also contact members of the project board.

February 28, 2011


Return to the top.