Frequently Asked Questions on Interlibrary Loan Services

Who may use Interlibrary Loan services?

The ILL services are offered to the following categories of patrons:

  • Academic and equivalent administrative staff
  • Research staff
  • Postgraduate students of programmes leading to CityU awards*
  • Executive officers
  • Final year degree students of programmes leading to CityU awards*

* Excluding outside HK or visiting students

Important notes to final year degree students

(Why can't final year degree students submit their requests via ILLiad?)

If you are a final year degree student, your request must be certified by your lecturer and you SHOULD NOT submit your Interlibrary Loan requests through ILLiad, the Interlibrary Loan System. You need to download an ILL Photocopy Request Form (pdf), fill out the necessary details and get your lecturer to sign on it before submitting your request to the Circulation Counter.

What materials can be requested?

Library materials that are unavailable (not owned, on loan, lost or missing) in our Library, including books, dissertations, journal articles, and others, may be requested.

City University Patron Groups Photocopies of Articles from UGC Libraries & RapidILL Libraries Book Loans from UGC Libraries Photocopies of Articles / Book Loans from Overseas Sources Maximum Number of Requests per Academic Year
Academic & Equivalent Administrative Staff Yes Yes Yes 150*
Research Staff Yes Yes Yes 150*
Postgraduate Students Yes Yes Yes 150*
Executive Officers Yes Yes Yes 70
Final Year Degree Students Yes No No 10

* However, should the quota be exceeded, the Library may still consider entertaining the requests depending on needs and situation.

What materials are NOT obtainable via Interlibrary Loan arrangements?

The following items are NOT obtainable via Interlibrary Loan arrangements:

  • Non-circulating library materials, such as reference books, entire issues or volumes of periodicals.
  • Non-print materials such as video tapes, computer diskettes and so on. (Unless otherwise permitted by the supplying library).
  • Any requests that infringe the Copyright Ordinance.

Where do the Interlibrary Loan materials come from?

Should you know the whereabouts of an item, it would be helpful to let us know.

Is there a charge to use Interlibrary Loan Services?

From UGC Libraries & RapidILL Libraries

Normally, Interlibrary Loan arrangements with RapidILL libraries and libraries in Hong Kong are free of charge.

From Other Sources

Fees may be charged on items obtained from other sources. All overseas requests require approval of the HODs or the principal investigators concerned.


Costs for articles obtained from overseas will normally be absorbed by the Library, unless otherwise specified by the requesters to have the costs debited against departments' own accounts or individual research accounts.

The estimated costs and time of getting materials from overseas suppliers are as follows:

(A) From British Library
  standard service (about 7-12 working days)* about HK$106.00 per article
  quick service (about 2-4 working days)* about HK$207.00 per article
  urgent service (about 1-2 working days)* about HK$305.00 per article

*Some materials may take longer for a variety of reasons.

(B) From other overseas libraries or document suppliers
  from a few days to 2 months free to US$40.00


Charges for overseas loans, including fees levied by the lending institutions, airmail, and insurance, can only be debited from departments' own accounts or research accounts.

The estimated costs and time of getting materials from overseas suppliers are as follows:

(A) From British Library
  about 9-14 working days* HK$188.00 + air parcel postage of about HK$200.00

*Some materials may take longer for a variety of reasons.

(B) From other overseas libraries or document suppliers
  from 2 weeks to 2 months free to US$50.00 + air parcel postage of about HK$200.00

** Overseas requests without endorsement from HODs (or his authorized persons) / principal investigators concerned will not be entertained. However, if desired, users may order materials personally by themselves from overseas document suppliers.

How do I submit requests?

Academic and research staff as well as postgraduate students can submit their requests electronically via ILLiad, our online Interlibrary Loan System. From the ILLiad Main Menu, select the appropriate Request Type.

Final year degree students, however, need to submit printed request forms because we need the written endorsement from their supervisors. (See Important Notes to Final Year Degree Students).

Patrons using overseas Interlibrary Loan Services are also required to submit printed Interlibrary Loan forms (Book Form and Photocopy Form).

These forms can also be obtained at the Circulation Counter.

How can I edit, cancel or track the progress of my requests?

You may login to ILLiad and click on the button "View/Modify Outstanding Requests" to edit, cancel or track the progress of your requests.

How long will it take to receive the Interlibrary Loan materials that I have requested?

Delivery time of the requested materials depends on the lending libraries' ability to supply the materials, as well as the methods of delivery.

