Interlibrary Loans

Our Inter-Library Loans Service can obtain material that we do not hold, but that is required for your research or study. We obtain this from other UK libraries on your behalf. It is not designed for items we already hold (but that are on loan), or items that are available in other local libraries to which you have reasonable access.

How do I place an interlibrary loan request?

  • Go to our request form and select ‘Article’ or ‘Book’
  • Fill out details of the item you require
  • Click ‘Submit’
  • You will be asked to agree to a mandatory copyright declaration

What can be supplied via interlibrary loan?

The inter-library loan service can supply:

  • Books
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Journal Articles
  • Theses that are not already available to read online via the British Library’s EThOS service. To start using EThOS, read our guide

Unfortunately, inter-library loan services cannot provide:

  • DVDs
  • e-Books or other digital publications
  • Rare books or archive materials
  • Any item that another institution refuses to loan to us

Who can request an interlibrary loan?

All students, staff and researchers at the Glasgow School of Art can request an inter-library loan. However, external borrowers cannot use this service. SCONUL Access borrowers should place inter-library loan requests via their host institution, rather than via GSA Library.

Is there a charge, and how many requests can I place?

Unlike many academic libraries, we do not charge for inter-library loan requests. However, there are annual limits on the number of requests you can make. This is because each request costs the Library around £18. The following limits are in operation:

  • Undergraduate students: 5 items annually
  • Postgraduate and research students: 20 items annually
  • Staff: 20 items annually

For funded research projects that require large numbers of inter-library loans, Academic Schools and other departments are expected to include a costed figure within their funding bids which will be used to fund your requests. We are happy to advise you on this – contact us at

Are interlibrary loan requests ever refused?

We may be unable to process your inter-library loan request for a number of reasons:

  • We already hold the item in stock, whether in print or digital format. This applies even when a print item is currently on loan to others
  • The item is held in another local library to which you have reasonable access. This does not apply if you have a disability that affects your mobility
  • The material type is ineligible (e.g. DVD)
  • In the case of a thesis, the item is available to read online after free registration with the British Library’s EThOS service
  • The item is only available from a source outside the UK

Once we receive your request, we will contact other institutions that hold your required item, and ask if they will lend it to us on your behalf. Not all institutions will lend their materials, so please note that we cannot assume responsibility for the non-supply of a text where the holding institution will not lend to us.

If your request is refused, we will notify you via your GSA email. We will not use your home or personal email – links and instructions for accessing your GSA email are available here.

What am I allowed to do with my interlibrary loan?

All inter-library loans are provided for non-commercial research or private study only, and certain copyright restrictions apply. When you place your request, you will be asked to declare that:

  • You will use the item solely for the purposes of non-commercial private research
  • You will not supply or distribute the item to another person
  • To the best of your knowledge, no other person with whom you work or study has made, or intends to make, a request for substantially the same material for the same purpose

Students and staff will normally be allowed to photocopy inter-library loans for personal use, subject to the normal copyright limits that are on display next to the copiers in the Library. On occasion, the issuing library may place photocopying restrictions on an item, and you will not be able to photocopy in these instances

Staff must not distribute material supplied through inter-library loan to their students, either through photocopying or scanning. If you would like your students to read a particular article or chapter, you must use our Scanning Service instead.

When will my interlibrary loan arrive?

You can check the status of your inter-library loan request at any time:

  • Go to Discover
  • Click ‘Sign In’ at top left and enter your GSA network credentials
  • Click your name at top left and select ‘My Requests’

The time it takes for your inter-library loan to arrive can vary. This is because we borrow items from many different libraries – some very large, and some very small. If the item is supplied to us by the British Library, for example, it will usually arrive in just a few days. Other libraries can take substantially take longer. For this reason, inter-library loans are not an appropriate route to obtain items that you require urgently at very short notice.

When you item arrives with us, we will notify you via your GSA email. We will not use your home or personal email – links and instructions for accessing your GSA email are available here.

How will I receive my interlibrary loan?

If we acquire a journal article from the British Library On Demand service, a secure link will normally be emailed to you directly. To download your document, please follow the steps in our guide.

Complete books will always be supplied in print, and we will ask you to come into the Library to collect these items.

How long will I be able to borrow my interlibrary loan for?

Journal articles will usually be supplied to you digitally. You will have an initial 30 days in which to download your article, and will then be able to retain it for an average of 3 months (depending on the publisher).

Books and theses supplied through the service are usually loaned for 3 weeks, on average. However, loan periods are set by the issuing institution and can vary. On some occasions, the issuing institution will stipulate that an item can only be used on a reference basis in GSA Library and cannot be taken away. We do not have any latitude to waive or vary these restrictions.

Can I renew my interlibrary loan?

If you wish to renew your inter-library loan beyond the initial loan period, you will need to request this at We will contact the issuing library and ask if they are willing to extend your loan. If the issuing library refuses this request, you will need to return your item to us.

How do I return my interlibrary loans?

You should return your inter-library loan at the Service Desk on the ground floor of the Library. Unlike GSA books, inter-library loans cannot be returned via our self-issue machines.

What if I lose or damage an interlibrary loan?

If the item in question has been supplied to us by the British Library, you will be charged a standard amount (currently around £133.50) but you may be charged more for expensive items. The level of this charge is set by the British Library, and cannot be waived or lowered. If the item in question has been supplied by another institution, they will set the replacement charge.

Who should I contact if I have a question about interlibrary loans?

Contact us at

Do you lend to other institutions?

We are happy to lend General Stock material to other libraries upon request at Our Library Code is QZ/C79 and our full holdings can be easily searched alongside those of other institutions at Library Hub Discover.

Our supply and charging policy is G2. This means that we generally loan books and you will be charged in line with current BL prices (£16.35 for a loan and £10.15 for a scan). Like most ILL participating institutions, our charges and payments are handled via our BLDSS. You will therefore need to provide your own Library Code and a request reference number when applying to us. Please note that BLDSS will apply a small additional handling charge.

Unfortunately, we cannot supply the following categories of material:

  • Serials
  • Dissertations or theses. An increasing number of our theses are available open access via RADAR, our institutional repository, or via the British Library’s EThOS service
  • Special Collections
  • Older or large-format publications
  • Zines
  • DVDs

Our postal address is:

Interlibrary Loans
Glasgow School of Art Library
167 Renfrew Street
G3 6RQ