If the book, journal article or thesis you need is not available at our libraries or online for free, you can request it from an external library. This is known as an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) request.

How do I request items from other libraries?

Simply sign into your library account, click on 'ILL Requests' and complete the request form. Provide as much detail as you can, ensure that you have read the copyright declaration, and tick the box to confirm you've read it.

If your request is accepted, you'll see a confirmation message.

For more instructions on how to place an ILL request, download our guide below.

What can I request?

Journals, articles and conference papers

You can request journal articles or conference papers for non-commercial research or private study (for more details, read the policy for commercial copying).

If you request one article, it will be sent electronically to your University email account. If you request more than one article from a journal, you will be able to borrow the whole journal or use it in the library.

Some journal articles will be supplied only in print. These need to be collected at the library counter and are for you to keep.

If you request a conference paper, you can either borrow the original or receive a photocopy to keep.


You can usually borrow books, but occasionally they may be restricted for use in the library only. Books must always be collected at the library counter.


ILL books are not owned by the University of Westminster, and all renewals are subject to approval by the lending library.

In the first instance, please check the insert found in the book. If the checkbox ‘No renewal’ has been ticked, the book must be returned by its given due date.

If this has not been checked, and you would like to renew the book, please contact the ILL team at 2-3 days before the due date. We will request a renewal from the supplier on your behalf and will notify you of their decision by email. There is no charge for this service, but please note that items are limited to one renewal.


UK PhD and MPhil theses

If you would like to access UK PhD and MPhil theses, you will need to register with EThOS, where you can download them directly. The British Library no longer supplies theses on microfilm through ILL. More information regarding EThOS can be found on the Ethos website.

Many theses are freely available, but if the thesis you want has not been made electronically available, there is a charge to digitise it. The digitisation process takes about 30 days. Members of staff and PhD students should contact the ILL team, who may request and pay for the digitisation on their behalf. We cannot meet the costs of digitisation for any other users.

Masters dissertations can be requested through the ILL service, but can be difficult to obtain.

International theses

You can look for international e-Theses through the search engine at the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD).

University of Westminster PhD theses

We have copies of all University of Westminster PhD and MPhil theses. Wherever possible, full texts are provided via the Library Search.

You can read more about the University's research outputs by visiting WestminsterResearch.

Other databases

  • Index to Theses: Our Library Search offers a comprehensive listing of theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland since 1716. Also included are 50,000 links to full-text theses.
  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I: This is available on-site only, to users of the British Library. It covers mainly the USA, but also includes content from some other countries and 1.2 million full-text theses.

When and where will my items arrive?

Most requests arrive within two weeks and will either be emailed to you or made available at your campus library counter. Some items can take longer, especially if they are not available in the UK.

We'll email you about the progress of your requests, but you can also check the progress yourself:

  1. Sign into your library account
  2. Click on ‘My Account’ and select ‘Requests’.
  3. Under ‘Type’ you should see ‘ILL’. You should also see one of the following statuses:
  • Created borrowing request – We have received your request, and are in the process of approving it.
  • Pending approval – We have sent you an email requesting either further information, or that you top-up your account. Please check your email, and respond to the ILL team, so that we can proceed with your order.
  • Request sent to partner – We have sent your request to a supplier, and are waiting for a response.
  • Physically received by library – We have received the loan and have sent it to your chosen destination.

Once an item has been issued to you, you can check the due date by signing into your library account and selecting ‘Loans’.

How to open digital article and chapter requests from the British Library

The ILL service now uses DRM Lite to open and download digital requests from the British Library.

We will send you an email with a link to download the item you’ve requested. Your request will be available for 30 days from the date you receive it and you can download your item as many times as you like during the 30 days.

Users need to be registered for British Library On Demand to open documents. This is a quick procedure and once you have registered, you will keep the same username and password to view and download future documents.

DRM Lite is an electronic delivery method that allows the British Library to supply secure, encrypted documents and ensures that the item is used only as permitted.

The document is locked to a user rather than a machine, meaning it can be viewed on any computer or mobile device.

Please note that you will need Adobe Reader 10 or above to access the files.

For guidelines and more information, please download our DRM Lite guide:

How many ILL requests can I make?

Undergraduate students can request 10 items per academic year.

Taught and research postgraduates and staff can request up to 99 items per academic year.

You cannot carry over unused requests to the next year.

You are allowed one renewal, subject to supplier approval.

Returning items

You can return your ILL requests to any campus library, but they cannot be returned at the self-service machines.

Contact us

Inter-Library loans
Content and Digital Services Team
Marylebone Campus Library
35 Marylebone Road,

For renewals:

For general enquiries:
T: +44 (0)203 506 9246
Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm