Interlibrary Loans and Document Supply

Document Supply (Acquisitions 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. Please confirm we do not hold the item already using FindIt@Bham in the first instance before placing a request. The service is open to all current University of Birmingham students and staff.

Library Services are running a pilot which will make interlibrary loans free at the point of need for University staff and students. Further details can be found below. We would really appreciate hearing your thoughts on this and would encourage you to submit comments and thoughts to our main feedback form.


Print interlibrary loan requests now available

We are once again able to satisfy requests for print items. All books must be collected from a library site. As always please double check the details on the request form before you submit, including the delivery method and the collection site. 

How many requests can I place and are there any charges?

Staff and students of the University each have a quota of interlibrary loans provided free of charge. Quotas last for one academic year (1st August to 31st July). The quotas are:

  • Academic and Academic-related staff - Unlimited
  • Support staff - 10
  • Postgraduate researchers - 50
  • Postgraduate taught students - 10
  • Undergraduate students - 10
  • Distance learners - 10

If you've used your quota and want to place additional requests please contact us at There is a charge of £10 for each subsequent request.

Please note: Uncollected or unconsulted ILL items will incur a charge of £16 (the full cost of an interlibrary loan).

How do I place an interlibrary loan request?

  1. Go to FindIt@Bham
  2. Login using your university account
  3. Perform a search to check that we don't already have a copy of the item
  4. Click the three dots in the top right-hand corner and select “InterLibrary Loan requests”
  5. Complete the form. Please note that at the moment we can only supply journal articles and book chapters.

After submitting your request, you will be able to view the details in your library account on FindIt@Bham. Your request will be processed by  Document Supply (Acquisitions Team), who will get in touch with you if they need more information in order to action your request.

You will receive an email either containing a link to an electronic version of an article/chapter or  informing you that the item is ready to collect.

What can I order?

You can request books, articles, reports, conference proceedings, international theses as well as other materials. Please be aware you may only order one article per journal issue or one chapter per book due to copyright regulations.

Some older or more expensive items may be loaned to us for consultation use in the library only.

Electronic theses online

Requests for most UK Doctoral dissertations should be made via EThOS, a 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. 

How will I receive my interlibrary loan request?

Electronic articles

You will receive an email when the article is ready for you to download.

Journal articles obtained from the British Library will be delivered to you in electronic format. Articles are supplied under the Library Privilege Service to avoiding incurring copyright fees - this means they cannot be stored electronically or forwarded to anyone else. The document may only be printed once and will only be available to download for a period of 30 days.

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 later installed on your device. If your web browser has an inbuilt PDF viewer you will need to disable it before you can read the document. You should also download the British Library test document before attempting to download your article.

All articles requested will be delivered electronically unless you specifically request a paper copy.


Book requests must be collected from the Library. Loanable items can be collected from the Main Library Smartlockers while reference use only items will be held in the Allport Room. Items can also be collected from our site libraries.

How long will my request take to arrive and how long can I keep it for?

We aim to create your request within 2 working days of submission. Following this:

  • Electronic Articles can normally be obtained in 2-3 working days.
  • Books, conference proceedings and theses take on average 1-2 weeks.

It can take longer to locate a supply library for older or more obscure material as it may be necessary to apply to a series of libraries in turn. Print material obtained from outside the UK may also take longer.

Most items will be loaned to us for a period of 3-4 weeks. If you require a renewal please contact

Please note - there will be a charge for multiple renewals of items sourced from the British Library.

When I try to access the form, it tells me that I am "currently unable to access the interlibrary loan request form."

This message will be displayed if you have exceeded your quota or if there is something else on your library account preventing you placing requests. Please contact us at if you are unsure why this message is being displayed or want to place additional requests beyond your quota. Quotas for all users can be found above.  


Professional Services