Document loan, reservation, delivery and digitization

To borrow, reserve, and order documents, you need to be registered in one of the swisscovery libraries. EPFL Library is part of this network.

Borrowing documents on site and ordering books in swisscovery is free of charge when the collection is made at the EPFL Library. A library card is required for all loans. Each person is liable for the documents borrowed with his or her card (see the Library rules).

The BEAST catalogue allows you to find out the availability of the documents from our printed and electronic collections, or within swisscovery. 


■   Borrow documents on site

If the document you need is available on site, do not reserve it, but pick it up directly from the shelves and borrow it at self check machines or at the Library desk. Almost all of our printed collection is accessible 7/7 from 7am to midnight.

You can borrow up to 100 items simultaneously.


■   Reserve or order documents available at EPFL Library or in swisscovery (SLSP-Courier)

If the document is available in swisscovery, or available at EPFL Library, you can make a reservation on the document from the BEAST catalog thanks to the SLSP-Courier service.

  • log-in
  • in the “How to get it” section, click on the institution where the document you are looking for is available (field: “Available in institution”)
    Be careful : Do not click on “Resource Sharing”
  • Click on the green button “Request”
  • Select “EPFL”  as Pickup Institution
  • Select “EPFL Bibliotheque” as Pickup Location

SLSP-Courier service is free of charge if withdrawal at the EPFL Library (as well as at the libraries of the 4 associated campuses.

The withdrawl in another swisscovery library is charged CHF 6. Postal delivery directly to your home is charged CHF 12.

As soon as the document is available, you will receive an email. You can pick-up the document at the Library main desk between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. The document is reserved for 10 days. After this period, and without any news from you, the reservation is expired. It is possible to reserve 30 documents simultaneously.

Most of the time, it is faster to order a copy available in another library (delays of 3 to 5 days) than to wait for the borrowed document to be returned.


■   Order documents out of swisscovery (ILL)

If the document is not available in swisscovery, you can make an interlibrary loan (ILL) request from BEAST catalog.

Please note: The interlibrary loan (ILL) request form should not be used to order a document available in swisscovery. In this case, please refer to section “Reserve or order documents available at EPFL Library or in swisscovery (SLSP-Courier)“.

Please consult the ILL pricing before ordering your documents.

If you have any questions about ILL service, please contact [email protected].

  • log-in
  • click on the button “Interlibrary Loan” on the top of the page
  • fill the form
  • send your request
  • Books on loan
  • Copies of articles (digital or printed version)
  • All types of document available in libraries (reports, proceedings of conferences, theses…)
  • Documents from Swiss libraries: 3 to 5 days
  • Documents from European libraries (outside Switzerland): 1 to 2 weeks

Documents can be collected at EPFL Library desk. The documents are delivered either in digitized form (by e-mail) or in printed form (to be collected at the Library desk, or sent by internal mail to your EPFL business address).

You will be notified of the loan duration when you borrow the document. Some documents are only available for on-site consultation at EPFL Library, in accordance with the request of the owner library.

It is sometimes possible to extend the interlibrary loans duration. To proceed so, please contact [email protected] before the document expires. You are responsible for returning the document to EPFL Library, at the latest by the due date. In case of delay, you will be charged: swisscovery pricing.


■   On-demand digitization

Are you looking for a journal article? Request a digitization of the article you need!

[1] The journal containing the article is available at the EPFL Library.
The library team scans for you EPFL printed journal articles or book chapters, within 48 hours (working days) after your request (only if the document is available)!
This service is free for EPFL members.

  • display the journal record in the BEAST catalog
  • select ” EPFL Library “
  • select the volume/issue
  • click on “Digitization” next to the volume concerned
  • fill in the form with the article references (title, pages) and send the request

[2] The journal containing the article is available in a swisscovery library.
Some of the swisscovery libraries also offer the on-demand digitization service.
This service is free if request is addressed with the ILL form.

