If you need material that is not kept by the Library, you may wish to order items using the Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Service. The Library can obtain books and journal articles from other libraries outside the University of Bolton on your behalf. Other publications such as conference papers and patents can also be obtained.

There is an Inter-Library Loan Requests crib sheet to help with the submission of requests for ILL material.


Making a request

  1. Check the Library Catalogue, to make sure that the item you wish to request is not in stock. Some journal articles are available through the Library's wide range of full-text electronic journals. Check these on the Library eJournals Portal . It is also useful to check whether the item is available via Google Scholar.
  2. Complete the online Inter-Library Loan request form.
  3. Include all details about the item you want to request, making sure they are as accurate as possible. The fields which you need to fill in will vary according to whether the item you are requesting is a book, a journal article or proceedings from a conference. You may be able to cut and paste the text from your source of reference to help with this. Note: when requesting an item you have found in an index or database, please check that the article is in English.
  4. We encourage everyone to submit requests using the online form. This helps us to process them more quickly and speeds up delivery times. If you require a paper copy of the Inter-Library Loan request form please ask a member of the Library staff.
  5. Tick the copyright declaration box. Please note: this is a legal requirement.
  6. The copyright declaration requires you to confirm that photocopied items will only be used for private study or for research for a non-commercial purpose. Please see the section on commercial use further down on this page if you feel your request constitutes commercial copying.
  7. Once your ILL request has been submitted, you can track it by checking the Library Catalogue My Account page.


How many requests can I make?

There is a limit of 10 requests per student per academic year. Also bear in mind that several items are likely to arrive at the same time, making it difficult for you to consult them all within the specific loan period.


How long will it take?

Journals - articles

Journal articles will be sent to you either

  • as a printed photocopy direct to the address on your library record or which you quote on the request form.

You can keep any photocopied articles sent to you. These usually take about one week to arrive.


  • as an email link, for you to print out yourself.

Delivery by email is much faster (usually within three working days) see Secure Electronic Delivery service.

Please note that there may be a delay processing requests during busy periods.


Books normally take longer to arrive. You can usually borrow them for five weeks. You will be notified on your university email account when items have arrived. They can be collected from the Library Desk during staffed hours. We will also notify you of any problems or delays with ILL requests on your university email.


Requests for UK theses are now dealt with using the Electronic Theses Online System (EThOS). The British Library no longer supplies microfilm copies of theses.

EThOS offers free full text access to UK doctoral theses stored electronically by the British Library and also provides links to theses available on university repositories. There is an online ordering service on the EThOS website for those theses which are not yet available in digital format, but the Library is unable to fund the cost of this service. 

For further information on the EThOS service, see the British Library's EThOS Information leaflet.


Return of material

The Inter-Library Loans service depends upon the co-operation of library users. Items supplied in hard copy must be returned on or before the due date. Renewals are not possible. There is a late return fine of 50p per day.


Requesting copies for commercial use

If you require inter-library loans to support activities which are, directly or indirectly, income-generating, this may constitute "commercial copying". It is essential that we are made aware of this when the ILL request form is submitted. For further details on copyright and inter library loans, see the British Library FAQs about Copyright Law 


Contact and feedback information for Inter-Library Loans

We would welcome any comments on this service and supporting information we provide. 
Telephone: 01204 903094 
Email: Inter-Library Loans team