How to use the online book request system

  • Chat online — Monday-Friday, 14.00-16.00 and 18.00-20.00.

Before you start

  • Make sure you are eligible to use the online request system:
    • You must have registered with NLS. You can register online, which will give you a library card number to use with the online request system. When you visit for the first time, you can complete the process and get your card to use the reading rooms.
    • You must have a valid library card.
  • Check that the item you want is available to request online: see next section.


What you can / cannot order online

You can order books and monographs that registered readers can consult in the General Reading Room and the Special Collections Reading Room. The main catalogue will tell you where the item you want is stored and where you can consult it.

To request these items, you must use only the online system. We will not accept requests on printed application slips.

You cannot order online:

  • Journals, newspapers
  • Serial publications (e.g. annual directories)
  • Maps
  • Pre-1501 books (incunables, shelfmark: Inc)
  • Microfilms, microfiche, CD-ROMs, audio-visual material
  • Legal material held by the Advocates Library
  • Material on the open shelves in the General Reading Room.

Use a printed application slip to order these items, or email your request to


How to request books online

There are four steps to preordering books through the main catalogue:

  • Step 1Make sure you have your library card number handy.
    • You need this number to use the system.
  • Step 2Log in to the online system.
    • Go to the main catalogue and use the 'Login' button on the 'simple search' screen to enter the system
    • Enter your number and your surname. Make sure you type the number zero (0) and not the letter 'o'
    • Click the 'Login' button again
  • Step 3Search for your item.
    • Enter the details of your item in the search box
    • On the results page, follow the link to the catalogue record for the item
    • Check the 'status' of the item: if it does not say 'available', you cannot use this system to order it.
  • Step 4Request the item.
    • Use the 'OK' button on the catalogue record to continue
    • On the next screen — 'book request' — enter your library card number.
    • Use the 'comments' box to give us relevant information, for example:
      • Tell us if you have a specific date when you want to view material. Remember not to request items more than six days in advance of your visit.
    • Use the 'Submit' button to send your request.


Collect your material

When you submit an order you will be given an indication of how long the item will take to arrive.

  • Collect General Collection items from the Collection / Return Desk.
  • Collect Rare Book Collection items in the Special Collections Reading Room


Track your request

Go to 'My account' in the main catalogue to check the progress of your request and view any recent past requests.

Please note: We only process requests during our normal opening hours. If you submit your request remotely outwith these hours, we cannot process it immediately.


Preorders page

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