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Inter-library loans - students: Terms and conditions

About student inter-library loans for books or journal articles not owned by the Library


Each academic year you can make a number of free requests, depending on your course:

Inter-library loan - free annual entitlements

Course Type

Number of free ILLs

Undergraduates or PGCE


Taught Masters (MA, MSc, MEd)


Doctoral (PhD, EdD) and Research Masters (MPhil, MRes)


You can request more inter-library loans but these will be charged at full cost. We let you know the cost before we place the inter-library loan order.

You can have up to 5 active inter-library loan requests from when we place the order until either:

  • journal articles or chapters are received or

  • an inter-library loan book is returned or

  • a request is cancelled

If you give us more than 5 inter-library loan requests at one time, we prioritise journal articles as these are usually available more quickly. If you would like us to prioritise other items, let us know on your request.

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

Cancelling requests

We can cancel your request if you let us know before we place it with the British Library, but not after the order has been placed. We normally place requests within 2 working days, so let us know as soon as you can if you want to cancel.

Lost, damaged and stolen items

You are responsible for damage to or loss of, your inter-library loan items.

We will charge you the cost of replacing the item plus any overdue charges.

Replacement costs can be high – the British Library’s standard item charge is over £190.00 – but this cost varies according to the policy of the supplying library.

Fines and additional charges

Overdue fines for inter-library loans are £2.50 per day.

There is a maximum fine limit for each overdue inter-library loan of £50.00.

Fines are higher than standard library fines, because if we are late returning books to the library who lent them to us, they may not lend to us in future.

If you keep an inter-library loan overdue for 28 days we will need to replace the item for the lending library, and we will charge you the cost of replacing the item plus any overdue charges. Replacement costs can be high – the British Library’s standard item charge is over £190.00.

If you repeatedly return inter-library loans late, you put your use of this service at risk.

Your inter-library loan can be recalled by the lending library at any time. If this happens we change the due date and let you know by email. You will need to return it earlier than expected. Overdue fines apply from the new due date.

We pay for each inter-library loan we borrow on your behalf, from library funds. Sometimes charges are higher than the standard rate; if so we will ask you to pay the additional costs.

For the most up to date COVID-19 related changes, check our COVID-19 webpage.

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