VCU Libraries

Research Guides

OLD How Do I Request Resources?

A step by step guide on how to request copies, chapters, books, media, and other materials housed in the VCU Libraries collections or from another library.

Other Methods of Borrowing Materials

RALC (Richmond Academic Library Consortium)

Through an agreement with VCU Libraries, local universities in the Metro Richmond area extend borrowing privileges to VCU faculty, staff and students.  VCU students and employees must go to the participating university’s library to borrow the item in person after first determining that the item is not available in the VCU Libraries collections and then locating the item at one of the RALC institutions. Please check the collections first to make sure you cannot obtain the materials at VCU Libraries. To search the catalogs of nearby and RALC libraries, go to

In order to take advantage of this service, VCU students:

  • Need to obtain a "RALC borrowing pass" from either the Cabell Library or the Tompkins-McCaw Library service desk.
  • Bring your staff or student ID with you, as we will need to check our records before a pass can be issued. If your borrowing privileges with VCU Libraries have been "blocked" (you have not registered for classes this semester, you have unpaid fines, etc.), you will not be issued a pass. In addition, passes are issued only if you need specific materials which you cannot obtain at VCU Libraries.

Faculty and staff:

  • Do not need a RALC borrowing pass prior to visiting the RALC member institution.
  • Need a VCU ID and proof of current mailing address.

Just as with materials borrowed from VCU Libraries, you are expected to return library materials borrowed at a RALC institution direct to that institution on time and in good condition. Your library privileges will be blocked for overdue, lost or damage fines accrued at any of the other institutions.

<Possibly delete since we have a link above to the list of RALC institutions?>

Participants in this program include:

  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
  • John Tyler Community College
  • Richard Bland Community College
  • Randolph-Macon College
  • Union Theological Seminary
  • University of Richmond
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia State University
  • Virginia Union University
  • Library of Virginia


VIVA Cooperative Borrowing Program

VCU faculty, staff and students are eligible to borrow from other libraries at Virginia institutions that participate in the VIVA (Virtual Library of Virginia) Cooperative Borrowing Program.  No pass is needed.   First, find participating libraries and their lending rules by going to  You may borrow materials on-site from any of the participating libraries. To determine whether the participating library owns the materials you need you may also go to


OCLC Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program (RFBP)

This program provides VCU faculty members on-site borrowing privileges and on-site access to collections at other research libraries in North America.  


  • All VCU faculty members. Faculty member must be in good standing with VCU Libraries (e.g., no blocks for lost or overdue materials).
  • Receive a pass from the Cabell Library or the Tompkins-McCaw Library service desk.

To see a list of libraries that participate in this service, go to


Local Public Libraries

Some local libraries and museums may allow VCU students, staff and faculty to apply for a local library card to borrow materials.  Contact the individual libraries for information about their access and eligibility policies.You are responsible for fines, fees and returning materials directly to the library from which it was borrowed.

  • Library of Virginia
  • Local public libraries
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts