Inter Library Loans: How to get the best out of your book request


Inter Library Loans (ILL) are a really useful resource to help you get the most out of research.  We have the means to contact thousands of other libraries in Britain and abroad to help you track down that elusive book or article you can’t find in our collection.

Of course, you want your ILL request to come in as soon as possible.  The average waiting time for a book to arrive is 1-3 weeks; but you can help speed up your own request with a few simple tricks:

Lots of information

The more information we have, the better!

When requesting a book always be sure to include the title and the name of the author/editor

The ISBN is also really useful if you want to speed up your request.  An easy way to find the ISBN is to look up your book on Amazon; they almost always have the bibliographic details, including publisher details, edition and publication date.  Surprisingly this information is very reliable!

If you know you need a certain edition, do specify it in the edition box, e.g. ‘3rd edition only’.  Don’t be afraid of stating exactly what you need in this box, for instance; if you would like the most current edition, but ultimately you would rather have any copy rather than no copy at all, then write something along the lines of ‘11th edition preferably’.  And if you really don’t mind which edition you get?  Just leave it blank!

Check the catalogue once, twice, and a third time

You would be amazed how often we get requests for books and articles we already have here in our very own library!  We like to avoid this happening as much as possible so we recommend you check check check that catalogue.

If you are looking for a book here are some good ways to check our catalogue for it:

Check 1 – Title

Check 2 – Author’s surname and title keywords

 Check 3 – ISBN.  Just copy and paste it into the catalogue search box and remove any hyphens or spaces (e.g. change 978-12345678 to 97812345678).  Using the ISBN is a great way to do a final check for that elusive book.


It’s on the catalogue but it’s not in stock!

But what if I’ve found the book on the catalogue and there aren’t any copies left?’, I hear you ask?  Well, the best thing to do is place a reservation on the book.  It’s much quicker and cheaper than an ILL.

When you place a reservation on a book, a recall notice is sent out to the person who currently has it, asking them to bring it back.  The reservation prevents them from renewing it so they HAVE to bring it back by its due date.  The absolute tip-top longest possible time you will have to wait for a reservation to come in (providing they bring it back and don’t get themselves a hefty fine!) is 4 weeks. 

So it works out cheaper and pretty much just as quick to reserve a book that we already have!

To place a reservation just look for the book you want to borrow that’s out-of-stock on the catalogue, click the reserve button on the book’s page and enter your library card number (the number on the back of your student card).

Ok, I’m ready to submit a request, what do I do?

Inter Library Loans are requested electronically through our Library Catalogue online. 

When you search for books or articles on the library catalogue you will see a yellow box at the bottom of the page.Request an inter-library loan button

To request a book:

  1. Click the Request an Inter Library Loan button.
  2. You will be asked to enter your borrower number (this is the 8 digit number on the back of your student or staff ID card)
  3. Read the information at the top of the request form
  4. Double check we do not have the item because we do not give refunds.
  5. Follow the instructions on screen and fill in the form with information as required to submit your request. To request a book you will need the: ISBN, Author/Editor’s Name, Title and Year of Publication. You can also enter the edition if you require a particular version of the book.
  6. When your book comes in, we will send you a notification email to you university email address. The book can then be collected from the library desk.  Be sure to bring your university ID card! 


If you need anymore info, have a look at our Inter Library Loans page or send us an email at: