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).

What can be supplied via inter-library loan?

During current lockdown restrictions, we can only source journal articles via interlibrary loan. We cannot supply print books or theses at this time.

How do I place an inter-library loan request?

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

Who can request an inter-library 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 £14. 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 inter-library 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 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 inter-library 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 inter-library 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.

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 you will first need to register with the British Library On Demand service. Please follow the steps in our guide.

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).

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

Contact us at

Do you lend to other institutions?

Due to current lockdown restrictions, we cannot lend our material to other institutions at this time.