The British Library's document supply service

Impact of Covid-19 - Update 25 January 2021

Following the latest government advice, the British Library is providing a reduced British Library On Demand Service. We will be able to supply content from our electronic stores and print collections based at Boston Spa. Content stored at St Pancras is unavailable until further notice.

We are prioritising requests to support NHS, Public Health and medical research as well as teaching in Higher Education. EHESS will continue to be available to support online learning.

Due to recent bad weather and the limited number of staff allowed onsite, the service may encounter delays. Our teams are endeavouring to catch up, but in the meantime some users may be asked to resubmit their requests.

As a result of the limited capacity, our speed of service times may be delayed. 

Urgent Medical and public health requests

We have put in place processes to provide an increased service to the NHS and health related organisations for urgent medical and public health needs.

In order to help us prioritise these requests effectively, can we ask that all requests for information for medical and public health related matters are submitted as urgent requests using our 2 hour urgent turnaround service. Please note that you will be charged the standard service charge and not the urgent service charge. We will not be providing an urgent turnaround time of 2 hours – this is simply a mechanism to enable us to prioritise these requests effectively


During this period we will no longer be issuing loan requests. The auto-renewal fee on loans will remain suspended until further notice. We will accept loan returns. Further information on how to return your loan items can be found here.

Contact us

If you have any queries or required further information our Customer Service Department are answering emails but have limited capacity to take phone calls.

We will increase our service provision when it is safe to do so. Please do bear with us and check back regularly for updates and the latest news. You can also follow us on twitter to keep up to date @ondemandBL.

What you need to know


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Public good

Information and specialist On Demand services for UK public sector organisations and charities


On Demand partners with publishers, rights organisations and others to bring you a better service


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Case studies

More Case studies
…Working with the British Library has been the best co-operative development I’ve ever experienced…

Jennifer Perkins from Clio tells us why her customers have seen a 75% reduction in failed requests since they integrated their Interlibrary Loans software with British Library On Demand

…British Library On Demand is a major pillar in our strategy, without it we couldn’t provide the service we do…

For the University of Sheffield, British Library On Demand does more than just supply articles. Their relationship with the British Library enables them to come good on their core promise to students and researchers.

News stories

On Demand operating hours this Christmas and New Year

8 December 2020

The British Library will have extended closing times over Christmas and New Year

Auto renewal fee on On Demand loans suspended

8 December 2020

The auto renewal fee on British Library On Demand loans will remain suspended until the new year.

Matching via the API

8 December 2020

Matching/searching our content using the On Demand API

Change in price to the CLA default Copyright fee

8 December 2020

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) default copyright fee will be rising from £20.00 to £22.50 on 1 January 2021.