The Directory of Library Codes enables British Library customers to convert into names and addresses the library codes they are given in response to location searches. It also indicates each library's supply and charging policies.
This information is specific to UK-registered customers of the British Library Document Supply services only and is unlikely to be of general interest to others. Please see the sections below for further information.
Last updated: October 2013
- How to obtain material via the national network
- How to search the Directory of Library Codes
- Information about the Directory of Library Codes
- Supply and charging policies
- How to process payments through the British Library
- How to claim from the British Library
- Download a PDF copy of the Directory of Library Codes
British Library Document Supply services
The British Library welcomes requests from any organisation. To order documents, you need to be a registered as a customer. Once you have registered, you will be sent full details of how to make best use of the service. To register your organisation use the link on the right.
Regional Library Systems
The Regional Library Systems are all constituted along similar lines, although membership subscriptions, and the range of services offered, vary considerably. We suggest that you visit the area's website, or contact the regional headquarters, to obtain current details.
The regional systems maintain union catalogues of the holdings of their member libraries, some being more comprehensive than others. In many cases they include the holdings of monographs, periodicals, newspapers, music, playsets, audio-visual works, etc. The Regional Library Systems also aim to facilitate the development of library services through cooperation. They work to improve the availability of resources within their areas, not just to exploit them.
|Libraries & Information East Midlands (LIEM)|
c/o Alfreton Library
|BL Code: QE/|
Tel: +44 (0)1773 835064
Fax: +44 (0)1773 831359
10-10a Princes Street
|Tel: +44 (0)1480 376041|
Fax: +44 (0)1480 376039
Library and Information Service
|BL Code: QL/|
Tel: +44 (0)1772 534047
|North East Museums, Libraries & Archives Council (NEMLAC)|
House of Recovery
Newcastle upon Tyne
|BL Code: QN/|
Tel: +44 (0)191 2221661
Fax: +44 (0)191 2614375
|South Western Regional Library System (SWRLS)|
|BL Code: QW/|
Tel: +44 (0)117 9273962
Fax: +44 (0)117 9230216
|Scottish Region Reference Services|
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
|BL Code: ED/N-1 or QZ/|
Tel: +44 (0)131 4663815
Fax: +44 (0)131 4663814
|An Chomhairle Leabharlanna|
The Library Council
53/54 Upper Mount Street
Republic of Ireland
|BL Code: DB/N-2|
Tel: +353 1 6761167 / 6761963
Fax: +353 1 6766721
To search the Directory of Library Codes use the search button on the tool bar, indicated as binoculars, or use CTRL + F to search any word or code.
Each record consists of a library code and most have a code consisting of letters/numbers signifying the library's supply and charging policies. The library's full address and contact details are also given e.g.
|LO/U-1||University of London|
|Policy code G4|
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8447
Fax: +44 (0)20 7862 8480
The main purpose of the Directory of Library Codes is to enable customers of the British Library to convert location codes they are given into the names, addresses and contacts of those libraries that may be able to supply items that are not available from the British Library's collections. It also indicates, in coded form, each library's supply and charging policies.
PLEASE NOTIFY any errors, omissions or amendments to:
The British Library
Boston Spa, Wetherby
When confirming your order with the supplying library you will need to send them details of your British Library code and a unique reference number. The supplying library will claim the agreed charges for supplying the item to you by submitting a claim to the British Library. We will charge the agreed amount to your account and reimburse the supplying library. You will be charged a small administration fee by the British Library for facilitating the financial transaction on your behalf.
Supply and charging policies are indicated by up to three letters and are shown above the phone number (e.g. GL2, J4, SL3 ).
Lending/photocopying policy codes
|F||These libraries do not lend books or serials but may be able to supply photocopies|
|G||These libraries do not lend serials but may lend books. They may be able to supply photocopies of serial articles|
|H||In general, these libraries neither lend material nor supply photocopies. They may, however, provide access for reference purposes.|
|J||These libraries supply photocopies and lend both books and serials|
|K||These libraries do not supply photocopies, but do lend serials and books|
|L||These libraries do not lend for home reading|
|S||Special conditions apply to these libraries - please see list below|
Pricing and charging policy codes
|2||These libraries charge in line with the British Library's current prices, or multiples thereof, and accept requests that quote a Customer Code and request reference number. Some may have special rates for libraries in ILL cooperative schemes (e. g. CONARLS, CURL etc.).|
|4||These libraries DO NOT charge in line with the British Library's current prices. requesters must quote their Customer Code and request reference number on their request.|
|5||These libraries charge for transactions independently of the British Library.|
|Note:||Most libraries prefer to receive requests for interlibrary loans after the British Library has been tried. Libraries should bear this in mind when deciding on the routing of their interlibrary loan requests.|
Category 'S' libraries
These include copyright deposit libraries and some former back-up libraries whose supply policies cannot be covered by F - L above.
|AB/N-1||Copyright deposit library|
The National Library of Wales, a back-up library to the British Library, does not, as a rule, permit external borrowing from its stock. However, when requests are made for monographs and periodicals which relate specifically to Wales or to the Celtic peoples in general, the library can draw upon its extensive collection of duplicate stock, which can be made available for external loan.
Charging policy is at the time of going to press in line with that of British Library but may change.
Nid yw'r arferol i Lyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru ganiatáu benthycíadau allanol. Fodd bynnag, pan wneir ceisiadau am ddeunydd sy'n benodol Gymreig, neu sy'n ymwneud â'r bobl Geltaidd yn gyffredinol, mae modd i'r Llyfrgell dynnu ar ei stoc sylweddol o ddyblygion gan wneud eitemau o'r fath ar gael i fenthycíadau allanol.
|CA/U-1||Copyright deposit library|
Cambridge University Library, a back-up library to the British Library, can supply a full photocopying service and will lend a considerable percentage of its holdings except:
|DB/U-1||Copyright deposit library|
Trinity College Dublin, a back-up library to the British Library, will accept requests that quote a Customer Code and request reference number. It will not lend periodicals, material published within the last 5 years or pre-1920 material. It will lend theses, but there is an added charge for postage.
