Answered By: Lesley Butler
Last Updated: Sep 06, 2018     Views: 14424

If the library does not have access to an item that you need for your learning or research,  you can request the material via the Inter-Library Loans service.


The Inter-Library Loans service is available to members of staff and students of the University of Liverpool and a non-refundable charge is made for this service. It is also available to members of our Alumni. Please see the additional charges for non-university members.

Most Inter-Library Loans are obtained from the British Library Document Supply Centre.

Application for books or journal articles £2.00
Application for theses £2.00
Renewals (maximum of 2) £4.00
Alumni £6.00
External Members Check with ILL Staff
Urgent action service (University of Liverpool members only) £12.00

An additional charge of £15.00 may be applied for requests requiring an overseas search. Users should consult a member of Inter-Library Loans staff for further information.

External members will be charged the full current commercial rate; price given on application to the ILL office.


Staff and students of Liverpool Hope University, University of Chester and Liverpool John Moores University must use the ILL department at their own institution.

You can pay by any of the following methods:

Pay online through the University Store

Phone us during daytime staffed hours on 0151 794 5414 to pay by credit or debit card

In person at either the Sydney Jones or Harold Cohen Library Help Desks or the Inter-Library Loan Office

If your department is willing to cover the cost of your requests then we can accept payment via BIF (Bulk Input File), confirmation of this should be provided in email format to including the cost centre and account code to be used


Members of staff and students of the University of Liverpool can purchase Inter-Library Loan forms from the Help Desks in the Harold Cohen Library and the Sydney Jones Library. You will need your University ID card and the form costs £2.00 (see above for full details of charges). Alternatively you can register for an online account (see section below). Credit can be added to your online interlibrary loan account either in person in the Harold Cohen Library or Sydney Jones Library or by phoning the ILL Office on 0151 794 5414 to pay using a credit/debit card. If your department is willing to cover the cost of your requests then we can accept payment via BIF (Bulk Input File), confirmation of this should be provided in email format including cost centres and account codes to be used.

How to complete the request form

Before you fill in an Inter-Library loan form you must check the University Library catalogue; only material which is not in our stock can be requested. This includes items held electronically or as reference only. Refunds are not given once forms have been completed and handed in. It's a good idea to check the catalogues of other libraries since you may be able to get what you want easily elsewhere. You can check the Use Other Libraries page for other Libraries you can access.

When you fill in the form, please give the fullest possible details of your request and write clearly. If you omit information your request may be delayed or fail altogether. You must sign the copyright declaration on the reverse of each form before submitting it.

We need the following information:

  • For books: 
    Surname and initials of author, full title, publisher, date of publication. It is useful to include the source of reference, i.e. details of the book, bibliography or journal article from where you took the information about your request.
  • For journal articles: 
    Title of journal, the relevant year, volume number, issue number if known and pages and also the author and title of the article.
  • For theses: 
    (Most UK doctoral theses are available to download through the Electronic Theses Online Service EThOS. ILL requests should normally only be submitted for non-doctoral theses e.g. Masters theses)
    Author's name, title of thesis, type and date of degree, and the university concerned. Please see additional information for theses below.
  • Your full postal and e-mail address. The email address must be your University email address.
  • Your signature for the copyright statement.

If you need help with completing the form or would like more information please ask staff on the Help Desk in either library, or in the Inter-Library Loans Office in the Harold Cohen Library.

How long does it take?

We aim to process your request within 2 working days but are unable to guarantee an exact supply time as this is outside our control

Additional Information for Theses

EThOS offers free access to the full text of UK doctoral theses. In rare instances it may not be possible for EThOS to digitise a thesis. If this is the case, you will be notified and advised if you can submit an ILL request. We will then apply to the awarding University for the original copy. Please note that you will be required to consult this in the Harold Cohen Library only.

The Library subscribes to the full-text version of ProQuest Dissertations & Theses  which allows full-text access to over 600,000 (mostly US theses and in PDF format) of the more than 2 million theses listed. If you want a USA thesis check this database before submitting an ILL request. If the thesis you need does not appear we may still be able to obtain it for you.

The Inter-Library Loan system for requests is called CLIO. If you have not used the online ILL system before you will need to create a new account on CLIO.

If you have forgotten your password enter your University ID and click on the 'Forgot your Password? button. A new password will then be emailed to you which can be changed when you log on to CLIO.

In addition to requesting ILLs you are able to view your requests, edit your personal information, check your current balance, and email ILL staff from CLIO.

If your article request is satisfied by the British Library it will be supplied as a secure electronic document (SED), further details about SEDs can be found below.

