Borrow Direct is an interlibrary borrowing service allowing Morningside Heights campus students to borrow books from Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Penn, Princeton, and Yale. In 2013, UChicago joined the service.
Much faster than Interlibrary Loan (ILL), Borrow Direct is a great way to obtain books that are checked out, on reserve, or otherwise unavailable within the Columbia University library system.
Borrow Direct books have a loan period of six weeks, with one six week renewal. Anecdotally, lending institutions rarely charge overdue fines despite the fact that patrons are warned that such fines may be charged and strongly advised to return items promptly in service of of "good relationships with our partner libraries."
If available, requested materials will be ready for pickup within four or five business days of the original request. Anecdotally, the average is two. In one user's totally subjective personal experience, Yale and Princeton libraries are fastest (sometimes delivering books within one day).
According to one professor of English and Comparative Literature, every book delivered via Borrow Direct costs $10 in transportation, processing, upkeep, etc.