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Research Guides

FAQ: What is Summit?

Short, simple how-to and demos of frequently asked questions about using the Libraries and information resources


Summit is a network of academic libraries in the Pacific Northwest who have partnered together to provide free, rapid borrowing to students, staff, and faculty at member institutions. You can search and request books or other materials that do not belong to UW, but are available elsewhere within this community of libraries. This is especially helpful if a book or resource is unavailable at UW or if UW does not own an item.

Summit items typically take 3-5 business days to arrive. The checkout period is set by the lending library. These items can be checked out for either six days or six weeks, but are not renewable.

Using Summit

UW Libraries Search automatically searches Summit for the item you are looking for. If you see an item in UW Libraries Search that says Check Request Options - held by Summit libraries, it means that you may be able to borrow it through Summit.

  1. Make sure you are logged in to UW Libraries Search
  2. Click on the item you are interested in accessing
    UW Library catalog listing for 'Panda' by Mary Hoffman
  3. You should see the option to Request via Summit
  4. You can use the Show Libraries option to see a list of Summit libraries where the item is available.You cannot select a specific library to borrow from.
    The UW Library catalog page for 'Panda' by Mary Hoffman, with the option to request via summit emphasized
  5. Specify if you need a certain volume or part
  6. Select the pickup/delivery location from the dropdown menu. 
  7. Submit the Request.
     'Get It' section in UW catalog listing for 'Panda' by Mary Hoffman

You can also request a book through Summit using the Interlibrary Loan website

How is Summit Different from Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

Summit Borrowing draws from a more limited number of institutions but is faster than ILL when resources are available. However, certain formats cannot be borrowed through Summit, like e-books, microforms and photocopies of articles.

You can also go to member institutions and check out books as though you were a local user! Patrons visiting from non-UW institutions can find out about our Visiting Patron Privileges. UW users should check with the non-UW institution that you are visiting.