Universität Bonn

University and State Library

Inter-library loan

You cannot find media items at the University of Bonn? You can request literature via inter-library loan. You can do so online from any Internet access point at any time. Log-in to the inter-library loan system using your bonnus account data. To place an order, you have to log-in to the inter-library loan system and search for the required work or the article and submit your order. 

We will gladly take care of the supply from another inland or foreign library. 

A book trolley stands in front of a van
© Volker Lannert / Universität Bonn

Document delivery services

Document delivery service offers an alternative to the conventional inter-library loan. The delivery times are often shorter as ordered literature will directly be sent to your place of work. However, the costs are often higher than the inter-library loan fees. An example for such a service is Subito.

Frequently Asked Questions

The inter-library loan service offers you the opportunity to request literature that is not held in a library in Bonn in an easy manner via the internet from another library.

The requirement for this is that you are registered (with the Main Library or MNL Branch Library) and own a password.

As soon as the requested item has been delivered, you will receive a notification by post or email and can pick it up or view it in the Main Library or the MNL Branch Library.
Terms and conditions for inter-library loans between libraries are regulated by the inter-library loan code (LVO - in German).

Inter-library loan requests are subject to charge. The fee is an order fee levied for every request, irrespective of whether the requested medium is going to be delivered or not.

The fee is 1,50 €.

A postage fee may be charged for a postal notification, if necessary, and if you did not provide an email address with which we can inform you about the arrival of the requested medium. The inter-library loan fee will be posted to "your account" automatically after having submitted your request.

Large article requests over 40 pages long may be subject to an additional charge. In order to avoid any delay due to queries, we kindly ask you to include a budget at the time of order within which you bear the incurred additional cost. 

The legal basis for the inter-library loan is specified in the schedule of fees for the library system of the University of Bonn.

If the desired title is available in a library in North Rhine-Westphalia, the delivery time will approximately be 1 – 2 weeks. You can expect the delivery of a requested article from a library in North Rhine-Westphalia within five working days.

Orders from libraries outside NRW have a delivery time as of three weeks. In order to avoid a delivery of a requested medium that is no longer required at that point in time, you can enter an "end date" beyond which you are no longer interested in a delivery.

This, however, does not lead to an accelerated processing and also not to a cancellation of the order fee, but serves as a means of avoiding unnecessary deliveries.

Once you are certain that the required book is not available in a library in Bonn, after having performed a literature search, proceed as follows:

  1. Click on the button "Access to the interlibrary loan system" on this web page.
  2. Log in with your user number (see the back of your library card) and password.
  3. After logging in, the order form for "Books and Book chapters" will appear
  4. Enter one or two meaningful keywords from the book title and/or the author's last name and start your search for a delivery library.
  5. Select the desired title from the hit list, which has the most owning libraries in the overview display, for your order.
  6. If the title you are looking for is still in the holdings of the USL Bonn, an ILL request will be rejected and instead you will be taken directly to bonnus via a link.
  7. There you will see the title you are looking for with its signature, location and loan status.
  8. If your search in all union catalogs does not lead to any hits, select under "To ILL Order Form" whether you would like to have the whole book or only a section / chapter (e.g. individual contribution from a collective work) as a copy.
  9. Finally, you have the option to enter further details on delivery conditions, pick-up location ((Hauptbibliothek Adenauerallee oder Abteilungsbibliothek MNL)) or issue location (Leihstelle oder Lesesaal).
  10. Now click on "Order now".

If your ILL request has been successfully submitted, the fee will automatically be debited to your user account. You will receive an order confirmation together with the order number, with which you can inform yourself about the current processing status of your order anytime in your ILL-account.

Once you are certain that the required journal is not available in a library in Bonn, after having performed a literature search, proceed as follows:

  1. Click on the button "Access to the interlibrary loan system" on this web page.
  2. Log in with your user number (see the back of your library card) and password
  3. From the Interlibrary Loan pull-down menu, select "ILL: Journal articles".
  4. Enter the title of the journal in which the article appeared, or keywords from the journal title that make sense, and start the search. You cannot search for the article title at this point.
  5. As a search result you will get a list of short titles or a single short title of journals. If there are several references, you can identify which hit is correct for you by the place of publication, the issuing body or the volumes referenced.
  6. Click on the button "To ILL Order Form" next to the desired journal title. Now enter the details of the desired article as completely as possible in the order form.
  7. You will receive the article as a direct electronic delivery to the first email address listed in your library account. In exceptional cases, the delivery is made as a paper copy, which you will pick up at the library. For University of Bonn employees, the pickup method noted in the library system applies. Unless otherwise notified, this user group will receive articles delivered in paper form via inhouse mail.
  8. Please enter an amount under "I will refund copy costs up to a maximum of (in Euro):" up to which you are willing to bear additional costs besides the interlibrary loan fee, if applicable. You may be required by the supplying library for essay orders exceeding 40 pages.
  9. Click "Order Now" to complete your order.

