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Inter-library loans

Application of these terms and conditions

These terms and conditions supplement our full policies and regulations for members of Birmingham Newman Library and should be read in conjunction with them. In circumstances where both sets of terms, conditions or regulations may be applicable, in the case of inter-library loans, these terms and conditions shall take precedence.

Please note the following important information:


There is no limit on the number of inter-library loan requests that Birmingham Newman staff and students can place in an academic year. However, the service is monitored and if it is felt that you are making an unusually high number of inter-library loan requests, we may contact you to discuss your research needs and to make sure you are making the most of locally-held content.

Use of the service is based on your account being in ‘good standing’. When you place a request, we will check that your account is free from fines and any overdue items have been returned. You will need to resolve any outstanding issues before your request can be processed.

You can have up to five active inter-library loan requests at a time. A request becomes active as soon as you complete the online form, or the request is entered manually into the system by a member of Library staff. Active requests will be visible to you in the Requests tab of My Account.

A request ceases to be active when:

  • a journal article, book chapter or book section is delivered to you electronically (digital copies) or made available for you to collect (print copies)
  • a physical item you have borrowed is returned to the lending library
  • a physical item made available for you to consult is returned to the lending library
  • your request is cancelled (see Changes and Cancellations)

If you already have five inter-library loan requests active on your account, you will not be able to place any further requests using the online form. If you believe you have been prevented from placing a new request in error, you should check the status of any current requests in My Account. If you need to query the status of a request, contact

You are limited to a maximum of 2 renewals for each inter-library loan.

The Inter-library loans service is not currently available to alumni, staff and students from other institutions registered under the SCONUL Access scheme or External members.


Our standard turnaround times are 2–5 working days for copies and 7–10 working days for loans. Requests will remain active in the system for a maximum of 42 days, although we may cancel a request before this if we have already established that there are no libraries willing to supply to item.

When you place your request, you will be asked to provide a Required before date. This should be the last date the loan will be useful to you. If you need the item more quickly than the timescales quoted above, entering an earlier date does not guarantee that your request will be supplied sooner.

If it becomes apparent that we cannot supply the item before your Required by date, we will contact you to see if you still require it.

Changes and Cancellations

It is not usually possible to change or cancel a request once it has been submitted. However, if you are able to contact us before a firm order has been placed with the lending library, we may be able to alter or withdraw the request on your behalf.

You should send your cancellation request to

If we need to cancel a request, we will let you know as soon as possible. This may be because:

  • you are not eligible for the inter-library loans service, i.e. you are not a student or member of staff at Birmingham Newman University
  • we are unable to find a library that is willing to lend the item
  • we are unable to request the item due to licensing or copyright restrictions
  • the cost of borrowing the item is prohibitive

In some cases, we may need to ask you to take action before we can proceed. This might include:

  • providing additional information about your item
  • confirming whether a different version of the item is acceptable (e.g. a print book instead of an e-book)
  • confirming whether a different edition of the item is acceptable
  • returning overdue items or paying outstanding fines
  • If this is the case, we will contact you via your institutional email clearly outlining the action required. If we do not hear from you within seven days of the date the email was sent, your request will be cancelled.
  • If you still require the item, you will need to submit a new request.
  • Penalties and charges

    Overdue fines for inter-library loans are £3.00 per day and there is a maximum fine limit for each overdue inter-library loan of £50.00.

    These are higher than standard library fines. This is because of the increased risk to the library if items are not returned. If we fail to return an inter-library loan on time, the lending library may charge us overdue fees and / or choose not to lend materials to us in future.

    We will contact you before your item is due to remind you to return it. We will also let you know as soon as your item becomes overdue. If your inter-library loan is recalled by the lending library and you need to return it earlier than expected, we will let you know by email. Overdue fines will apply from the new due date.

    If you do not return an inter-library loan within seven days of it becoming overdue, we will contact the lending library to inform them and to ask them how much they will charge to replace the item if it cannot be returned.

    If you do not return your inter-library loan within 14 days of the due date, we will send you a bill for the full amount the lending library has quoted to replace it, plus a £5.00 admin fee. Replacement charges can vary depending on the local policy of the lending library and may be expensive – for example, the British Library’s standard item charge is over £190.00.

    If you fail to return the items or pay the replacement fees, we may take further action to recover these costs. If you are unable to return an item, you should contact the Library as soon as possible.

    We do not usually accept renewal requests once an inter-library loan is overdue. We cannot renew an inter-library loan after it has been billed. If you repeatedly return inter-library loans late, you put your use of this service at risk.

    There is usually no charge for you to use this service, as the cost is covered from library funds. This does mean, however, that we place an upper limit on the amount we are able to pay for an item, usually the standard British library rates. If we are unable to source an item for you within these limits, we may be able to extend our search if you are willing to pay the additional costs. We will contact you to confirm this before going ahead.

    Lost, stolen and damaged items

    You are responsible for damage to, or loss of, any items you access through the inter-library loan service.

    Replacement charges can vary depending on the local policy of the lending library and may be expensive – for example, the British Library’s standard item charge is over £190.00.

    If an item is not returned in the condition it was borrowed, we will charge you the full cost of replacement quoted by the lending library, plus a £5.00 processing fee.

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