  • display the notice of the journal in BEAST catalog
  • click on “Digitization” next to “Loan”
  • fill in the form with the article references (title, volume, issue and year of the journal, pages) and send the request

[3] The journal containing the article is not available in a swisscovery library.
This service is free for EPFL members.

  • Display the BEAST catalog
  • Select the “Interlibrary loan” button at the top of the page.
  • Fill in the form with the complete references of the article (article title, journal title, volume, issue, year and pages) and send the request.

■   Pricing

Service Prices
  EPFL employees and students External users of EPFL
Network loan (EPFL withdrawal) Free* Free*
Network loan (withdrawal out of EPFL) 6 CHF 6 CHF
Inter-library Loan (ILL) Free with request form ILL Variable costs
Digitization (EPFL documents) Free Not provided
Digitization (network documents9 Free only with request form ILL 5 CHF for 20 pages (pdf)
Paper photocopies (network documents) Free only with request form ILL 7.5 CHF for 20 pages (pdf)
Mailing 12 CHF 12 CHF

*We reserve the right to charge for documents that have not been collected.


■   Loan conditions

The first free reminder as well as all the other are exclusively sent by e-mail from the address [email protected] as follows :

  • 1 open day after loan term: free reminder

  • 1st paying reminder
    6 days after the reception of the free reminder : 5 CHF additional per document

  • 2nd paying reminder
    6 days after the reception of the 1st paying reminder : 5 CHF additional per document
  • 3nd paying reminder
    6 days after the reception of the 2nd paying reminder : 5 CHF additional per document

Warning ! For documents which loan period is 7 open days (video games, game console, journals), the period between each reminder is 3 days instead of 6.

DVDs as well as dictionaries have a loan period of 7 days which cannot be renewed.

Please check your reader account regularly to see the status of your loans. Indeed, it can happen that automatic e-mails are not accepted by the filters of the messaging system and then go into spams. As the Library has no control over this problem, users only remain responsible for bringing back their loans in time. The non-receipt of these notices or reminders cannot be used as an excuse for the late return of documents.

Fees can be paid at the Library’s main desk as long as they are not charged by Swisscovery. Payment can be maid in cash, Camipro card, credit/debit card or Twint from Monday till Friday from 8am to 8pm. Warning! Only fees about documents which belong to the EPFL Library can be paid at our desk! Fees about documents which belong to libraries out of the EPFL must be paid by using invoices or according to the owner library’s conditions.

Fees not charged yet can be seen in the user account in the tab “Fees”. Warning! Fees are sorted by documents’ owner library. Please pay attention to the owner libraries’ tabs on the left of the screen.

An invoice is sent every month by e-mail for every fees older than 30 days. From that moment, payment can only be maid by using the invoice. Warning! Fees charged cannot be seen in the user account anymore! These fees remain effective though.

A reminder is sent if an invoice is unpaid after 30 days. If it remains unpaid, a second reminder is sent after 30 days also. These reminders are sent by e-mail and involve no extra costs. If an invoice is still unpaid 30 days after the second reminder’s mailing, the user account is frozen until the invoice is duly paid.

For every question regarding fees or invoices, please contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 021.693.21.56.

Any loss or deterioration of a borrowed book should be reported as soon as possible to the address [email protected] or by phone : 021.693.21.56. We also ask users not to buy lost or damaged documents themselves. We reserve the right to refuse any document purchased by users. Users will be charged for lost or damaged documents by e-mail up to the purchase price.

28-day loan period for all the documents, except:

  • 14 days: Teaching Collection
  • 7 days: borrowable journals, DVDs, video games and game consoles

The loan period is indicated for each document in the BEAST catalog

5 automatic extensions, if the document is not reserved by another user (exceptions may occur). 

After 5 extensions, the document must be presented at EPFL Library desk. An extension cannot cancel a fine: please respect the return deadline. You will also find in your online account information about loan periods and possible extensions.

You can return your document anytime in the large white boxes located in the Library or at the desks. You can mail them to the Library at your expense. In this case, the document must arrive before the loan duration expires.


[email protected]

021 693 21 56

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