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Our services: Inter-Library Loans: How long does it take for items to arrive?

British Library service problems - Update.

The British Library is taking the first steps towards recovery following October's cyber-attack. A basic catalogue is available, and they are supplying loans from open stacks in the Lending Division (in Boston Spa, Yorkshire). E-journals and books held in the miles of compact shelving are currently still unavailable via inter-library loans.

British Library is just one of many libraries who supply books to Durham University, so the ILL team are working hard to source material from elsewhere. We should be able to source most books from other suppliers in the UK, but we are experiencing problems obtaining international material which is normally supplied via British Library. We will keep you updated as we find out more.  The ILL team will be happy to answer any queries regarding individual requests. Contact the ILL team at .

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How long does it take for items to arrive? 

  • Most inter-library loan items arrive in around a week. 48% of requests arrive within 2 days and 86% arrive within 7 days. 99% of requests are supplied within 30 days, but some requests can take longer to source, particularly if borrowed from abroad. 

    • On average scans from a UK supplier take 1.7 days to arrive. (From abroad the average is 14 days)

    • On average loans from a UK supplier take 7 days to arrive. (From abroad the average is 24 days but can be substantially longer)

    • Scans of whole theses via British Library's EThOS service average at 12 weeks (supply is generally between 6 to 17 weeks)

  • Fulfilment rates for scans is 94% and loans is 84%.

  • Allow 7-10 days before contacting us about an ongoing request. 

  • If you have an enquiry about your request, please email the Inter-Library Loans team.