University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on reading.ac.uk to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you.

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings.

Inter-library loans

The inter-library loans service delivers material you need which is not held in our Library collections. We can obtain a wide range of academic materials from other libraries. 

All members of the University can request inter-library loans. They are free of charge to you, but because of the costs involved for the University, please only request material which is required for your studies or research.

The inter-library loan service is not available to External borrowers.

How to request your inter-library loan

1. Check Enterprise and Summon

Check to see if the item you need is held in the Library collections in print or online before you request.

Books - Search the Enterprise catalogue with different combinations of author and title key words, in case the reference you have is incomplete.

Journals/Periodicals - Search for the article title in Summon or the title of the journal on the Enterprise catalogue 

PhD Theses - Check our digital theses collections. UK PhD theses are not normally available on inter-library loan but you can order a British thesis via EThOS.

Ask your Academic Liaison Librarian for help if you are unsure.

2. Request your item

Log in to Enterprise using your University email address and password and complete the inter-library loan request form with the details of the item you need and select your preferred delivery method and address.

Watch our video on ordering inter-library loans

Book loans

We'll email you when your item is ready. Collect books and loans of other whole items from the Library Welcome Desk - don't forget your Campus Card! Some loans are not borrowable and must be consulted in the Library but if this applies to your item, we'll let you know in the collection email.

If you are unable to collect your inter-library loan in person it's possible for someone to collect for you - please give them your Campus Card and send us an email authorising them to collect your items.

Journal articles will normally be supplied in PDF format for you to keep, either as an email attachment or via a download link sent to your University email address. Please follow the instructions in the email from the supplying library to download your document.

It's usual for PDF downloads to expire after 30 days so please retrieve your requested item promptly and contact the inter-library loans team if you have any problems.

If the supplying library is unable to provide an electronic version, a photocopy will be sent either to your home or Department address.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How long will it take?

It depends on the availability of what you've asked for! Books and articles that are available in the UK can arrive in a few working days - articles / chapters are usually quicker than loans. We suggest allowing a minimum of two weeks for your request to arrive.

If you would like an update on the status of your request, contact the inter-library loans team

How many inter-library loan requests can I make?

As a guide we offer the following allowance of inter-library loan requests per year to University members.

  • Undergraduates - 5
  • Taught Postgraduates - 5
  • Associate Members - 10
  • Research Postgraduate - 50
  • Staff - 50

Taught students requiring several items may wish to arrange a research trip to the British Library or another University library. See our information on using other libraries.

We understand that sometimes you may need more than the allowance if you're undertaking a systematic review, dissertation or final year project. If you think it likely you will require more than the above allowance, please contact the inter-library loans team to discuss your requirements.

How long can I keep my item?

Book loans are normally for around five weeks. The due date is displayed inside your book and appears on your Library account. If your loan is in demand, it may be recalled early by the lending library - if this happens please return the book as soon as possible and no later than the new due date given.

If you return an inter-library loan late you will be charged an overdue fine of 80p per day, per item.

Can I renew my inter-library loan?

Yes this is usually possible but we need the lending library's permission to renew your inter-library loan, so it's not guaranteed. Email us to request a renewal a few days before your item is due back, or ask at the Welcome Desk.

The first renewal is free, but second and subsequent renewals will incur a charge of £3 per item, per renewal. We can only renew inter-library loans a maximum of five times.

Why do I have to sign a copyright declaration?

If you want us to obtain a copy of a chapter or article we would normally have to pay the copyright owner a fee for reproducing their work. However, if you only require the copy for non-commercial research or private study and can sign the copyright declaration, you will qualify for an exemption from this fee. Commercial research should be understood as any research that is directly or indirectly income-generating. Your intention at the time must be unambiguously non-commercial if you are to avoid paying a copyright fee.

How much can I request as a PDF or photocopy?

The copyright declaration does not stipulate the proportion of a work that can legally be copied on your behalf, but libraries usually operate according to the principles of fair dealing, which convention has as one article from a single issue of a journal or one chapter from a book. See Copyright: licences & exceptions for more information.

What if I can't sign the copyright declaration?

It may still be possible to obtain a copy of the item you need but it will be necessary to pay the full copyright fee. Please contact inter-library loans if you require a copy article or chapter but are unable to sign the copyright declaration.

How much will it cost?

Inter-library loan requests are free of charge, including a first renewal of any loan. We do charge for some things;

  • 2nd and subsequent renewals - £3 each
  • Fines for late returns - 80p per item, per day
  • Long overdue items - any charge levied by the lending library (the British Library levies a long overdue admin fee of £92.75 + VAT)
  • Lost items - any replacement and admin charges levied by the lending library (the British Library charges a standard lost book fee in excess of £185.50)