ILLs will not be issued on the same system as your other library books, but they will instead be issued on CLIO. You will receive all notifications regarding your ILLs direct to your email from CLIO.

The British Library can deliver journal articles and book chapters to you electronically. They use an electronic delivery method that allows them to supply secure, encrypted documents and ensure that the item is used only as permitted. We can only provide this service if the British Library is the supplier otherwise a paper copy will be supplied.

The document is locked to a user rather than a machine, meaning it can be viewed on any computer or mobile device. Users are required to register once with the British Library to enable them to open documents.

The email you receive with the link from the British Library will prompt you to register, or login if you have already registered. There may be a short delay between registering and accessing your article. For future logins, access will be immediate. You will need to have Adobe Reader 10 or above installed on your device.

The document is available to download for 30 days after which the file is deleted. You can print a single paper copy only from which you cannot make further copies

If you are using Google Chrome you will need to disable the built-in PDF viewer in order to read your document. To do this, type chrome://plugins in the address bar, then scroll down to Chrome PDF viewer and click on disable. Alternatively you could use a different browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.

The encryption technology is not certified for use on Apple mobile devices using Google Chrome. The British Library recommends that you use the default browser (Safari) to download your document. Other browsers may work, however you need to disable the default PDF viewer as the document will only be visible in Adobe Reader. Alternatively save the document, then right click and choose to open in Adobe Reader.

Receiving Your Inter-Library Loan
  • Books
    You will receive an email asking you to collect your item for loan from the Help Desk in the Harold Cohen Library. Items will be issued to you by a member of staff. It is not possible to self-issue inter-library loans. The bookmark that accompanies the loan contains important information and should be kept with the item whilst in your care. Books can normally be borrowed for 5 weeks but this can vary as it is always determined by the library who has supplied it. (Please be aware that it could be recalled for another reader). They should be returned promptly on the date due or can sometimes be renewed.
  • Journal articles
    You will either be sent a photocopy to keep or if you have opted for SED you will receive an email with a link to the article.
  • Theses
    If an original copy is supplied, you will have to consult it in the Harold Cohen Library.
  • Library use only
    A few items can only be used in the Library. These will be kept in the Inter-Library Loan office and will be available at any time during service hours.
Renewing Your Inter-Library Loan

Some items borrowed are renewable. Please consult the inter-library loan staff in the Harold Cohen Library who will check if a renewal is possible. A renewal will cost £4.

Returning Your Inter-Library Loan

These should be returned to the Help Desk in the Harold Cohen Library or the Sydney Jones Library or to the Inter-Library loans office. You cannot return them via the self-service points.

An Urgent Action Service is available for items that are needed quickly. The cost of this service is £12.00 per item. If the request fails for any reason £6.00 will be refunded.

To ensure we can find out on the same day whether the item you want is available you need to apply to the Inter-Library Loans Office before 3pm. Items can be posted or sent by secure electronic delivery. Electronically-delivered items are usually sent within 2 hours of our application being received at the British Library or by first class post where delivery is required.

We are participants in the IFLA vouchers scheme and welcome postal requests from any Library worldwide that participates in the scheme. Please send three vouchers for a loan and one and a half vouchers for a photocopy.

We are also members of OCLC SHARES ILL and will lend to other libraries in the consortium wherever they are located.

You may also send requests to us via OCLC WorldShare. Our symbol is LVT.

Libraries that are not members of these schemes should send requests to the British Library in the first instance. If the British Library cannot satisfy the request they will forward it to us.

Please note that some items we lend abroad are for consultation in the Library to which we lend them and not available for home reading.

British Library Document Supply Centre

Most items for inter-library loans are supplied by the British Library Document Supply Centre (BLDSC) based at Boston Spa in Yorkshire. We rely heavily on this service to obtain monographs and journal articles and sometimes use the BLDSC's "World Wide Search service" to obtain monographs and reports published overseas.

You can search the British Library Catalogue but please note that the British Library in London is a reference Library and their stock is usually not available for inter-library loan. If you are unable to trace the item you require you should still apply to Inter-Library loans as it may be available from another Library.


SHARES gives us access to the collections of a large number of research and university libraries in North America and in several other countries. We apply to SHARES libraries through OCLC WorldShare and we use it primarily to obtain material not available in the UK as an alternative to the BLDSC's "World Wide Search" service.


UK PhD theses are usually available to download free of charge from EThOS. If the item required is not a PhD level thesis or is not available via EThOS you may contact Inter-Library Loans, Harold Cohen Library, tel. 0151 794 5414 or e-mail at


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