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Borrow, Renew, Return: Request a Resource

How to request a resource

Can’t find what you’re looking for? The University of Suffolk Library can attempt to source material via our resource request service. We can either: 

See below for more information. 

Interlibrary Loans

The Interlibrary Loan Service allows University of Suffolk Library patrons to borrow materials unavailable in our existing collections from other institutions in the UK and internationally. 

The library can request the following resources via our interlibrary loan scheme: 

Print book  Borrowed and loaned to the requesting patron for a period set by the lending library.  
10% or a chapter of an eBook (where print alternative is unavailable)   Supplied in electronic format (PDF) via Article Exchange; can be downloaded for up to 30 days after receipt.
Journal articles, reports and conference papers   Supplied in electronic format (PDF) via Article Exchange; can be downloaded for up to 30 days after receipt.
Dissertations and Theses (not available in EThOS)  Supplied in electronic format (PDF) via Article Exchange; can be downloaded for up to 30 days after receipt.

The library will not request items held in its existing collections, or available free of charge online.  

If an item you require is on loan or reserved by another user, you should:  

If an item you require is only available in a format you are unable to access, you should:  

  • Complete a stock request form  
  • If you have a reasonable adjustment which necessitates access in a specific format, please email 

All requests must be utilised for non-commercial research purposes or private study. To request teaching materials, please see here.  

Who can make requests? 

All students/staff based at the University of Suffolk Ipswich campus are entitled to unlimited requests free of charge.  

External Public and Alumni members are entitled to unlimited requests, subject to charges outlined below. 

University of Suffolk Partner Students/Staff and SCONUL Members are not entitled to make interlibrary loan requests and will be redirected to their home institution for further support.  

How many requests can I make? 

Patrons are entitled to 10 active requests at any one time. 

There is no formalised limit on the overall number of requests library patrons can make. However, the interlibrary loan service operates under the expectation of reasonable usage, as defined below:  

  • Total requests made correlate with the anticipated research needs of the patron (i.e., the library expects a higher number of requests from research-active members of staff than it does undergraduate students).  
  • Requests cannot be easily substituted by another resource in our existing collection.  
  • Requests are made with due consideration for our service level agreements and anticipated processing times.  
  • Requests are unique and have not been made by the patron on multiple occasions. 

Patrons may be directed to liaise with their aligned Learning and Teaching Librarian if it is noted that their requests do not meet the above criteria. 

External Alumni and members of the Public must liaise with the Library Helpdesk before attempting to place interlibrary loan requests. All requests for external members will incur fixed charges.

Are there any charges? 

All internal library patrons (defined as University of Suffolk students and staff based at the Ipswich campus) may make interlibrary loan requests free of charge.  

University of Suffolk students will be liable to pay a renewal fee (as below) if they wish to extend the loan period of any print item.  

All library patrons will be liable to pay a replacement charge if a loaned book is lost or damaged (as below).  

Service Applicable to Cost

Delivery of a digital copy  

(from an eBook or journal) 

Alumni External Members 

Public External Members 

Book Loan 

Alumni External Members 

Public External Members 

Book Renewal 

University of Suffolk Students 

Alumni External Members 

Public External Members 

Lost or damaged Book  

University of Suffolk Students 

University of Suffolk Staff 

Alumni External Members 

Public External Members 

£100.00 or cost of the item

(whichever is lower) 

How long does it take? 

Most interlibrary loan requests are completed within 10 working days. However, requests may be submitted to several national and international institutions; as such, the library is not accountable for the duration of time taken to fulfil requests beyond the service level agreements outlined below. 

The library will: 

  • Review and action all new requests within 3 working days.  
  • Receive and make available for loan all borrowed items within 3 working days.  
  • Notify patrons within 3 working days if we are unable to fulfil requests. 

In return, we ask that you: 

  • Supply an accurate need-by date of 10 days or more. The library reserves the right to amend need by dates of less than 10 days. Requests will be automatically cancelled if the need by date is reached, and further action is required.  
  • Respond to information requests from the library within 7 days. The library reserves the right to cancel requests which have not received a response after this grace period.  

Submitting your Request

Requests can be submitted by completing the ILL Request Form, available here:  

Patrons may also elect to browse for titles not available in our collection via the “Libraries Worldwide” function on Discovery, and place requests by clicking the “Request Interlibrary Loan” button.  

When completing the ILL Request Form, patrons will be required to select a “Need By” date. We require a minimum of 10 days to process all requests; we reserve the right to manually amend “Need By” dates which do not adhere to this time frame.  

Accessing Digital Copies

Where online resources (eBook chapters, journal articles, dissertations etc.) are requested, they will be supplied via digital download.  

A PDF will be uploaded to the library’s secure server, Article Exchange. The patron will be provided with a password to access the document.  

The document will be available for 30 days only; the library is unable to extend or amend this period due to copyright restrictions. Patrons cannot request the same article more than once; it is the patron’s responsibility to ensure the request is downloaded and saved in an appropriate location to ensure continued access.  


Where books are requested, they will be supplied either on a loan or reference-only basis at the discretion of the lending library.  

Where books are loanable, they should be collected from the library helpdesk. Items will be issued to patron accounts for the duration of the lending library’s loan period minus 5 working days. Loans should be returned directly to the library helpdesk. Where books are not returned to us by the specified date, a £5.00 renewal charge will be incurred.  

Books may be supplied on a reference-only basis at the discretion of the lending library. In this instance, the patron must use the book within the library building and return it when they leave. The book will be accessible for the duration of the loan period.


Where loaned books are required for longer than the specified loan period, a renewal request should be submitted via the patron’s library account on the “Request” tab or by emailing

Renewals are granted at the discretion of the lending library and may be denied in some instances. Until otherwise confirmed by the library, patrons should assume the original due date stands.

Where renewals are granted, a £5.00 cost will be incurred for all patrons other than University of Suffolk staff.  

Stock Suggestions

You can also submit a purchase request or stock suggestion. Where possible, the library will purchase items as permanent additions to the collection. All Ipswich-based University of Suffolk students and staff are entitled to submit stock suggestions. Students at partner institutions should direct all stock suggestions to their home library. 

Please note that we while we will always endeavour to purchase stock suggestions, we may not be able to do so: 

  • If the resource is too costly
  • If the resource is out of print, or difficult to obtain 
  • If the resource is likely to have low or limited usage

In these instances, we will usually suggest that you submit and interlibrary loan request.

To submit your stock suggestion, simply complete the form below.

Stock Request Form (Online Form)


Once you submit your request, a Librarian will contact you within five business days to inform you of the outcome. 

Please note that it may take some time for resources to become accessible after purchase. The processing time varies depending on the format: eBooks are typically available within two weeks of purchase, whereas print books may take up to two months to be stocked. The librarian handling your request will provide guidance on the estimated wait times as appropriate.