If we do not hold an item in our stock, you can request an item, either for the library service to buy or obtain from another local authority as an inter-library loan.
We will agree to buy the item you have requested subject to the discretion of our Stock Development Manager(s) who work in line with the stock policy of the library service.
If we buy the item you have requested you will be charged the normal reservation fee for your ticket. If we decide, or you have specifically requested an inter-library loan you will be charged the normal inter-library loan fee for your ticket and are subject to the lending restrictions of the local authority or higher education library we have loaned the item from. For more information about fees or fines for your ticket type, please visit the pay fees or fines section of our website.
If we have agreed to buy the item, this can take four to six weeks but is dependent on our suppliers and whether the item is currently in print. The item can take longer but our Stock Development Manager(s) will usually advise if this is the case. If we have passed your stock request over for an inter-library loan or you have specifically requested an inter-library loan, this can take the same amount of time and is dependent on national availability of the item from the local authorities or higher education libraries who take part in the inter-library loan scheme.
This differs depending on where the item has been loaned from. Some local authorities or higher education libraries will give us a similar loan time as you would get with any item of stock we hold (i.e. four weeks) but other local authorities or higher education libraries may request the item back in as little as 14 days. We do not control this as the inter-library loan is subject to the lending restrictions of the local authority or higher education library we have loaned the item from.
You should provide us with a valid email address when you make your request so we can email you to:
If you do not supply us with an email address, we will only contact to notify you that your request has been unsuccessful or being processed as an inter-library loan instead. This ensures you are aware of the increased fee you will need to pay on collection of the item. If we have bought the item, you will receive a phone call from the library when your item is ready for collection, as per the normal reservation procedure.
A reservation is for any item we already hold in stock on our catalogue. A request is for any item we do not already hold in our catalogue and you are requesting us to either buy for the library service (with a reservation placed on the item on your behalf) or inter-library loan from another library service on your behalf. The catalogue covers the stock held city-wide at each of our 17 branches and includes stock held in the stack at Central Library. You can search the catalogue yourself using the online catalogue. You will need your library card number and PIN to log in and make a reservation for any item we have in stock.
The library service will liaise with the local authority or higher education library the item has been loaned from to decide on an appropriate charge for the item. If the item has been loaned from the British Library this charge can be £150+.
You can reserve any item available on our online catalogue (which is the majority of our stock). Libraries hold small collections of stock which are for reference use only and can only be used in the library. This includes the homework collection for children.
If you cannot find an item on the online catalogue and you have tried searching using different terms i.e. the correct title, author, ISBN etc, it is likely that we do not stock the item. You can place a stock request at this point and the library service will consider buying the item or inter-library loaning the item for a fee.
You can reserve as many items as you want but if you pay reservation fees your ticket will be blocked if the unpaid balance is £10 or more (this would limit you to nine reservations until the balance is paid on your account). Children up to the age of 16 do not pay reservation fees but they can only have a maximum of 20 items on loan at one time so please bear this in mind.
Children under the age of 16 and those with a hearing and/or visual impairment do not have to pay reservation fees. For most adults, you will be charged a reservation fee (with a reduced fee for Passport to Leisure and Learning holders). The reservation fee should be paid when you place the reservation.
We regularly check our reservation shelves for uncollected reserves and return them to the branch they have come from (or to satisfy the next reservation in the queue) after around 10 days although this can vary by branch. You should be prompt collecting your reservations to ensure the item is not removed from the reservation shelf as an uncollected reserve.
If the item has already been sent to the library for collection we will expect you to pay the reservation fee as whilst the item has had a reservation placed on it for you it has been taken out of circulating stock which could prevent someone else from loaning the item. You should let us know as soon as possible after placing the reservation that you no longer want the item.
You should check with a member of staff about the status of the reservation. The reservation could be 'open' which means that it has not been found and staff may be able to place a reservation on a different copy of the item (i.e. a paperback version rather than the hardback version the reservation was placed on) or it may be that the item has not yet arrived at the branch ready for collection (this would be the case when our internal deliveries are cancelled).
If staff cannot find the item you have reserved they will make the item missing from stock and similarly if an item is found or returned and is in bad condition we may withdraw the item from stock. There are usually other copies of the item in the system to satisfy your reservation but if there aren't any, you will be offered a refund if you have paid the reservation fee or a free reservation next time.
You can renew any item you have on loan from us if the item is not required to satisfy another borrower's reservation. If you usually pay to hire CDs, DVDs or talking books, you will be charged hire fees on any subsequent renewals of these items which should be paid on return of the item.
If you are renewing an item in person there are two types of renewal; you can either bring the item(s) with you to be renewed or ask us to renew the item(s) on your ticket.
You can renew your items twice. If you were to renew your items on the day they are due back each time this would give you a maximum loan period of 12 weeks (for books and talking books), 3 weeks (for non-premium DVDs or CDs), or 6 nights (for premium DVDs). This "unseen renewal" limit counts if you renew online, over the phone, or at a self-service kiosk without the item being present.
If we cannot renew your items (or you cannot renew them on the online catalogue) that is either because you have renewed them the maximum number of times or the item is reserved by another borrower which in both cases means they need to be returned to the library.
You will be fined. Library staff only waive fines in exceptional circumstances. View current fees and fines.