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Inter-Library Loans

If there's a particular item you want but can't find in the Library Catalogue, you can request it using our inter-library loan service.

Due to the ongoing global outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus and related restrictions to our services and other institutions, Inter-Library Loans is currently providing a limited service.

Currently all Inter-Library Loan (ILL) requests will be satisfied electronically where possible. We will no longer be ordering print ILL items. You will be advised if your request is not available in electronic format.

All renewals of existing ILL books will be completely free of charge to all users. Renewals will be arranged for as long as possible.

ILL staff will be responding to emails as usual (, but will not be available by phone. There is likely to be a delay in the processing of requests and decreased availability of resources due to restrictions at other institutions.

Placing a request

Please allow at least two weeks for books to become available through ILL, as other libraries' supply times can vary.

You can make requests for any books, articles or other resources that we don't already hold in our collection, either directly via our form or whilst searching the Library Catalogue. Use of the inter-library loans service is free of charge and unlimited for most categories of students and staff members – however, please note that external borrowers and students on a short course (lasting three months or less) are ineligible for the inter-library loans service.

PhD theses may also be requested on inter-library loan. Whilst theses listed on EThOS are not currently available in the regular format, we're often able to request for digitisation on behalf of students.

Collecting requests

Physical items, such as books, will be made available for collection from the Service Desk on the Ground Floor of Fountains. Some books can be provided on loan in an ebook format, though this is dependent on availability and licensing restrictions.

Book chapters and journal articles can be sent directly to you, either electronically or by post - find out more about this service on our page on Electronic Delivery of ILLs.

Accessible PDFs of inter-library loan articles, chapters and books are available to all students registered for Accessibility Support – just select the delivery method 'Accessible PDF (suitable for screen readers)' when filling out your form, or add a note to your request detailing your requirements.

Contact us

If you have any queries about your inter-library loans, please call us on 01904 876 696, or email us at

Further questions about inter-library loans (ILLs)

We'll send an email to your University email account to let you know that your ILL is ready to collect.

  • If your account is blocked due to fines or charges of over £10, you won’t be able to take any more books out until your account has less than £10 outstanding – this restriction includes placing ILL requests.
  • External borrowers and students on a short course (lasting three months or less) are ineligible for the inter-library loans service.
  • Although ILLs are unlimited over the duration of a course, there is a limit of up to 20 active requests at any one time – if you currently hold 20 active requests, you'll need to wait for one to clear before placing another request.

If the inter-library loans form is otherwise inaccessible, we've made a backup form to help you continue with your request. Please fill this out, then contact our ILL team to let us know of the problems you’ve been having: call us on 01904 876149 or email

You can request renewal of your ILL by contacting the ILL team (call 01904 876149 or email

Renewal of British Library books carries a £5 charge, while renewal of books from other libraries is free. This charge is imposed by the British Library. Unfortunately, with the exception of students registered for Accessibility Support, the University is unable to cover the extra cost as ILL books already cost around £15 per item to supply. Overdue British Library books are renewed automatically, so make sure they are returned promptly to avoid any unwanted charges being levied against you.

Unfortunately, renewal of ILLs can never be guaranteed. Sometimes other libraries specify that renewal isn’t possible – if this is the case, this will be written on the blue slip in your ILL and you will be notified via email.

It's fine to order the same inter-library loan more than once. However, if you order a book again within 4 weeks of returning it, you'll still need to pay the £5 renewal charge to go towards the cost of re-ordering (see above for information on renewal).

The library we're borrowing from will have imposed this condition, usually because the item you're borrowing is rare, expensive or delicate, and they want to ensure it is kept safe.

Contact our ILL team by calling 01904 876149 or by emailing and they can help you to open your document, or print it for you if you would prefer this. There is also guidance available on our Electronic Delivery of ILLs page.


We'll notify you via your University email account. We're able to source the vast majority of requests, but sometimes very obscure or very newly published items will be unavailable.

If something is not available on ILL, you may still be able to visit another library and access it via SCONUL Access - find out more through our page on using other libraries.


You can return your ILLs at the Service Desk any time during staffed opening hours. ILLs can’t be returned via the book sorter.

Make sure ILLs are returned on time, as overdue ILLs from the British Library will be renewed automatically at a charge of £5 (see information on renewal above). If ILLs are not brought back, you are liable to pay replacement costs (currently a minimum of £100 for British Library books).


ILLs are borrowed for you from another library, so please treat them carefully and do not write in or damage the books in any way. You may be liable to pay replacement costs (currently a minimum of £100 for British Library books) in the event of any damage.

If your ILL request involves making a copy of an item (such as a book chapter or a journal article), you will need to agree to the copyright declaration form. This is in accordance with UK copyright law and the University's rules and regulations that govern the use of library and IT resources.

For further information, please see our pages on copyright.


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