Copyright deposit library
Charging policy is in line with that of the British Library.
The Royal Society of Medicine, a back-up library to the British Library, can supply a full photocopying service and will lend a considerable percentage of its holdings except for:
|LO/N-2||The Natural History Museum, a back-up library to the British Library, does not lend books or serials but will normally be able to supply photocopies(subject to copyright and preservation constraints). The Library accepts requests that quote a Customer Code and request reference number, or the Library can invoice you directly using the Natural History Museum's current scale of charges.|
|LO/U-3||The LSE Library (BLPES), a back-up library to the British Library, does not lend serials but may lend books. It may be able to supply photocopies of serial articles. The LSE Library does not photocopy or lend materials from certain special collections, including: |
|LO/U14||The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), a back-up library to the British Library, supplies photocopies but does not lend serials. It lends books except: |
Copyright deposit library
The Bodleian Library, a back-up library to the British Library, will accept requests for items from collections held in storage, and can also supply photocopies, subject to copyright law and conservation considerations. Items loaned are for use in the library only.
It will not lend:
|OX/U-8||Copyright deposit library|
The Radcliffe Science Library, a back-up library to the British Library. Same conditions/restrictions apply as for OX/U-1, above.
|OX/U-9||Copyright deposit library|
Rhodes House Library, a back-up library to the British Library. Same conditions/restrictions apply as for OX/U-1 above.
|OX/U-15||Copyright deposit library|
The Bodleian Law Library, a back-up library to the British Library, will lend items not available from the British Library.
Will not lend:
|OX/U-19||The Taylor Institution, a back-up library to the British Library.|
|OX/U80||The Bodleian Japanese Library, a back-up library to the British Library.|
British Library departments
The following libraries are departments within the British Library. Any requests for their stock must be sent through the British Library's Document Supply service (library code XY/N-1) unless otherwise stated.
LO/N-1 The British Library, London Document Supply Unit
Acts as a back-up to the British Library's Document Supply service for supply of photocopies of post-1800 serial articles and as a 'last resort' back-up for the loan, in some circumstances, of limited categories of post-1950 books in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The London Document Supply Unit will only lend to UK customers and will not lend for home reading.
LO/N12 British Library Oriental and India Office
Will not lend for home reading. Will not lend material published before 1948. Will not lend any serial parts or reference material. Acts as a 'last resort' back-up to the British Library's Document Supply services. All requests must be sent via XY/N-1.
LO/N13 British Library Science, Technology and Business
Will not normally lend any material. Requests for photocopies of serial articles should be sent via XY/N-1. British Library Science, Technology and Business Is also the national centre for the supply of patents.
LO/N37 British Library Manuscript Collection
Fully-referenced requests for reproductions (not photocopies) of manuscripts can be made directly through British Library Reproductions. More information is available on the Imaging Services link on the right.
LO/N38 British Library Newspapers
Will not lend any material. Acts as a back-up for requests sent via XY/N-1 for supply of photocopies of newspaper articles. Will accept requests sent by mail, fax or email to its own photographic service.
British Library Newspapers, Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5HE
Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7353 Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7379
LO/N64 British Library National Sound Archive
Will not lend any material. Acts as a back-up for requests sent via XY/N-1 for supply of serial articles. Requests must not be sent direct to LO/N64. Recordings can be accessed in listening areas in St Pancras and the Boston Spa Reading Room.
XY/N-1 British Library Document Supply service
No restrictions for registered customers.
Notes for suppliers and requesters
The British Library will process payments for third party interlending. The contract, however, remains between supplier and requester, and prices must be agreed between the parties; the British Library is only processing the payment on instruction from the supplier. The British Library charges a small administration fee to cover the costs of providing this service.
Ordering from location libraries
After agreeing or finding out the supplying library's charges (see Supply and charging policies), you can send your request to them by fax or email. You must quote your Customer Code and allocate a request reference number on each item you are requesting. At this stage you are giving a mandate to the supplier to instruct the British Library to debit your account with the agreed charge if the item is supplied. The supplying library then sends a claim to the British Library for any items they have supplied, listing charges, the requesting library's Customer Code and request reference number (please see section How to claim from the British Library for more details). We will then credit the supplier the total amount of the claim and debit individual requesting libraries accordingly. Requesters should keep a record of the reference number of supplied items so they can match them to the charges when they appear on their usage statement. We will add a small administration fee to each item charged to cover the cost of the service.
Supplying libraries should send their claims to the British Library at least once a month; requesting libraries will expect charges to be made promptly to their account.
Your claim must quote your own Customer Code and provide the following information for each satisfied request for which you are making a claim:
- requester's Customer Code
- request reference number given by requester
- whether the item was supplied as a loan or photocopy
- price, excluding VAT
So that we can process claims as efficiently as possible, we strongly recommend you provide a listing of all items supplied each week, rather than individual returns/forms for each item supplied. We reserve the right to return incomplete or incorrect claims.
We will credit your account with the total value of the claim, including VAT for photocopy supplies. If you quote a claim reference number for each claim, we will quote this on your monthly credit statement. If you are a regular net lender, i.e. your supplies to other libraries are regularly more than your use of the British Library, we can arrange for payments to be made to you in the form of a Bank Transfer (please clearly mark your claim).
British Library template for claims
An online claim form is available to help you send your claim. Claims made via the online form will usually be credited to your British Library account within 3 working days. Payments made by Bank transfer will take between 1 and 2 weeks.