The University of Mississippi Libraries

The University of Mississippi Libraries
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Why we don’t provide textbooks…

Though we understand that textbook prices are especially high, the library is unable to borrow required class textbooks via Interlibrary Loan. Why?

  • Purchasing textbooks is part of usual college expenses, along with paying tuition and dorm/rental expenses and buying school supplies, a parking pass, and a meal plan.
  • Some textbooks, lab manuals, and course packs are created especially for and used only by The University of Mississippi, so they are not available anywhere else.
  • Few libraries purchase textbooks.
  • Even fewer libraries have the newest editions as soon as they are printed and required for use by professors for classes.
  • Of those libraries that do purchase textbooks, the textbook collection is usually reserved for their campus-use only and are not loaned to other libraries.
  • Loaned books usually take one-two weeks to arrive, so you would already be far behind in your class work and reading by the time they arrive.
  • You would only get to keep a textbook borrowed through ILL for about three weeks.
    • Loan due dates are set by the lending library, not University of Mississippi Libraries.
    • Renewals are not always allowed by the lending library for loaned books.
    • When a renewal is allowed, it usually is only allowed once for a brief extension of another one-two weeks.
  • Interlibrary Loans are subject to immediate recall by the lending library. So you might only have it for a week before the lending library requests it be returned.
    • Why? Because the book belongs to the lending library, not to the University of Mississippi Libraries or to you, so the lending library has the right to recall it for use by one of its own patrons.
    • ILL is like loaning someone your iPod or car — you are glad to let your friend listen to your music for awhile or run an errand in your car, but when you want it back for your own use or to loan to another friend, you should expect to get it back quickly.
  • Failure to return items when due can lead to
    • You being charged by the lending library the full cost of the book PLUS a processing fee.
    • Your access to Interlibrary Loan and all University of Mississippi Libraries privileges being suspended until the item is returned and/or any fees charged by the lending library are paid.
    • Your grades, class registration, transcripts, and graduation being blocked until the item is returned and/or any fees charged by the lending library are paid.
    • The University of Mississippi Libraries not being able to borrow from the lending library again for any UM patron.
  • Though interlibrary loans do not cost you anything, they often cost the library around $20 per request. The library simply does not have the funding to request hundreds of student textbooks, each of which will only be able to be kept for a few weeks.

So considering all of these reasons, not allowing required course textbook requests protects you from getting far behind in your class work and study while waiting for a textbook that might not be able to be borrowed, from losing your library and interlibrary loan rights and being responsible for replacement costs and fees should you neglect to return a book when it would be due or recalled, and from entering requests that the ILL staff must eventually cancel anyway.

But I can’t afford my textbooks!

If you cannot afford your textbooks from the campus bookstore, consider sharing textbooks with your classmates or comparative shopping from local booksellers, fellow students, and the many new and used online bookstores.

If you need financial aid help, grants, loans, job information, or other financial assistance, please visit:

Can I talk to someone about this?
If you have more questions or comments about this ILL policy, please contact Judy Greenwood, the Interlibrary Loan Librarian.

Policy adapted from, Joyner Library, East Carolina University

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