Birkbeck Library > Using the Library > How do I ...? Frequently asked questions > Get materials we don't have in the Library

How do I - get materials not held in Birkbeck Library?

When you are researching a specialised topic, we may not have all the material you require at Birkbeck. However, there are various options open to you:

Open Access Button

For free, legal research articles and data try the Open Access Button to see if the paper/article is freely available, before making an interlibrary loan request.

open access button icon2

Interlibrary loans

Or, use our interlibrary loan service to request the book, chapter or article you need from another library and have it delivered to Birkbeck.

You don't need to know which library, you just need the details of the item you're looking for. Our interlibrary loan platform will search other libraries to find the items you need.

    How interlibrary loans work

    • You can borrow 10 items at any one time by interlibrary loan.
    • You must renew or return items before their due date.
    • We charge 50p a day for overdue items.
    • You can renew any item once at no cost, if the library it came from agrees to a renewal.
    • Further renewals of an item cost £5.00, again, as long as the library it came from agrees.
    • You'll get an email when your item arrives. Make sure you pick up promptly, we only hold them for you for a short time.

    How long will it take and how long will my loan be?

    • We can't tell you how long it will take to get your item, that's partly up to the library we request it from. The length of your loan is dependent on the library the item is requested from.

      Make and manage interlibrary loan requests

      Register or login to our interlibrary loan platform below using your Birkbeck username and password. 

      From there you can make and manage your interlibrary loan requests.

      Birkbeck Username:


      If you have any questions phone 020 7631 6363 or email

      Other libraries

      There are many other libraries that you can join giving you access to a vast range of academic resources in London and beyond. 

      Borrowing doctoral theses

      For doctoral theses, awarded by British universities, visit the British Library's Electronic Theses Online System (EThOS) web site.

      If the thesis you need was awarded by an overseas university you can request it as an interlibrary loan.