The following message from the British Library, the UK's biggest supplier of inter-library loan materials, explains the current delays to the inter-library loan/document supply service.
We are asked to submit requests as usual, but to expect delays. We will keep you informed about your requests, as we have more information.
As reported in January, access to some of the collection items held at the British Library's Boston Spa site has been affected by the discovery of small traces of asbestos in some areas. All air sampling tests have found there to be no health risk - however, the Library is taking sensible and responsible precautions to ensure the health and safety of Readers, users and staff, in full compliance with the very strict health and safety regulations applying to the management of asbestos. Consequently, some areas of the Boston Spa site have been closed temporarily, leading to unavailability of items.
A major programme of asbestos removal and management is now underway. Although this is expected to last for much of 2011, our priority is to get higher use collection items back in service as quickly as possible, with some of the most heavily-used material now scheduled to be back in use by mid-April.
As an interim solution, we have introduced a number of initiatives to complete customer orders from alternative sources - in particular fulfilling requests from e-journal resources where licences for document supply are held, and making greater use of duplicates in our London stock.
We would ask you to continue placing orders as usual, and you will be informed if you will need to reapply for your requested item at a later date.