Inter-library loan FAQs

Inter-Library Loan FAQs

Inter-Library Loans of physical items are currently suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to support requests relating to ebook chapters and electronic articles. If you have any questions please send an email to our Inter-Library Loans team at

Who can request an Inter-Library Loan?

This service is currently available to all GCU staff and students registered at our Glasgow and London campuses, but it is expected that most information requirements for undergraduates will be available in our collections or locally.

Students on distance learning courses can apply for journal articles or book chapters; we don’t provide a book postal service.

We do not accept requests from students at our partner institutions, Alumni, Community Users, Mentors or SCONUL Access members.

What can I request?
  • Journals
  • Journal articles (one article per journal issue*)
  • Books
  • Book chapters (one chapter per book*)
  • Conference proceedings and papers (one paper per set*)
  • Patents
  • Reports
  • Standards

*If you require multiple articles, chapters or papers from the same source, please request the whole item.

Items must be for your personal use and needed to support your coursework, teaching or non-commercial research at GCU. We will not supply items for private study, leisure or hobbies.

We will not process requests for items which we hold in stock, are available locally, accessible online or only available from sources outside the United Kingdom.

If you are a GCU researcher or a member of staff looking for a thesis, please see our Theses webpage.

How much does it cost?

We do not charge for this service.

How do I place a request?

From 2 April 2019 we will no longer be using the Clio system; requests can be placed direct from Discover by either:

  • Carrying out your search and selecting Expand My Results Beyond GCU Library Collections
    Chose the Get It tab where available and sign in
    Click Inter-library loan request,you will be taken to the request form which will be automatically populated with the information about your chosen item.


  • Using our Inter-library loan request form which you will find on the ribbon in Discover. You must log in to use this form and input the information about your request.

How many items can I request?

We do not currently impose a limit on the number of items you can request.

Why must I agree to the Copyright declaration?

Under copyright law you would normally have to pay the copyright owner a fee for their work. However, you will be exempted from this by Library Privilege if you require a copy for non-commercial research or private study. In order to use Library Privilege you must agree to the copyright declaration when placing your request.

What is the purpose of the “not needed after” date on the request form?

If the British Library can meet your request but there is a waiting list, we will calculate when you are likely to receive the item. If this date is after the “not needed after” date, we will try to source the item from an alternative lender. If we cannot get the item before your deadline, we will let you know.

How long will it take to receive the item?

It will take approximately 3 working days to receive items supplied electronically by the British Library. Hard copy items from the British Library take approximately 7-10 working days. Material borrowed from other libraries may take longer to source and receive.

Can I track the progress of my request?

Yes, you can do this by signing into Discover. Click your name in the top right hand corner and then click Library Account. Choose Requests and the status will be displayed beside each title.

How do I cancel my request?

It may be possible to cancel the request before the lender has issued the item. You can do this by signing into Discover. Click your name in the top right hand corner and then click Library Account. Choose Requests and Cancel beside the relevant title.

How will I receive the item?

Electronic items supplied by the British Library will be delivered via DRM Lite to your GCU email address. Before using this service for the first time you must register for a British Library On Demand account. For further information please visit our DRM Lite page.

Paper copies of articles supplied by the British Library will be delivered to your UK home address (students) or department (staff).

Paper copies of articles supplied by other lenders will be scanned by GCU staff and sent to your GCU email address.

Books (and reference only items) will be issued from the Library Desk during staffed hours. You will receive an email when your item is available to collect.

How long can I keep the item for?

Most requests are fulfilled by the British Library. You can normally borrow an item for four weeks; however, if the British Library asks us to return it earlier, we must do so or risk losing our right to borrow.

Other lenders may offer a different loan period but are normally around 4 weeks. We must adhere to their regulations.

Items may be supplied for use in the library only.

Electronic items supplied via DRM Lite: Once you have saved the item, you will have access to it for up to 3 years from the date of supply, after which you will be locked out of the item permanently. If files are not saved, access from the download link will expire after 30 days.

Photocopies and scans do not need to be returned.

Can I renew the loan?

Yes, at the discretion of the lender. You can request a renewal through your library account. To do this, sign into Discover. Click your name in the top right hand corner and then click Library Account. Choose Loans and Renew beside the relevant title.

We may refuse a renewal due to cost where the loan has already been extended.

Could the item be recalled?

Yes, items can be recalled by the lender at any stage. In this event, you will receive an email requesting that you return the item to the Library Desk by the new due date.

Can I make a printout or photocopy of the item I’ve borrowed?

You can make one printout of an electronic item and copy:

  • One article from a single journal part
  • One chapter or 10% (whichever is greater) from a book
Can I use the materials for teaching?

Items are supplied for personal use only. If you need an item to share or use as part of your teaching, please use our scanning service.

For further advice visit our copyright pages or email

How do I return the item?

Please return items to the Library Desk during staffed hours.

Photocopies and scans do not need to be returned.

Will there be a fine if I am late returning the item?

We do not currently charge fines on overdue inter-library loan items.

I have lost the item, what should I do?

Please email as soon as possible. You will be charged the replacement fee requested by the lender. The British Library currently charges a minimum of £174.50 per item.

For further help phone 0141 273 1200 or 0141 273 1209, or email the Inter-Library Loan Team at