As soon as your request has been successfully submitted, the ILL fee will automatically be debited to your user account and you will receive an order confirmation together with the order number or transaction number (e.g. TAN 27WCHG), with which you can check the current processing status of your ILL request anytime in your ILL-account

In the event that you did not receive any search results, you can enter the book or journal title with the bibliographic data in the order form.
Take into account that the delivery of such an order may be delayed due to longer processing times. When placing free-text orders, comprehensive data is particularly important. In addition, enter bibliographic references and source references in the field "comments".

The inter-library loan terms and conditions in Germany are governed by the inter-library loan code (LVO - in German). It further defines what kind of media items are excluded from inter-library loans:

  • Literature available at a publicly accessible library on-site. If you order a book, that is available at a library in Bonn, the system will normally reject your request.
  • Inexpensive works which are cheaply available on the market. The processing costs should not be higher than the sale price of book. The current price limit is fixed at 15 €.
  • Works of particular value, in particular works from the 16th or 17th century. Furthermore, most libraries have excluded works from the 18th century from the inter-library loan.
  • Loose-leaf collections, unbound journals and folios
  • Works in poor condition
  • Electronic resources

Further information:

  • Only in exceptional cases can Master’s theses, diplom dissertations, examination papers be delivered.
  • You can gladly recommend new publications for acquisition [LINK zum Formular Anschaffungsvorschlag, liegt noch nicht auf Englisch vor].
  • Please check before requesting precious, rare or old works whether a secondary format (microfilm, digital copy or the like) exists or fix a budget for a reproduction. In many cases, copies or microfilms can be produced, as far as copyright law permits it.
  • In case of doubt, do not hesitate to contact our ILL Department.

After your request has been accepted, an algorithm in the central ILL system determines the order of supplying libraries.

In case the first library cannot deliver your requested  item, the order will automatically be passed on to the next library by the central ILL server until it is dealt with positively.

Delivery will be made directly to the library which will notify you about the arrival. You will also receive a notification if no library can carry out your request.

In addition to the functions of book or article order, the inter-library loan module also contains the so-called "inter-library loan account" where your orders are listed in detail.

Here, you can view the processing status of individual orders by entering the order number or the transaction numbers.

Or you can also display an overview of all orders with the current status in your account of bonnus. You can also find information on inter-library loans you have requested, or have currently checked out. Information on the processing status of orders in progress, however, are not possible here.

As soon as your order has arrived, you will receive an email (free of charge) or a letter of notification (postal charge) from us.

The delivered items can be collected within a period of 12 opening days.

Loan periods for books are fixed differently by the individual supplying libraries. As a general rule, the loan period is 28 opening days. The USL is bound by conditions set by supplying libraries (loan periods, copy prohibition, usage only in the reading room).

Please refer to the date card attached to the medium upon collection to inform yourself about the loan period in "your account" in bonnus or the ILL account.

The supplier library sets the time limit and offers the possibility of an extension on a case-by-case basis. If you need an item longer than the loan period allows, try to request a renewal of the item early enough by sending an email to fernleihe@ulb.uni-bonn.de.

As soon as the loan period has expired, a renewal is no longer possible.

The supplying library can apply certain restrictions regarding the usage of their media delivered to another library, e.g. the medium can only be used in the reading room or copying is prohibited and so forth. We must pass these restrictions on to you.

Irrespective of this, inter-library loan items published before 1900, are, in principle, only permitted to be used in the manuscript reading room.

In principle, the borrowed item has to be returned to the branch library where you have borrowed the item.

If a request cannot be carried out by a library in Germany, an order via international loan service is possible. Charges and delivery times of international loans vary considerably.

Our ILL department will gladly give you information on the details.


Inter-library loan, delivery service

We will gladly answer your questions about the inter-library loan: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.


+49 228 / 73-73 72



Main Library

Mon - Fri: 9 am to 7 pm

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