Interlibrary loans

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

If you want a book sent over from another one of Bath Spa's libraries (Newton Park, Corsham Court or Sion Hill), please place a hold instead. 


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

  • Undergraduates and PGCEs can request up to 10 items per academic year.
  • Masters students can request up to 25 items per academic year.

How do I apply for an ILL?

  • First, 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 make sure you are logged in to your Bath Spa email account (Gmail), because if you are logged in to a personal  Gmail account, it will not let you access them.

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 £7.50 or more.

You can pay your fines in the library or online via the Hub. Once your fines are below £7.50 we can continue with your ILL request.

Where does the book/article 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 directly to your Bath Spa email addresses.
  • 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 delivered by Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) can arrive within 1 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 1-4 weeks to arrive; it depends on whether they're coming from the British Library or other lending libraries.

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

How long can I keep ILLs?

  • We put 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 BSU email for Library notifications.

Can I renew ILLs?

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

  • Please contact if you want to renew an ILL. 
  • 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 unable to renew.
  • We will be charged for ILL renewals so we will count them as an additional 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 account for notifications.

Can I have journal articles emailed to me?

  • Yes, all ILL journal articles are emailed directly to your Bath Spa email address via a service called Secure Electronic Delivery (SED). This means we can usually supply journal articles quickly.
  • You will need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader and FileOpen (free) before you can open SED journal articles.
  • SED articles have copyright restrictions, so we advise you print them as soon as you receive them before they expire.
  • We recommend you follow the Secure Electronic Delivery user instructions before attempting to open your first SED journal article.
  • If you are unable to download the article within 30 days of receiving it, 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 £163.10 + 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 that 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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