Alternatives to Inter Library Loans

If the inter-library loan service is unable to source your request or if you need to access something within a short timeframe, you may wish to try one of the following services:


British Library Reading Room (Boston Spa)

  • The British Library has a reading room at Boston Spa. Visitors can now request items to view from not only the Document Supply Centre's stock, including newspaper collections, but also from most of the stock held at the London St Pancras Reading Room. This allows visitors to obtain access to many legal deposit and reference items not available on inter-library loan. There is a limit to the number of items that can be requested for any one visit. There are also photocopiers available in the Reading Room.
  • Full details of the Reading Room service, including what items you will be able to view, is available at Please note that not all of the St Pancras Reading Room stock can be viewed at Boston Spa - currently around 85% of items are available to order.
  • Pre-registering for a Reader Pass before making a trip to Boston Spa is essential, as otherwise you will not be able to access any items on that day. Information on pre-registering is available at
  • Once you have preregistered you are able to order items you want to consult in advance of visiting the Reading Room. Pre-ordering is also essential, as it takes 48 hours for stock to become available. Information on pre-ordering is available at


SCONUL Access scheme

  • Staff and students of York St. John University can apply to become part of the SCONUL Access scheme, which allows them to become members of any other library in the scheme. Most other UK university libraries, including the University of York Library and Leeds University Library, are included in the scheme.
  • The scheme is aimed at postgraduates, part time students and distance learners, with undergraduates able to obtain reference only access to other institution's libraries.
  • For more information, please see our SCONUL information pages


Public Library

If you live in the York area then you are eligible to join the public library, York Explore (based in Library Square, Museum Street, in the city centre of York, only a ten-minute walk from York St John). They and the other libraries in the York area can provide another source for reading materials. They are likely to be a particularly good source of fiction books, which can be difficult to acquire on inter-library loan. Their website can be viewed at

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