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Update to Pilot: The Universal Borrowing Pilot is complete and will be replaced by the Cooperative Borrowing Program, an ongoing, voluntary program within VIVA. A call will go out soon for participating institutions.

Update to Pilot Policy: The VIVA Steering Committee has approved up to $5,000 for a Lost Copy Fund for the Universal Borrowing pilot. This means that VIVA will be able to cover lost books (up to the amount allocated) if a patron loses a book from a participating lending institution and:


Borrow circulating materials from other VIVA members.

In keeping with VIVA’s mission to “provide, in an equitable, cooperative and cost-effective manner, enhanced access to library and information resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia's nonprofit academic libraries serving the higher education community,” the Resource Sharing Committee has planned a pilot project for universal borrowing within VIVA.

Universal borrowing, as defined here, would allow patrons at any VIVA institution to borrow print books held at libraries that participate in the pilot project. It is believed that this project will benefit patrons who live near or visit other institutions, and it might have the most positive impact on distance education students.

Marketing Materials

A sign used to promote the pilot can be found here.


Patron Eligibility

Students, faculty, and staff at VIVA institutions may request to borrow materials from any participating library.

The lending library can withhold borrowing privileges from any patrons who do not comply with institutional policies and procedures.

Borrowers must present a valid form of photo identification, such as an institutional ID, as well as proof of current status in order to borrow materials. This proof of current status, such as a student showing his or her course schedule or a faculty/staff member showing an entry in a faculty/staff directory, can be facilitated by participating libraries using the Universal Borrowing Current Status web page.

The borrower’s home library agrees to provide verification of enrollment or employment, if needed, and to work with the lending library to resolve issues as they arise.

Loan Periods

Loan periods and limitations on the number of items that can be borrowed at one time will be determined by the lending library

Renewals are at the discretion of the lending library

The lending library can set different loan periods for different item types, and it determines which item types can be borrowed through this program.


The borrower is responsible for returning items to the lending library.

We recognize that some items will be turned in at the home library. It is recommended that the home library ship the book to the lending library in an expedited way according to the ILL guidelines.

The item is not considered “returned” until it is checked in at the lending library. The borrower will be responsible for any fines that accrue even if the item was returned to the home library before the due date.

Fines and Fees

The borrower is responsible for any fines that accrue on materials held past their due dates.

The borrower is responsible for paying for materials that are lost or damaged.

The lending library can work with the home library to recover payment for lost or damaged materials and overdue fines from their patrons. The home library agrees to pay for lost, damaged, or non-returned materials if payment cannot be obtained from the borrower unless the library specifically opts out of the universal borrowing program as a borrower.


Each library is encouraged to keep statistical data on universal borrowing. At a minimum, each participating library should be able to report the following:

-The number of VIVA borrowers, if possible by home institution and type (faculty and student).
- The number of books lent to VIVA borrowers, if possible by home institution and type (faculty and student).
- The number of books shipped from the home library to the lending library.
- Amounts paid by patrons in overdue fines.
- Amounts paid by patrons or libraries for lost, damaged, or non-returned materials.
- The VIVA central office will organize and share this data as the pilot develops.


Universal Borrowing Pilot Program

The following is a list of participating VIVA Member institutions with links to their student and faculty directories so that current status can be verfied. Institutions participating as lenders may lend to borrowers from non-participating institutions at their discretion.

To find materials at the participating institutions, please go to that institution's website via the member libraries page. This is a separate program from interlibrary loan, since it enables direct, on-site borrowing.

The list of Universal Borrowing contacts for the member libraries can be found here.




VIVA is funded by the Virginia General Assembly and the VIVA member institutions, and is sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV).