Australian Interlibrary Resource Sharing (ILRS) Code

Australian Interlibrary Resource Sharing (ILRS) Code

July 2021

The review of the ILRS Code in 2019 recommended a new approach to determining the price increases for interlibrary lending fees. The ALIA Board accept the recommendation that the ILRS Code increase each year in line with inflation understanding that the increases will vary year to year. The inflation rate from March 2020 to March 2021 was 1.1%.  The table below shows the recommended fees (rounded up/down to the nearest 10 cents) for July 2021 to June 2022.

December 2019

The Australian ILRS Code, December 2019, replaces the code adopted by the library sector in 2013, and will come into effect on 1 April 2020.  

The ILRS Code benefits Australian libraries and their users by providing greater predictability, consistency, and flexibility in obtaining materials.

The ILRS Code has been endorsed by the Australia Library Peak bodies including Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA), the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the National Library of Australia.

The Interlibrary Resource Sharing (ILRS) Code (together with the Best Practice Guidelines) is designed to support a multi-faceted approach to resource sharing based on reciprocality, cooperation and fairness between libraries, respect for the moral and intellectual rights of creators and publishers and compliance with legal and contractual obligations.

In supporting the ILRS Code, Australian libraries recognise that resource sharing is important in meeting the needs of library users but that it should not be a substitute for the purchase of library materials to meet the primary needs of its users. The purpose of resource sharing is to obtain those materials that a library cannot purchase because they fall outside the scope of the library's collection development policy or are otherwise not available such as the material is out of print.


Although the ILRS Code is voluntary all libraries participating in resource sharing are encouraged to operate under the principles and implement the service level standards specified to ensure an efficient and effective system. The core service is mandatory. Libraries are encouraged to offer all three service levels where possible. Core and Rush levels must be provided before offering the higher Express level. Maximum prices are recommended for each service level. The charge drops to the service level delivered when a supplying library fails to meet the turnaround time. Libraries should note that the ILRS code prices are recommended only. In applying charges libraries should only seek to recover costs and should alert other libraries where costs exceed the ILRS Code recommended prices.  The Best Practice Guidelines are intended to work with the Code to assist libraries in providing Resource sharing services.


Libraries participating under this ILRS Code agree to observe the following principles:

Both requesting and supplying libraries assumes responsibility for:

  1. Complying with the service-level standards.
  2. Maintaining their ILRS directory entry and
    1. publishing their resource sharing policy
    2. listing the service levels supported
    3. listing all charges and;
    4. ensuring contact details are correct.
  3. Processing requests promptly, improving services and review processes following best practice under each service level standard.
  4. Maintaining their holdings by
    1. recording up-to-date holdings including holdings of electronic resources
    2. ensuring where possible availability for resource sharing (insofar as contractual agreements permit).
  5. Ensuring that if the Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD) is used to identify holdings for requests, where possible commit to making holdings available and up-to-date.
  6. Complying with obligations under the Copyright Act.
  7. Ensuring the confidentiality of the requesting patron is respected.
  8. Undertaking regular housekeeping, completing processes such as received, check-in, returned.

Requesting library assumes responsibility for:

  1. Complying with the policies, any special provisions on the use of material and restrictions of potential supplying libraries, as published in their ILRS Directory entry.
  2. Providing the most complete bibliographic details and call numbers of the supplying library as possible. 
  3. Checking holdings, availability, acceptable formats and licence permissions as much as possible before sending the request
  4. Ensuring requests comply with the Copyright Act (including unmediated requests).
  5. Unmediated requests particularly where the requesting library allows direct delivery to its users, i.e. unmediated access with patron delivery including:
    1. authenticating and authorising users 
    2. delivery details are accurate

6. Paying all authorised charges imposed by the supplying library including express delivery.

7. Delivery costs for returning borrowed items.

8. Safety of borrowed material, and payment for the loss or damage of the material whilst at the requesting library or in transit back to the supplying library.

9. Safety of borrowed material, and payment for the loss or damage of the material whilst at the requesting library or in transit back to the supplying library.

10. Ensuring borrowers know the date for the return of loans, honour the due date and where libraries permit renewal place the renewal before the due date.

Supplying library assumes responsibility for:

  1. Supplying an item within the turnaround time of the service level requested and if unable to supply, advising the requesting library promptly. 
  2. Supplying the item requested and checking with the requesting library if your holdings do not exactly match the requested material and format.
  3. Copy requests, supplying the best copy possible, in accordance with efficient work processes, and notifying the requesting library if a quality copy is not available.
  4. Adding a reason for non-supply is advised for example, not found as cited, request appears to breach provisions of the Copyright Act.
  5. Offering a range of efficient payment methods where possible, such as the national automated payments service through Libraries Australia Document Delivery, electronic funds transfer (EFT) or credit card. 
  6. Providing a loan period of 4 weeks minimum; however, a longer period is preferred to include transit between libraries.
  7. Material lost in transit to the requesting library.
  8. Considering all requests for material regardless of format, i.e. to avoid blanket restrictions where possible, however the decision to supply materials is at the discretion of the supplying library and subject to any licensing conditions that may apply.
  9. Ensuring the material is addressed correctly when sending to the requesting library. 


Supplier turnaround time

The time between when a supplying library receives a request to when the supplying library dispatches the item, communicates with the requesting library or indicates it cannot supply the item.


(a) a library all or part of whose collection is accessible to members of the public directly or through interlibrary loans; or

(b) a library whose principal purpose is to provide library services for members of a Parliament; or

(c) an archives all or part of whose collection is accessible to members of the public.

Working day

9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. Always check libraries’ ILRS directory entry for the operating hours if time is critical. 

Recommended prices

All recommended prices are GST inclusive.

Default delivery modes

To be used when the requesting library has not specified a delivery method.

Best copy possible

The copy is the highest possible quality for readability by the user, obtainable within efficient work processes.

[1] Library definition from the Australian Copyright Act 1968,

Service-level standards

For Information Only: These recommended prices have been established to provide participants with predictability of budget in regard to services provided by other participants of the Australian resource sharing network. Participants must independently determine the price for their service.

Service type

Maximum supplier turnaround time*

Recommended prices include default delivery fees

Default delivery modes


2 hours: The item or a negative response is sent within two hours of receiving the request, or, if the item is to be sent by mail, dispatched in time for last collection same day or next working day depending on when it was received.

(Requesting libraries are recommended to telephone to alert to an Express request

Copy: $56.10

Loan: $71.30

Copy: Electronic delivery.

Loan: Express post-delivery or courier equivalent is included in the loan fee. For other delivery method – to be Negotiated 


24 hours: The item or a negative response is sent within 24 hours of receiving the request or, if the item is to be sent by mail, dispatched in time for last collection next working day.

(Requesting libraries are recommended to telephone or email confirmation of Rush requests)

Copy: $37.40

Loan: 52.60

Copy: Electronic delivery.

Loan: Express Post-delivery or courier equivalent included in the loan fee.


4 working days: Working days are measured in whole days. (Request received on Monday, item or a negative response sent by the close of business (COB) Thursday or, if the item is to be sent by mail, dispatched in time for last collection on Thursday

Copy: $18.70

Loan: $28.80

Copy: Electronic delivery where possible, or post.

Loan: post delivery included in the loan fee.

The supplier response time to an ILL request sent from an automated system before automatic expiry occurs is Core turnaround time plus one working day.

Recommended delivery prices

Recommended prices for copies/scans are for up to 25 pages in the original item.  An additional charge of $4.40 applies for each additional 25 pages copied/scanned or part thereof. Prices should be negotiated for special copying.  For example, items that need to be retrieved from storage where costs are incurred by the supplying library, copying / scanning of fragile material or music scores, or for loans of multi-volume sets.

  Current recommended fees

Electronic delivery e.g. email attachment, e-copy upload, etc.

no charge



Express post or equivalent for copies


Express post or equivalent for loans up to 3 kg


Express post or equivalent for loans over 3 kg


* The recommended additional charge should not apply to colour copies delivered electronically.


The ILRS code charges will automatically be increased by CPI each July beginning on 1 July 2021.  The ILRS code principles however will be amended as needed. 


Useful link

IFLA Guidelines for Best Practice in Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery

The older 2013 code