Interlibrary loans – Bath Spa University

Interlibrary loans

Found a really interesting article or book that we don’t have access to?

Students and academic staff can borrow books, as well as request digital copies of chapters and journal articles, via the UK interlibrary loan network. This video shows you how to make a request. 

Interlibrary loan copies of articles and chapters are supplied for your non-commercial research and private study only and cannot be shared. For teaching purposes (upload to Minerva), academic staff should instead place requests via the Scan and Share request form.


How many inter-library loans (ILLs) can I have?

Undergraduates and PGCE students can request up to ten items per academic year

Master's students can request up to 25 items per academic year.

Bath Spa staff (Academic and Professional Services) can request items, provided they are required for work-related research.

Non-work related requests should be made via your local public library.

How do I apply for an ILL?

  • Ensure that you are logged into your Bath Spa email account
  • Check the Library catalogue and Journals A-Z to confirm the item isn’t already available
  • Request an ILL using the links at the top of this page.

Please note: You won’t be able to request an ILL if your library account is blocked. Your account will become blocked if fines reach £10 or more. You can pay your fines in your library account. Once your fines are below £10 we can continue with your ILL request.

Where does the book/article/chapter come from?

Most of the requests go to the British Library - they have millions of items in stock. When a book arrives for you, an email will be sent to your Bath Spa email address. The British Library will email journal articles and chapters directly to your Bath Spa email address.

If they are unable to supply the item, we will try to source a copy from another lending library in the UK. Other lending libraries will not send articles directly to you, but to the library. We will then send a printed copy to your campus library for collection. You will be notified by email when it is available.

How long does an ILL take to arrive?

As a general guide, articles and chapters delivered using the British Library’s Secure Electronic delivery method, DRM Lite can arrive within one week, providing they are available from the British Library.

If articles are sourced from another lending library, they make take a little longer.

Books will usually take longer than articles as they rely on the postal service. They usually take between one to four weeks to arrive, depending on whether they're coming from the British Library or other lending libraries.

Please note: some items may be more difficult to obtain, particularly if they are popular or very recent publications. This may delay the process.

How long can I keep ILLs?

We place a bookmark in each book showing the due date. Books will also be issued to your account upon arrival.

Please contact us at if you want to renew an ILL. You are not able to renew your interlibrary loans like other Bath Spa library items via your library account. We will request a renewal for you, and update your account if this has been successful. You will receive email confirmation from us too, including the revised due date. Alternatively, we will contact you if a renewal is not possible.

The British Library or other lending libraries may allow a loan to be renewed but they will also charge for it, so we will count this as another request off your allocation. All loans are subject to immediate recall by the lending library, so do keep an eye on your Bath Spa email for Library notifications.

Can I renew ILLs?

ILLs are not renewable via your library account like other Bath Spa library items.

How to renew an ILL:

  • Please contact to notify us
  • We will request a renewal for you and update your account if successful
  • You will receive email confirmation with the revised due date
  • We will contact you if we are unable to renew
  • We will be charged for ILL renewals so we will count them as an additional request off your allocation.

Please note: all loans are subject to immediate recall by the lending library, so do keep an eye on your Bath Spa email account for notifications.

Can I have journal articles and chapters emailed to me?

Many ILL journal articles can be supplied by DRM Lite, an electronic delivery method by the British Library. This means we can supply secure, encrypted journal articles and chapters quickly.

Please note: you will need to install Adobe 10 or above on your computer before you can open DRM Lite documents. You will also need to register with the British Library, which is quick and easy to do and means that articles can be opened on different devices, rather than it being locked to one machine. You can register herePlease use your Bath Spa email address.

There are also a number of copyright restrictions on articles delivered electronically, so it is advisable to print them as soon as you receive them and before they expire.

We recommend you follow the Secure Electronic Delivery user instructions before attempting to open your first DRM Lite journal article.

Youtube video with instructions on how to download a DRM Lite document is also available.

If you are unable to download the article within 30 days of receiving it, please contact

Please note: If you have previously received an SED article requiring FileOpen software, you will need to maintain this software in order to access your article.

What happens if I don’t return a book on time or I lose it?

After a certain time, if the book hasn’t been returned, the lending library will charge for a replacement copy.

The British Library’s charge is currently over £180 + VAT (unless the item is more expensive).

Even if the book is subsequently returned, there is still a 50% administration fee.

If these charges are made, they will be passed on to you, so keep an eye on your Bath Spa email for any Library notices.

If you think you may have lost an ILL book, or are unable to return it by its due date, please contact us at the first opportunity.

What about borrowing PhD theses?

To request a thesis, go to EThOS (Electronic Theses Online System). You can search the EThOS catalogue and download digital versions for free.

If the British Library hasn't digitised the thesis you want, they will try and obtain an electronic copy or direct you to where you can get a paper copy.

If electronic copies have to be made, you may have to pay a fee (you will be alerted when you confirm your order).

If electronic copies are not available, we may be able to borrow a paper copy on your behalf.

Please contact for more information.

Can I request music scores?

Yes - we can supply single study scores. The British Library holds more than 130,000 scores.

Please note: we are unable to supply sets or parts of vocal scores for performance.

Please ask in the Library if you would like more information, or contact

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