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Inter Library Loan requests for print items and Covid-secure measures:

British Library update: We will be unable to access our physical collection held at the British Library site in London until lock down restrictions ease, currently early December.  Requests for items held in London will be asked to reapply in 4 weeks.

When items are available they may take longer than usual to arrive due to Covid-secure processes at the British Library, other lending institutions and at our Library, including the requirement that we quarantine received items for 72 hours before we can contact you about collection.

Although our team will endeavour to complete your request due to Covid an increasing number of institutions are unable to loan physical copies of books and in such cases your request will have to be cancelled. 

We offer a request service called Inter Library Loans for items not held in our own print or electronic collections. It is mainly for staff and postgraduate students and for undergraduate students working on a major project or dissertation at Level 6 (Level H). 

Requests may take between 1 and 6 weeks to arrive depending on time of year and whether there is a waiting list. Materials that are more difficult to locate may take longer than 6 weeks.

Requests for inter library loans will not be processed if you have any library books overdue or fines outstanding.

If you need any further guidance, please contact a member of the Inter Library Loans team. 

BU Level 6 (Level H) and Level 7 (Master's) student requests

Forms are available at the Help Zone or download and print the Word document.
Please note that each supplied item costs the university a minimum of £15.80 (plus £5.25 per renewal).

  • Students may hand in six requests at any one time
  • Each form must be countersigned by your dissertation supervisor
  • Article and book chapter requests must have the copyright signed.

Placing requests if you are a distance learner or away on placement  - we will accept scanned completed request forms providing you e-mail them first to your dissertation supervisor for authorisation. Please ask them to forward the form to with a short note of agreement.

For collection - books must be collected from the library at either Talbot or Lansdowne campus. Articles can be posted, please indicate this on the form and include the delivery address.

BU Staff and PG Researchers requests

BU ILL Request forms are available for submission electronically for all staff and PG Researchers.

Please note that each supplied item costs the University a minimum of £15.80 (plus £5.25 per renewal).

  • Large numbers of inter library loan requests may need further approval from your Faculty Library Team. This will be managed on a case by case basis.
  • Requests can only be submitted by the person who is to receive them as per copyright declaration
  • You may be able to receive some articles and book chapters from the British Library as PDFs using the NEW delivery system which will enable you to view anywhere, on any machine, including mobile devices.  Just complete the one off registration process and then place orders using the BU ILL request form above.

How do I know when an inter library loan is ready for me to collect?

You will receive an email alerting you to items awaiting collection or to any queries relating to your requests.

All emails are sent to your BU email address. If research students prefer to use their staff email address they can set up automatic redirection. Instructions on how to do this are available on the IT Knowledge Base. Once you have logged into the Knowledge Base please enter in the search box Student: Forward email to retrieve the required information.

In case of email failure, you should also check the progress of your inter library loans by going to My Account on the Library Catalogue.

To enquire about any of your inter library loan requests, please contact Inter Library Loans staff on 01202 965036

How long can I keep my inter library loan?

Books on loan from The British Library have a five-week loan period, books on loan from other locations may vary. You may apply for renewal if the item is not required by anyone else. Photocopies of journal articles or conference papers may be kept indefinitely.

Fines may be payable for any inter library loans returned after the due date.  Before returning any item to the library, make sure that you keep a record of the author, title, publisher and date of publication for your bibliography.

Overdue, lost or damaged books

In line with The British Library’s policy, individuals who lose, damage or fail to return the loaned book will be held responsible for the cost of replacement.

We will write to you asking you the reason you have not returned it. If we receive no reply within 21 days and the item is still not returned, your account will be charged. If the item was expensive, the full price of replacement will be charged rather than a standard price.

If you have paid the Lost Items charge but return the item within six weeks, we will make a refund of the full amount minus the administration element. Once an invoice is raised, it will only be cancelled in exceptional circumstances.

Many loaned items are irreplaceable; we therefore want all Lost Items returned if they are found. The Lost Items charge is a penalty for the inconvenience and loss of revenue resulting from losing an item of stock; you are not buying the Lost Item. BL reserve the right to remove any customers loan facility if they feel that the integrity of their collection is endangered.

Requests by other users

  • Initial payments must be made at the time of request
  • The fee may be higher for particular types of material; we will contact you with the exact price before ordering. The difference will be payable on collection.

First and second year BU students (level 4 & 5) may submit requests on initial payment £12.75 per article/ book chapter and £16.60 for book loans from The British Library.

External and subscription members may submit requests on initial payment of £20 per item from The British Library, if we are unable to supply the item a £5 administration fee will be retained.

Further to the option above it is possible for anyone to create a British Library account to order documents (chapters and articles) directly at a lower cost from British Library On Demand