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Bodleian Libraries Enquiry Service: Inter-Library Loans

The Enquiry Service provided by the Main Enquiry Desk team of the Bodleian Library with additional information about broader library services.

Inter-Library Loans: Application Process

Inter-library loan applications for the Bodleian Library are processed and paid for at the Main Enquiry Desk. Please visit us at the North End of the Lower Reading Room if you wish to apply for an inter-library loan.

Who can apply?

  • The inter-library loan service is for users who wish to view an item (a book, journal, thesis etc.) that is not held in any of the Oxford libraries.
  • The service is open to all users of the Bodleian Libraries. As long as you hold a library card, you can apply for a loan.

You will need:


Before you apply...

  • Search the online catalogue SOLO to be certain that no Oxford library holds the item.
  • If you can't find the item on SOLO, you should next search on COPAC in order to discover if other UK institutions have the item in their collections. If you get no results, check WorldCat to see which libraries worldwide hold the item.
  • If the item is held at another institution it is possible that an inter-library loan could be arranged.

Application process

  • Next, print and fill out an Inter-Library Loan form (PDF) and bring it to the Main Enquiry Desk for processing. Copies of the form can also be found at the desk.
  • If staff believe that your application will be successful, they will deduct money from your PCAS account and send the form off to the Inter-Library Loans department for processing. If, for any reason, staff are aware that the application will not be successful (due to the date of publication, format of material, or practices of the owning library etc.) they will advise you not to submit the application. Costs are administrative and cover the making of the application. The payment will not be refunded if the owning library chooses not to lend the item in question.

How much does it cost?

  • There is a non-refundable administrative charge for each request.
  • Oxford University members (blue University card holders) pay a reduced cost as the University subsidises inter-library loans for members. Other library card holders will pay the full administrative fee.
  • Current inter-library loan prices are available from the inter-library loan webpages.
  • The amount is payable by PCAS account ONLY. We cannot accept cash or cards in payment for this service.

What happens next?

  • Straightforward article loans from the British Library generally take up to 5 working days, and standard book loans from the British Library usually take around 10 working days to be processed.
  • Loans from other UK institutions may take 2 weeks or more to be delivered - times can vary considerably and depend entirely on the processes of the other institution. Loan requests submitted to libraries outside the UK may take several months to arrive (though may come more quickly).
  • If you provide your email address when submitting your application, you will receive an email when your loan has arrived. All inter-library loans requested to the Bodleian Library should be requested to the Upper Reading Room in the Old Bodleian Library. It should be read in that reading room.
  • The amount of time you can keep the loan varies, but is usually 3 weeks. If the item is not required elsewhere, it is sometimes possible to renew the loan. The first renewal is free and subsequent renewals cost £4.45. The initial return date will be given on accompanying documentation. Please ask staff in good time before the return date if you wish to renew the item.
  • Loans that arrive as photocopies can be kept and do not need to be returned.

For further help, the Bodleian website addresses inter-library loan FAQ's.

Students from other Universities

If you are a student from another university and you wish to view an item from the Oxford collections via an inter-library loan, please contact the inter-library loan department at your own university library.

If you wish to come to the Bodleian Library to view an item, you can apply for a reader's card. Please contact the Admissions department for details of the application process.

Information for Staff from other institutions

The Bodleian Library does supply their own material to other libraries and institutions which hold a British Library account or participate in the IFLA voucher scheme. The Inter-Library Loans department will consider all requests from the UK and internationally. Requests are accepted by email or post.

Though the Bodleian Library loans a vast percentage of material to other libraries, there are exceptions. Please check this list on the webpages to check what items cannot be borrowed, and to find out more about our Lending Policy.


For more information or to place a request, contact the Inter-Library Loans department directly:

T: +44 (0)1865 277069 or
    +44 (0)1865 287155



Interlibrary Loans
Bodleian Library
Osney One Building
Osney Mead
United Kingdom