Inter-library loan service

Borrowing books or journal articles

Books or journal articles not in stock can be borrowed from other libraries using the inter-library loan service. Please fill in our Request a book form or a Request a journal article form with as much detail as possible. If an item is required urgently for patient care please phone the library.

Who can use the inter-library loan service

The supply of loan items and photocopies of articles from other libraries is available to all NHS staff in Cornwall, UEMS staff and students, and private members of the library (some user groups may incur charges) who are registered with the library.

How to request

Requests can be submitted by one of the following:

What to include

When submitting a request please include the following where possible:

  • Title of journal or book
  • Title of journal article (or book chapter if required)
  • Author of article (if chapter please give editor of the book and author of the chapter)
  • Year
  • Journal volume
  • Journal issue (if known)
  • Page numbers
  • Book edition
  • Your name (printed)
  • Library card number
  • Work address (if NHS employee) or home address
  • Contact number

If using the Inter-library loan request form accept the conditions of the copyright disclaimer by ticking the checkbox.

Please state if you are NHS or UEMS and if the item is required for patient care, research or university work.

Collection of items


  • Photocopies of articles will be sent via the NHS courier service unless requested for collection from the library or to be sent to a home address.
  • If the item is to be collected from the library we will inform you of its arrival. Items will be held for 6 weeks upon notification.

Inter-library loan items

Staff based on the Royal Cornwall Hospital or Bodmin Hospital site must collect loan items from the library.

NHS staff based in the community will have loan items sent to their work base via the courier service. Conditions of use may apply to some items and we will inform you of these when known.

  • Loan items are not sent to a home address.
  • Notification is by your work/university email.
  • All loan items are the responsibility of the borrower until received by the library.

Uncollected inter-library loan items

  • If a loan item has not been collected by the due date it will be returned to the lending library.
  • Uncollected items will not be renewed.
  • Clients wishing to reorder an uncollected item must wait 4 weeks from the original return date before resubmitting a request for it.

Renewal of inter-library loan items

  • Loan items may be renewed once at the discretion of the lending library.
  • If an item is recalled please return it to the Knowledge Spa or Banham House library at the earliest opportunity.

Returning inter-library loan items

  • All loan items must be returned to the library at the Knowledge Spa or Banham House by the due date.
  • They can be handed in at the issue desk or sent via the NHS courier service, clearly addressed and packaged.

Lost or non-returned inter-library loan items

  • If a loan item is lost or not returned a fine may be imposed for its replacement.
  • This is usually the cost of the item plus an administrative fee of £20.
  • In the case of a lost British Library item there is a minimum charge of £137.50.

Failed requests

  • Whilst the library will make every effort to obtain requested items this is not always possible.
  • The library will inform you of such a situation.
  • If the request details are inaccurate or illegible they will be returned to you for re-submission.
  • The library will try to obtain requested items as quickly as possible and will inform you of any known delays.
  • Please allow 10-15 working days from submitting the request before chasing.

Urgent patient care

  • If an item is required for urgent patient care please ring the library on 01872 256444 with your request so we can act on it.
  • We will supply the item as soon as possible even if a Copyright Declaration is required.

What charges are there?

  • Peninsula Dental School and Faculty of Health staff and students request via Plymouth University.
  • ECEHH staff and students request via University of Exeter.

Further queries

If you have any queries about this service then please contact the Cornwall Health Library.

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2022

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