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Inter-Library Loan service

The Inter-Library Loan service supports the learning, teaching, research and other work of Loughborough University. We provide members of Loughborough University with access to information resources which are not available from the print collections or electronic subscriptions of Loughborough University Library. We do this either by borrowing these resources or by getting photocopies or PDFs of them from other libraries around Britain and sometimes overseas. If there is a book, journal article, conference paper or other information resource that you need for Loughborough University-related work, and the University Library does not have it, you can request it from the Inter-Library Loan service and we will set about getting it for you.

What can I request using the Inter-Library Loan service?

You can request items which are not available in print or electronically from Loughborough University Library.  You can find out what print resources and e-resources are available from the University Library using Library Catalogue Plus.

If the item that you want is not available from Loughborough University Library, the Inter-Library Loan service can attempt to obtain it from another library for you.

The Inter-Library Loan service obtains books, journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, theses and other documents from other libraries.

How do I make requests?

Using our online request form.  Log in to it with your Loughborough University username and password.

Please use the online request form to request one item at a time.  This is important for reasons relating to the law of copyright.

There is a hyperlink to the online request form at the bottom of this page.

Can I only borrow things using the Inter-Library Loan service, or can I request copies too?

The name ‘Inter-Library Loan service’ is a bit of a misnomer: as well as loans we can also arrange for other libraries to make copies of items for you to keep.

If you request a book, a whole journal-volume, a volume of conference proceedings or similar, then we will borrow it for you from another library.  You will then be able to borrow it yourself.

On the other hand, if you request a single journal article, conference paper or book chapter, we will ask another library to make a copy of it for you.  You will then be able to keep this copy.

Can I request electronic copies?

Yes.  We use the British Library On Demand service to supply PDFs of journal articles, book chapters, conference papers etc.  Provided that BL On Demand can supply us with a PDF of a document, we can supply it to you.  If for any reason we cannot get a PDF for you, we will try to get a photocopy for you instead.

Full instructions on how to request and download PDFs are available at the bottom of this page.

Can I request theses and dissertations?

Yes. We often arrange for copies of theses and dissertations to be supplied by the British Library's EThOS service. In order to use EThOS you must first register yourself using your Loughborough University email address. More information about this is here:

Theses and dissertations are often available free-of-charge on the internet:

How many requests can I make, and do I have to pay?

Members of Loughborough University have an annual allowance of pre-paid Inter-Library Loan/document supply orders, as follows:

Type of readerNumber of ILL requests/year
Undergraduate 5
Taught postrgraduate 10
Postgraduate researcher 40
Member of University staff 40
Honorary member of University 5

Provided that your request falls within your allowance and that it is for for Loughborough University-related learning, teaching, research or other work, you will not have to pay.

If you exceed your allowance, or if you wish to request something that is not for Loughborough University-related learning, teaching, research or other work, then you must pay.

As of 1 August 2023 the British Library, our main supplier, charges £18.85 to lend us an item and up to £13.20 to supply a copy of an item. Other suppliers make other charges.

If you think that you have exceeded your allowance or if you wish to pay for an Inter-Library Loan/document supply order, please contact us.

What proportion of a work can be copied for me?

The law of copyright restricts how much of a work can be copied for the purpose of inter-library document supply.  For instance we cannot get a photocopy of an entire book for you.  Details as follows:

Type of workProportion to be copied
Book up to one chapter
Journal up to one article from any issue
Confererence proceedings up to one paper from any conference

If you wish to consult, say, more than one article in a particular journal-issue, it may be possible for us to borrow that journal-issue for you.  The same applies to books and conference proceedings.

How do I receive what I have requested?

If you request, say, a book, this will be lent to the University Library and you will have come to the Library building to collect it in person and sign for it before you can borrow it yourself.  We will email you to let you know when it is available.

Sometimes the owners of books stipulate that their books may not be borrowed and may only be consulted in the Library building.  The Inter-Library Loan service has no control over this.

If you request a photocopy of, say, a journal article, we can post it to you at an address of your choosing.  If you would like us to do this, please enter your address in the appropriate box on the Inter-Library Loan online request form.  Otherwise we will hold it for you at the University Library and email you to let you know when it is available.

Please note that we do not normally post items to students living on campus.

If you request a PDF we will supply it via your Loughborough University email address.

How long will it take for what I have requested to arrive?

This depends on what you have requested and on which library supplies it.  We make no guarantee as to how long a particular item will take to arrive.  A PDF can take as little as one working day to arrive; photocopies and loanable items often arrive within five working days.  We will inform you if an item is likely to take longer than usual to arrive.

How long can I borrow Inter-Library Loan books for, and can loans be extended?

This varies from book to book and depends entirely on the libraries that lend their books to us.  Loan periods are often from three to six weeks; libraries are often willing to renew or to extend our loans of their books.  If you would like to extend a loan, please contact us.

Since these books do not belong to Loughborough University it is very important to return them on time.  The Inter-Library Loan system depends on co-operation and goodwill between libraries, and this means returning books to their owners promptly.

Can I check the progress of my request?

Yes. You can do this in person at the Main Service Desk on Level 3 of the University Library, by telephone (+44 (0)1509 222362) or by e-mail (

What happens if I do not return an Inter-Library Loan book?

If for any reason you are unable to return a book or other borrowed item to us, please let us know as soon as possible.

As of early 2021 our main supplier charges over £200 to replace an item that is not returned. Other suppliers charge other fees. Ordinarily we pass on the cost of an non-returned item to the person who borrowed it.

How will the Inter-Library Loan service process my data?

Please note that the University Library is legally obliged to retain the details of each document supply order that it makes for six years in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) and related legislation. Personal data of customers collected by means of the Inter-Library Loan online request form will only be used by the University Library for purposes connected with the provision of an Inter-Library Loan and document supply service and will not be retained for more than six years.

Please note also that it is sometimes necessary for the University Library to provide personal data (but not sensitive personal data) of customers to third party suppliers in order to provide an Inter-Library Loan and document supply service to those customers.

If you have any queries about this please contact us:

How to download a PDF supplied by British Library On Demand

A short video that shows you how to receive, download and access PDFs of documents that have been supplied by British Library On Demand. 1:52.

Can somebody else make a request on my behalf?

Unfortunately this is not possible. The law of copyright means that you may only request items that you will use yourself. The owners of copyright in books and other documents—which sometimes include their authors—are protected in this way against undue loss of royalties. Detailed terms and conditions are in the online request form.

What services are available at Loughborough University London campus?

At present it is impossible for us to offer a full service to readers based at Loughborough University London campus. We can supply copies of journal articles, book chapters etc. to you; it may also be possible for us to supply you with short-term access to e-books where these are available. Unfortunately, however, if you are based at the London campus it is impossible for us to supply you with books and other original documents in hard copy that have been borrowed from other libraries. We are sorry for the inconvenience that this may cause.

There are many other libraries in London and it may be possible for you to consult books or other items using these libraries. For more information see: