How to request items from other libraries through On Demand

On Demand - directory

If you can’t find what you’re looking for through On Demand you can order it as an inter-library loan

Published date:

If you can’t find what you’re looking for when searching British Library On Demand you can request an extended search

We search other libraries in the UK and Ireland and provide you with a list of locations where the item you want is held, in the form of library codes, or we will try to source the item you need from one of our third-party suppliers. To find out which libraries have the item and what their policies are, you need to look up the code in the Directory of Library Codes.

Download the Directory of Library Codes

Ordering from other libraries

After agreeing or finding out the supplying library's charges, you can send your request to them by email. You must quote your customer code and allocate a request reference number to each item you are requesting. At this stage you are giving a mandate to the supplier to instruct the British Library to debit your account with the agreed charge if the item is supplied.

The supplying library will send a claim to the British Library for any items they have supplied, listing charges, the requesting library's customer code and request reference number. We credit the supplying library the total amount of the claim and debit requesting libraries accordingly.

Requesting libraries should keep a record of the reference number of supplied items so they can match them to the charges when they appear on their usage statement. We will add a small administration fee to each item charged to cover the cost of the service.

Policy codes

The supply and charging policies of each library in the Directory are indicated by up to three characters.

Lending and copying policy codes

F              Doesn’t lend books or serials but may be able to supply copies

G             Doesn’t lend serials but may lend books and may be able to supply copies of serial articles

H             Neither lends material nor supplies copies, but may provide access for reference purposes

J              Supplies copies and lends both books and serials

K             Doesn’t supply copies, but does lend serials and books

L              Doesn’t lend for home reading

S              Special conditions apply to these libraries, see list below

Pricing and charging policy codes

2              Charges in line with On Demand prices and accepts requests that quote a customer code and request reference number, but may have special rates for libraries in inter-library loan cooperative schemes

4              Doesn’t charge in line with On Demand prices, but accepts requester that quote customer code and request reference number

5              These libraries charge for transactions independently of the British Library

Category S libraries

Category S libraries are Legal Deposit libraries and former back-up libraries whose lending and copying policies can’t be described by the codes above.

AB/N-1 – The National Library of Wales

Doesn’t permit external borrowing, but may loan items that relate specifically to Wales or to the Celtic peoples in general.

Charges in line with On Demand prices.

Nid yw'r arferol i Lyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru ganiatáu benthycíadau allanol. Fodd bynnag, pan wneir ceisiadau am ddeunydd sy'n benodol Gymreig, neu sy'n ymwneud â'r bobl Geltaidd yn gyffredinol, mae modd i'r Llyfrgell dynnu ar ei stoc sylweddol o ddyblygion gan wneud eitemau o'r fath ar gael i fenthycíadau allanol.

CA/U-1 – Cambridge University Library

Supplies a full copying service and will lend a considerable percentage of its holdings except:

  • Pre-1850 books (1850-1900 considered individually)
  • British books published within the last five years and received under Legal Deposit
  • Books in reference classes
  • Spiral bound items
  • Unbound periodical issues
  • Manuscripts
  • Special collections
  • Sheet music
  • Dissertations and theses

Charges differ from On Demand pricing. All requesters must quote their customer code and request reference number.

DB/U-1 – Trinity College Dublin

Doesn’t lend periodicals, material published within the last five years or pre-1920 material. Lends theses, but there is an added charge for postage.

Accepts requests that quote a Customer Code and request reference number.

ED/N-1 The National Library of Scotland

Doesn’t lend serials but may lend books and be able to supply copies of serials articles. It won’t lend:

  • Material received under Legal Deposit (British publications)
  • Special collection material
  • Reading Room material
  • Serials
  • Material published pre-1901
  • Individual volumes from monographic series

Charges in line with On Demand Prices.

LO/M17 – The Royal Society of Medicine

Provides a full copying service and lends a considerable proportion of its holdings except for:

  • Rare books/Special Collections
  • Reference only books
  • Anything printed before 1900
  • Fragile items (at their discretion)
  • Oversize items
  • Periodicals published within the last year

Requests should be made to:

E: ill@rsm.ac.uk

New requests: +44 (0)20 7290 2940

Enquiries about placed requests: +44 (0)20 7290 2943

Fax: +44 (0)20 7290 2939

LO/N-2 – The Natural History Museum

Doesn’t lend books or serials but can supply copies (subject to copyright and preservation constraints).

Accepts requests that quote a customer code and request reference number, or can invoice directly using the Natural History Museum's current charges.

LO/U-3 – The LSE Library (BLPES)

Doesn’t lend serials but may lend books and supply copies of serial articles. Doesn’t copy or lend materials from certain special collections, including:

  • Pre-1850 material
  • Pamphlets and Statistics collections still in copyright
  • Microfilm/microfiche
  • Items held in the LSE Course Collection
  • PhD theses (please apply to LO/U-1)

LO/U14 – The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Supplies photocopies but doesn’t lend serials. Lends books except:

  • PhD theses (please apply to LO/U-1)
  • Archives material
  • Pre-1900 monographs
  • Reference and teaching collection books
  • Non-printed material

OX/U-1 – The Bodleian Library

Accepts requests for items from collections held in storage and can supply copies, subject to copyright law and conservation considerations. Items loaned are for use in the requesting library only. Will not lend:

  • Items held on open shelves in reading rooms
  • Pre-1920 publications
  • Material published within the last five years and received under Legal Deposit
  • Journal issues
  • Special collections
  • Maps
  • Sheet music
  • Collectable, fragile or unsuitably bound items
  • Dissertations and theses
  • Items bound with others

OX/U-8 – The Radcliffe Science Library

Accepts requests for loans of items from its collections and can supply copies, subject to copyright law and conservation considerations. Items loaned are for use in the requesting library only and are subject to recall. Will not lend:

  • Items over 100 years old
  • Collectable, fragile or unsuitably bound items
  • Items bound with others
  • Items on reading lists
  • Dissertations and theses

OX/U-9 – Rhodes House Library

Same as OX/U-1 above.

OX/U-15 – The Bodleian Law Library

Lends items not available from the British Library and can supply copies, subject to copyright law and conservation considerations. Items loaned are for use in the requesting library only and items published in the last five years are subject to individual approval.

Will not lend:

  • Periodicals
  • Reference works
  • Fragile items
  • Pre-1900 publications

A copy of the source of reference is normally expected for both loans and copies.

OX/U-19 – The Taylor Institution

Can supply copies, subject to copyright law and conservation considerations. Items loaned are for use in the requesting library only. Will lend:

  • Monographs
  • Microfilms
  • Dissertations

Will not lend:

  • Periodicals
  • Reference material
  • Collectable and fragile items

OX/U80 – The Bodleian Japanese Library

Can supply copies, subject to copyright law and conservation considerations. Items loaned are for use in the requesting library only. Will lend:

  • Monographs
  • Periodicals

Will not lend:

  • Pre-1850 publications
  • Reference material

British Library departments

The following libraries are departments within the British Library. Any requests for their stock must be sent through On Demand with the library code XY/N-1 unless otherwise stated.

LO/N-1 – London Supply Unit

Acts as a back-up to On Demand for supply of copies of post-1800 serial articles and, in some circumstances, loans of limited categories of post-1950 books in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Will only lend to UK customers and will not lend for home reading.

LO/N12 – Oriental and India Office

Will not lend:

  • Material for home reading
  • Material published before 1948
  • Any serial parts or reference material

All requests must be sent via XY/N-1.

LO/N13 and LO/N14 – Science, Technology and Business

Will not normally lend any material. Requests for copies of serial articles should be sent via XY/N-1. Also the national centre for the supply of patents.

LO/N37 – Manuscript Collection

Fully-referenced requests for reproductions (not photocopies) of manuscripts can be made directly through British Library Imaging Services.

LO/N38 – Newspapers

Will not lend any material. Acts as a back-up for requests sent via XY/N-1 for supply of copies of newspaper articles. Fully-referenced requests for reproductions (not photocopies) of newspapers can be made directly through British Library Imaging Services.

LO/N64 – National Sound Archive

Will not lend any material. Acts as a back-up for requests sent via XY/N-1 for supply of serial articles. Requests must not be sent directly to LO/N64. Recordings can be accessed in listening areas in the St Pancras and Boston Spa Reading Rooms.

XY/N-1 – On Demand

No restrictions for registered customers.

Regional Library Systems

Sometimes you can also find items through regional library systems. We recommend that you contact them directly or visit their website to find out if they can supply the item you need.

QE/ – Libraries & Information East Midlands (LIEM)

c/o Alfreton Library
Severn Square
Alfreton
Derbyshire
DE55 7BQ

T: +44 (0)1773 835064

F: +44 (0)1773 831359

E: liem@derbyshire.gov.uk

W: www.liem.org.uk

Co-East

Regional Manager
Co-East Headquarters
10-10a Princes Street
Huntingdon
Cambridgeshire
PE29 3PH

T: +44 (0)1480 376041

F: +44 (0)1480 376039

E: linda.berube@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

W: www.co-east.net

QL/ – NWLIP

Library and Information Service
c/o Chorley Library
Chorley
Lancashire
PR7 1EB

E: nwlip@lancashire.gov.uk

W: www.lancashire.gov.uk/nwlinterlending/

QN/ – North East Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (NEMLAC)

House of Recovery
Bath lane
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE4 5SQ

T: +44 (0)191 2221661

F: +44 (0)191 2614375

E: nemlac@nemlac.co.uk

QW/ – South Western Regional Library System (SWRLS)

Central Library
College Green
Bristol
BS1 5TL

T: +44 (0)117 9273962

F: +44 (0)117 9230216

E: swrls@swrls.org.uk

W: www.swrls.org.uk

ED/N-1 and QZ/ – Scottish Region Reference Services

National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh
EH1 1EW

T: +44 (0)131 4663815

F: +44 (0)131 4663814

E: ils@nls.uk

W: www.nls.uk

DB/N-2 – An Chomhairle Leabharlanna

The Library Council
53/54 Upper Mount Street
Dublin 2
Republic of Ireland

T: +353 1 6761167/6761963

F: +353 1 6766721

E: libcounc@iol.ie