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Interlibrary Loans: Interlibrary loans

About interlibrary loans

Books and journal articles which are not available at the library can be ordered from other university and research libraries, both domestic and foreign. These services are intended for RU staff and students. RU students pursuing exchange studies at foreign universities should turn to the university library of the university in question. Other university and research libraries can borrow materials from RU library collections for their patrons.

The interlibrary loan service will be closed July 1st - August 12th due to summer holidays

Book orders must be received by June 14th

Contact us

Please send us an email with any questions regarding interlibrary loans or visit our circulation desk and get assistance. 

About interlibrary loans

How long does it take for materials to arrive?*

Requests are usually processed on the same day by LIRU.


  • 1-3 weekdays for electronic delivery
  • 7-14 days if the article is sent via mail. Due to copyright laws, some libraries (especially in the Nordic countries) only send articles via traditional mail.


  • From libraries within Iceland: up to 3 weekdays
  • From the Nordic countries: 7-14 days
  • From other countries: 10-14 days

*It is assumed that the requested material is available

How will I know when requested material has arrived?

You´ll receive a notification via e-mail when your material has arrived in the library.

How do I retrieve my interlibrary loan?

Orders must be picked up at the library. RU employees, though, can request that articles be sent to their office.

Due to agreements with other libraries, it is not permissible to forward articles electronically. Articles are therefore solely delivered in printed format.

Each library sets its own rules for borrowing materials, but the loan period is usually 4 weeks.

Books from the collections of the Central Bank of Iceland, the Althing, and other government libraries that are prepared to loan materials, are only on reading room loan, that is, they must be read within the library.

Good collaboration with other libraries is necessary for good interlibrary loan services. It is therefore very important to respect the loan period we are given.

Renewal of interlibrary loans:

If the loan period is not sufficient, borrowers can request a renewal when the due date draws near. The loan is usually renewed if no one else is waiting for the item in question.

Who can request interlibrary loans?

  • RU staff and students

  • University and research libraries in Iceland

  • Foreign libraries

What can be requested?

Books, book chapters, articles from published journals, reports, and other published material that can be ordered from other libraries.

From where do we order?

  • University and research libraries in Iceland collaborate on interlibrary loans. A small number of specialist libraries are excluded, for example, the Lögberg library and the Supreme Court of Iceland.  We do not order books from the National and University Library of Iceland, the School of Education at the University of Iceland, and the library of the Iceland Academy of the Arts for students for the reason that students can purchase a card at those libraries.
  • Books are mainly ordered from the Nordic countries, but also from Germany and the UK, as well as other countries if necessary.
  • Journal articles are ordered from libraries from all around, though mostly from libraries in Germany.

Books are not ordered from public libraries in Iceland.

How do I request an interlibrary loan?

Request a book

  • Before requesting a book, check at whether the book is available at RU library.
  • If the book is not available, you can either choose the ILL Request option on or fill out the form  ILL request for book on the Library web

Request an article

Familiarise yourself with the price list of the library before sending the library a request for an interlibrary loan.


Staff and doctoral students receive all interlibrary loans free of charge.
Master's students receive 5 interlibrary loans per semester free of charge but pay according to the price list for more.

Price list

Journal articles: 1.000 ISK


  • From a domestic library          1.000 ISK
  • From a foreign library             1.500 ISK

Book chapters

  • See journal articles

Patrons are responsible for materials that they have borrowed and are not permitted to loan the material to others. If an item is damaged or lost, the borrower, that is, the person registered for the loan, is responsible and may have to pay for a new copy. An attempt is made to assess the cost of purchasing a new item, but the minimum fee is 8.000 ISK.