Information Services

Delivery of Interlibrary Loans

Details of how to obtain your Interlibrary Loan items, loan periods, renewals and recalls, and what to do if an item is lost.

Delivery of Interlibrary Loans

Journal articles are usually supplied as an electronic copy sent directly to your email address. In some instances, a "physical non-returnable" copy (i.e. a physical photocopy) will be supplied. Most libraries do not lend journal parts or volumes.

Loaned items (e.g. physical books) will be delivered to the Library site you chose when placing your requests using the Interlibrary Loan Request Form on DiscoverEd. Usually, you can borrow the items for use outside the Library. In some cases, the lending library has stipulated that the material must be consulted within the Library, in a secure area. This applies particularly if the material is rare or vulnerable. For users of the Main Library, all "library use only" material is held within the Centre for Research Collections on the 6th floor of the library, and must be consulted there.

Electronic Document Delivery

Many journal articles are delivered to the library in an electronic format, thereby making the delivery process quicker. If an electronic copy has been supplied, you will be sent a unique URL and password for each document where you will be able to view it for 30 days.  After this accessible period has expired, documents are automatically removed from the server. Please note that ILL staff are unable to recover the article for you after the 30 day limit.

Loan period

Loan periods are at the discretion of the lending library, but are generally 4-6 weeks. There may also be an opportunity to request an extension of the loan period.

Printed photocopies and scans provided via ILL are yours to keep.


If you would like to keep your ILL for longer than the initial loan period, please contact the Interlibrary Loans team at or contact your own site library. 

You may request up to 2 renewals per item. However they are at the discretion of the lending library, so there is no guarantee that they will be permitted. Most lenders do not charge for renewals. However, any additional charges will be passed on to the borrower.

Please note, each renewal for which the Library has been charged will count as a single request from the quota of free ILLs.


If you receive a recall, i.e. if you are asked to return an ILL item, please return it immediately to the Help Desk at the Library site from which you collected it.

Lost Items

The Library is charged for ILLs lost by our readers. We pass on that charge, plus any administration costs, to the reader.

For example, the British Library imposes a minimum charge of £214.30 +VAT for lost items. Other lending libraries may have a similar charging structure.