Interlibrary Loans and Document Supply

Student books

The Document Supply Team

About interlibrary loans

If material is not held in any Library Services library, we will endeavour to find a copy for you from elsewhere.

In order to request an interlibrary loan, you will need a unique Pre-paid Voucher Number. These vouchers are valid for one year from the date of purchase and can only be used once. You may be able to obtain these vouchers from your School or you can purchase one online (University members only). You can also buy them in person from the Main Library, Barnes Library, the Shakespeare Institute or Orchard Learning Resource Centre or by telephoning the library on 0121 414 5828.

Vouchers cost £5.00 for University members and £15.00 for external members. The voucher code enables you to place your request online.

Schools or departments wishing to purchase Pre-paid Voucher Numbers using their School Information Fund should contact Alternatively purchase orders should be raised via Proactis and marked for the attention of the Document Supply Team.

If you still prefer to use a printed form, this can be purchased and handed in at any library. 

If you need to order a Copyright Fee Paid article for teaching purposes, please contact the Document Supply Team on 0121 414 5821 or

Accessing the online system

Login to and click on the 'my.library' tab. From the 'Interlibrary Loans' section on the left, you should select the option 'Place an interlibrary loan request'. You will then be given the option to choose to request a book or an article. Once you have completed the form you will be asked to enter your Pre-paid Voucher Number.

NB: In order to comply with copyright regulations you must use to access the service.

After successfully submitting your request you will receive an email confirming the details. Your request will then be processed by the Document Supply Team. You will receive an email informing you when a book is ready for collection or containing a link to an electronic version of an article.

If you need to order a Copyright Fee Paid article for teaching purposes, please contact the Document Supply Team on 0121 414 5821 or

Electronic theses online

Requests for most UK Doctoral dissertations should be made via EThOS, the service offered by the British Library. You should only place an interlibrary loan request for UK PhD thesis, if Ethos is unable to supply a copy. Please see for details of other UK & Eire Theses Access Policies.

Electronic articles

Journal articles that can be obtained from the British Library may be delivered to you in electronic format. Articles are supplied under the Library Privilege Service and incur no copyright fee but for this reason they cannot be stored electronically or forwarded to anyone else. The document may only be printed once.

The document will only be available to download for a period of 30 days and you should contact us if you unable to collect the article within this time.

To use this service, place your request using the Online Interlibrary Loan Requests Service or tick the 'Format Required' box on your interlibrary loan form and ensure you have included your University email address in the appropriate section. You will receive an email when the article is ready for you to download.

N.B. All items requested using the Online Interlibrary Loans Requesting Service will be delivered electronically unless you specifically request a paper copy.

To download articles you will need to register for British Library 'On Demand', a link will be sent with your article. You will need Adobe Reader version 10 or above on your device.  You should also download the British Library test document before attempting to download your article.

Delivery times for interlibrary loans

Where possible material is obtained from the British Library. Material requested from other institutions may take longer than the average to be delivered.

  • Articles can normally be obtained in 4 working days. Articles delivered via Electronic Delivery normally arrive within 2 days.
  • Books, conference proceedings and theses take on average 2-3 weeks.

It can take longer to locate a supply library for more obscure material as it may be necessary to apply to a series of libraries in turn. Material obtained from outside the UK can take much longer to locate and may cost more to obtain. For these items requesters will be asked to submit extra interlibrary loan forms or Pre-paid Voucher Numbers to cover the cost if necessary.

Please note: Some libraries decline to lend certain material they hold or may lend upon condition that that the material is consulted in the library as a reference only item.