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Inter-library loans

What can I request?

You can ask for a physical loan of a whole book. The lending library will send us the item in the post and you will need to collect it from us.

Due to copyright restrictions, we cannot request access to whole e-books. If a print copy of the e-book is available, we can request this for you, or let you know if there is an Open Access (free to read or download online) version of the e-book available.

Some books are supplied on the condition that they are not taken out of the library. We will email you with further instructions if the book you have requested cannot be borrowed.

You can request a single chapter or extract from a book if you do not need the whole book.

We will ask the lending library to make a scanned copy of the chapter or extract. If they can do this, we will usually make it available for you through a service called Article Exchange – or through the 'Requests' tab in your Library Account. Some chapters or extracts may be supplied through a service called British Library On Demand.

You can request a single journal article from an issue of a journal.

When the request is complete, you will usually access articles using a service called Article Exchange – or through the 'Requests' tab in your Library Account. Some articles will be supplied by a service called British Library On Demand.

Articles are very rarely supplied in print. If this is the case, we will let you know what you need to do to collect the item.

January 2024 update. The British Library was the target of a cyber-attack in October 2023, and, as a result, many of its online services, including eThOS, are currently not operational. If you require access to a thesis or dissertation, you can try requesting an inter-library loan through your Library Search account; however, many institutions will not supply theses in print, and you may need to visit the institution in person to consult the material. Please contact if you would like further advice or to speak to a Librarian about theses and dissertations.

If you need to access a thesis or disssertation from another university in the UK, the British Library’s EThOS - Electronic Theses Online Service is a good place to start. Please see the EThOS help page for more information.

If the thesis you are looking for is not available electronically, you can submit an inter-library loan request via the online form. However, not all institutions will be willing to supply theses in print.

It is not usually possible for us to supply copies or loans of theses submitted to institutions outside of the UK, unless these are available Open Access.

You can request other types of material (e.g. images, audio, films/documentaries or archive material) via the online form, but we cannot guarantee we will be able to supply these, especially if they are only available in digital format, are part of special collections, or are held in physical format by a Library outside of the UK.

If we are unable to find a suitable supplier, we will contact you to let you know as soon as possible.

Placing an inter-library loan request in Library Search

Inter-library loan requests are now managed through Library Search and you no longer have to fill in the online form and e-mail it to us. We hope that this new process is much more convenient efficient than it was previously.

You can place an inter-library loan request by following a few simple steps.

Before you start, check your account to make sure that you have no overdue loans and your account is free of charges. You will need to clear these before your request can be approved

  1. Look for the item in Library Search to see if we already hold a copy. You can find out more about Library Search in our online guide or contact us if you need help
  2. If there are no results showing for Birmingham Newman University Library, you will need to extend your results to Libraries Worldwide. To do this, select 'Library Location' from the dropdown menu on the left-hand side of the search results screen and click the Libraries Worldwide checkbox
  3. When you find the item you need, click on the title to take you to the item record
  4. If the item is available to request, you will see a Request Inter-library Loan button in the Access options box on the right-hand side of the screen.

  5. Click the button and this will open the relevant Request Form: Article, Book or Other. If you are not already logged into Library Search you will be asked to sign into your account first
  6. Complete the form according to the on-screen instructions. See the Guidance below for help completing the form
  7. Read the Copyright declaration and check the box to agree to the terms
  8. Click the 'Submit request' button to place your request.

You should receive an automated acknowledgement to confirm your request has been received and is being reviewed. Your inter-library loan requests will also appear in the Requests tab of your Library Account.

Requesting an item directly

If you already have the information to hand about the item you need, you can also request an inter-library loan directly from the Requests tab in your Library Account. However, you will have to complete all details manually, so we recommend going through Library Search whenever possible.

To create a request manually:

  1. Click on 'Create request' in the Requests tab of your Library Account
  2. Select the correct form for the item you need: 'Article' for journal articles; 'Book' for books and book chapters, or 'Other' if your item does not fit either of these types
  3. Fill out the form with as many details as you can. You must complete any fields marked with an asterisk (*); but the more information you give us at this stage, the quicker we are likely to be able to deal with your request. See the Guidance below for help completing the form
  4. Read the Copyright declaration and check the box to agree to the terms
  5. Click the 'Submit request' to place your request.

Guidance on completing the online form

General information

You can only have five active requests in the system at a time. Once you have reached this limit, you will be unable to submit further requests via the online form until at least one of your existing requests have been supplied (for copies) or returned (loans)

Your email address and contact information will be prefilled – you also have the option to leave a phone number.

Title information for your selected item should already be completed. You may want to check this before submitting the form.

Requesting journal articles or single chapters or extracts from longer works

You only need to complete the Extract details section if you are requesting a copy of an article or chapter/section contained within a longer work. For articles and some book chapters, this will be filled out automatically. However, in some cases, you will need to complete this section yourself.

If you know the page numbers of the article, chapter or extract, please provide them. You may find these details in the Library Search record for the item, or in the full reference for the resource.

Choosing the correct 'Request Type'

Choose 'Loan' where you will be borrowing a physical item (i.e. a book). Choose 'Copy' where you are requesting an article or chapter/extract.

Choosing a 'Required before' date

You will need to enter a Required before date before you will be able to submit your request. This should be the last date on which the item will be useful to you and not the date you would like the request to arrive.

From placing your request to it being ready for you to use or pick up from the Library, our standard waiting times are:

  • For copies (articles and chapters/extracts): 2-5 working days
  • For loans (physical items, i.e. books): 7-10 working days

'Working days' are Monday to Friday and excluding Bank Holidays and days that the Library is unstaffed. Exceptionally, requests may be delayed because of closures at the library we are requesting the item from.

Copyright declaration

You will not be able to submit the form without checking the 'Copyright Acknowledged' box to conform you have read, understood and agree to the terms of the copyright declaration. If you do not understand the declaration or would like an explanation of anything in it, please contact us before submitting the form.

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