Inter-Regional Unit (IRU) Cost Scheme for the Supply of Inter-Library Loans

In October 2000, Conarls instituted the IRU Cost Scheme to reduce inter-lending costs for libraries. Initially the Scheme was only available to libraries in membership of the regional library systems but was subsequently made available to any UK library.

A list of participants is maintained by the Conarls Working Group. To register (free) for the Scheme or to update details, please contact us using the form on this website.

How the scheme operates


  1. The IRU Scheme is for both loans and photocopies. As the name implies, it is intended for inter-regional lending, as libraries within a region tend to operate their own cost scheme. Nevertheless, it applies between two participating libraries whenever those libraries do not have a mutual arrangement that takes precedence. Libraries not part of either regional or IRU schemes usually charge the BLDSC rate, but some have their own individual charges; in either case they should be charged the same price as they charge others.
  2. Since 1st August 2013, the charge for loans or photocopies between IRU participants has been £6.00. The price is reviewed annually and notifications of any changes will be given via relevant e-mail lists.


  1. All participants’ ILL requests must clearly carry the following information in order to ensure being charged the correct rate:
    • BLDSC Customer Code (8x-xxxx)
    • Request reference number
    • The current charge under the Scheme (i.e. £6.00). This is because, although a supplying library can double check the list of IRU participants it is not obliged to do so.
  2. As part of its usual work processes, the supplying library claims back the IRU charge from BLDSC.
  3. As part of its “banker function” (usual invoicing processes), BLDSC charges the borrowing library the IRU price, plus a “third party” transaction fee that is set by BLDSC.

Users of UnityUK™ will find it automates much of the above, so in most cases all they have to do is ensure the IRU charge (otherwise known as the ‘Conarls rate’) is selected when making a request. UnityUK charges (per transaction) for its IFM banker function.

Further information

If you have any queries about the IRU scheme, contact us using the form on this website; for information on any local/regional pricing arrangements, please contact your local region.