Borrowing and related services

Borrowing from other libraries

Inter-Library Loans

What is it?

Can't find the item you need in our collection? The Library offers an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service to enable students and staff to obtain materials that we do not currently hold. Materials may be obtained from the British Library, through its Document Supply Service, or from other libraries by means of various reciprocal agreements.

Although this service can incur a high cost, we allow a certain amount of requests to be made without charge:

  • Students: 30 requests for free per year
  • UWL staff and research students: 50 requests for free per year

Requests over and beyond these limits may incur a charge which must be paid in advance and which is non-refundable, regardless of whether the request is ultimately satisfied or not.

Requests from borrowers who have overdue charges on their Library Account, or who have long overdue items (from Library stock or inter-library loans), cannot be processed.

ILL requests can be made for the following resources:

  • Books
  • Journal articles
  • Conference proceedings

How to apply

Full details of the item required must be included so that we can effectively process the request. Due to the high volume of requests we receive we are unable to accept lists of items by email.

Please do not request items which the Library already holds in stock whether in print or electronic format.

Please contact us for any enquiries regarding Inter-Library Loans.

Frequently asked questions about ILL

Copyright Declaration

All items are supplied subject to copyright regulations. The online forms contain a link to the copyright declaration and a tick box which must be selected before the form is submitted.

How long does it take?

This will vary. Requests may take only a few days to satisfy, but can take much longer if the item is not immediately available. Most requests arrive in a week once processed but we advise that you allow for a minimum of 3 weeks for your item to arrive.

How long can they be kept?

Copies of journal articles are for you to keep. Most books are supplied from the British Library for 6 weeks from the date of supply. Borrowers must return books by the due date to avoid additional charges.


Renewals are not automatic and may incur additional charges (£4.75 per item in 2016/17).  Please contact us well in advance of your return date if you wish us to arrange a renewal. Loans may not be supplied again within two months of return.

Requests over and beyond these limits may incur a charge which must be paid in advance and which is non-refundable, regardless of whether the request is ultimately satisfied or not.  Prices increase each year in August.


£5.35 e-copy from digital copy

£10.70 e-copy from print copy

£12.20 print copy by mail

£15.65 book loan

Loss of an ILL

The British Library charges a fee of at least £160.10 (plus VAT) for lost items, including a non-returnable administration charge of £80.05 (plus VAT). This charge will be passed on to the requester.


Alternatives to ILL

As an alternative to an ILL request you may want to consider the following options:

  • Check for other sources of similar information within UWL. Try a key word search in Summon.
  • Use the EThOS service to find copies of theses from various institutions.
  • Use the Search25 website's search capabilities to locate the item you are looking for at other institutions. You could then visit the institution using the SCONUL Access scheme.
  • Use directories such as the ASLIB Directories for more in-depth information on other institutions and visit using the SCONUL Access scheme.
  • For access to international dissertations and theses you might try searching the Open Access Theses and Dissertations Service at  This links to theses and dissertations from universities across the world which have been made available for free
  • Alternatively, Dissertation Express is a service which allows you to search for theses and dissertations and order copies using a credit card.  Unfortunately the Library would be unable to pay this charge for you.

Get in touch

Email us:

Call us: 020 8231 2405 (Ealing) or 020 8209 4434 (Reading, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)