Interlibrary loans – Bath Spa University

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 a digitisation request against an item in their resource list.


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.

PhD students and academic staff have no preset limit for item requests, on the understanding that these requests are made on a reasonable basis to support your learning and 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 send articles and chapters to us, and we will forward these to you by email wherever possible.

How long does an ILL take to arrive?

As a general guide, articles and chapters delivered can arrive within one week, providing they are available from the British Library.

If articles are sourced from another lending library, they may 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?

Yes. Many ILL journal articles and chapters can be supplied as a digital PDF by the British Library directly to your Bath Spa email address.

This means we can supply journal articles and chapters quickly. The emails from the British Library will arrive from the address, and will quote a unique request ID number. Other lending libraries will send articles and chapters to us, and we will forward these to you by email wherever possible.

Please note: we are not able to process more than one article request from the same journal issue per person, as we are bound by copyright laws.

You do not need any specific PDF reader to open the document, such as Adobe.

Documents may only be used for private study and non-commercial research, and must not be shared.

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


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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