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Can I submit a request electronically?

Yes , please click on the following link:

How long will I have to wait?

After checking, most requests are transmitted by email to holding libraries within the UK. Straightforward requests should arrive within a couple of weeks but may arrive within a few days; others may have to be sent to libraries overseas before a loanable copy is found. The length of time this takes will vary from a couple of weeks to several months. Please feel free to contact the Inter-Library Loan staff if you do not hear anything within a couple of weeks. They will be happy to inform you of the current status of your request.

What happens when my item arrives?

All material borrowed on Inter-Library Loan is for reference use in the Library only and will be available for consultation in the West Room.

If you have requested a single journal article it will probably arrive as a photocopy. In this case you may retain it. Photocopy articles from the British Library are normally sent directly to the address you have provided, whilst electronic copies will be sent to you email address if a Secure Electronic Delivery document has been requested.

Can I transfer my items to another Reading Room?

Generally, items received on Inter-Library Loan are strictly for use in the West Room only. However staff may consider, on an individual basis, transferring loaned items to the Manuscripts and Rare Books Reading Rooms if the items are required in collaboration with materials held there. For materials held in other reading rooms, it may be possible to transfer materials from other reading rooms to the West Room so they can be consulted in collaboration with an Inter-Library Loans item.

Can I transfer my items to another library within the University?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer items received on Inter-Library Loan to other libraries within the University. However, some Department and Faculty libraries offer similar interlending schemes so it may be worth enquiring separately if you need to consult Inter-Library Loan materials at these facilities.

What do I do if I want to cancel a request?

If you wish to cancel a request at any time please contact the Inter-Library Loan staff. If we can stop the item from being supplied then we should be able to refund your original payment. Some items can be cancelled straight away, but others require action at another library and could take a little time. In this case a refund notice will be sent to you.

Please note that once a request is sent overseas, it can be difficult to cancel. The Inter-Library Loan staff will be happy to advise.

Am I able to renew my loan?

The period of loan varies from library to library, but is generally three to four weeks. Please apply for renewals before the date due for return. You will be asked to pay a renewal fee of £5.00.

Can I make photocopies from loaned materials?

Self-Service copying of some items received on Inter-Library Loan may be permitted, but users are required to seek staff approval before proceeding. However, members of staff will be very happy to make the copies on your behalf, providing copying complies with Copyright Law and that there are no copying restrictions imposed by the lending library.

Prices for photocopies, as of 1st August 2009:

A4 paper: 10 pence a sheet
A3 paper: 20 pence a sheet

If you wish to have parts of a book, periodical article or a copy of a thesis photocopied you must comply with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988. Further information on the law of copyright can be provided at the West Room enquiry desk or in the Reading Room.

Can I take photographs from loaned materials?

Where libraries have not imposed copying restrictions, readers may use their own cameras to take still photographs. Permission should be obtained from staff at the enquiry desk, who will assess the condition of all items and their suitability for self-service photography. If you have not previously registered for self-service photography, you will be asked to read and sign two declaration forms. Please hand one form to the staff at the enquiry desk and keep the second form to produce for staff if you wish to take photographs on a future occasion.

Cameras and camera phones must be hand-held, and must be capable of being set to 'silent'. SLRs, tripods, 'mini-pods', hand-held scanners and flash photography are not permitted. Please see our full guidelines for further information.

If you wish to photograph parts of a book, periodical article or a copy of a thesis you must comply with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988. Further information on the law of copyright can be provided at the West Room enquiry desk or in the Reading Room.


Since all libraries must first of all cater for their own readers, it is understood that any library has the right to recall any of its books from another library. When a recall notice is received the book is immediately returned and the reader notified of the fact.