For the majority of items immediately obtainable from other UGC libraries, the average time to receive materials is 4-6 working days for loans and 2-3 working days for photocopies. Some materials may take longer for a variety of reasons. Items that are not held locally may take longer to obtain.

How will I be notified when my requested items are available?

You will be notified by email. However, you can choose different delivery options for your requested materials.

What are the delivery options?


Electronic copies:

If the requested articles are delivered to us by the supplying library in electronic format (get Adobe Reader), we will provide the articles to you in electronic format. We will send you an email message notifying that the electronic articles are available. You may login to ILLiad and click on "View/Download Electronically Received Articles" to view the articles.


If the requested articles are delivered to us in hardcopy format, you may choose to have the printed copies sent to your department, or if you prefer, you may come to the Library to collect them yourself upon our email notification. Please note that you will need to specify which delivery option you prefer on the New User Registration page when you first login to ILLiad. Should you want to change the delivery option in the future, you may call up your personal information to amend it by clicking the Change User Information button on the ILLiad main menu.


Interlibrary Loan books have to be collected in person at the Circulation Counter of the Library. You will receive an email message for each requested book notifying that the books are available for pickup.

If necessary, you may delegate someone to collect your requested items with your authorization. However, you will need to provide us information (full name and University ID) of the person that you would like to authorize. If you login to ILLiad for the first time, provide us the authorization information on the New User Registration page. If you are a returned user, add the authorization information on the Change User Information page.

How long can I keep the Interlibrary Loan materials?

Photocopies are yours to keep.

Usually, books have a loan period from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on the Interlibrary Loan policies of the individual lending libraries. Delay in picking up the requested items means shortening the available reading time of the books.

All loans are subject to recall. You may receive a recall notice when the lending library needs the book back before the due date. Please return the recalled item to the Circulation Counter of the Library by the new due date as specified on the recall notice.

Where do I return Interlibrary Loan materials?

Interlibrary Loan materials have to be returned to the Circulation Counter of the Library with the attached date due slips. Please do not return Interlibrary Loan materials directly to the lending institutions or put them into the Library's bookdrops.

Can book loans be renewed?

Yes. Renewal is possible subject to the consent of the lending library and the renewed loan period of the book concerned is determined by the lending library as well. The new due date will be set according to the date you request the renewal.

Renewals are usually granted one time only - in advance of the due date. Overdue materials cannot be renewed.

You may submit your renewal requests via ILLiad within 3 days before the due date. From the ILLiad Main Menu, select "View/Renew Checked Out Items".

If the due dates fall on long public holidays, please place your renewal requests a few days in advance.

We will let you know the new due date as soon as the renewal is granted by the lending library. However, if the renewal is not granted, the ILL book will have to be returned to us on or before the original due date.

What are the fines for late returns?

No fines are charged for overdue Interlibrary Loan items; however, records of late return of Interlibrary Loan books by individual patrons will be kept.

Please be reminded that late return of books to the lending libraries will affect the lending libraries' willingness to loan books to CityU patrons.

Interlibrary Loan books not claimed will be returned to the lending libraries by the due dates without further notifying the requesters.

Tips for faster services.

  • Submit your requests via ILLiad.
  • Provide complete information and citation. This saves verification time.
  • Provide full titles of journals.
  • Provide the source of reference.
  • Check the availability and the call numbers of the items in other UGC libraries yourself and provide us the information when you submit your requests via ILLiad.
  • Remember to sign the copyright declaration part on the printed photocopy request forms.
  • If you are sure that the items are not available in Hong Kong, you may estimate the costs for overseas attempts by yourself and get your HOD or any authorized person to sign on the printed forms before submitting them to us.

Will urgent requests be entertained?

Requests will be processed as soon as they are received.

Please avoid submitting your urgent requests on evenings, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays when the Interlibrary Loan offices of all institutions are usually closed.

If the desired items are required RIGHT AWAY, you may visit the UGC libraries that hold the requested items with your JULAC library ticket in person. Another alternative is to order the items directly from overseas suppliers yourself.

Should I use overseas book loan services?

In view of the time taken and the expenses of this service, patrons are urged to use this service only when the required books are out of print. Patrons are advised to recommend these items for the Library to purchase instead.

If you still want to use the service, simply fill out an ILL Book Form and make sure that you:

  • Seek approval from your HOD or the principal investigator.
  • Indicate the maximum acceptable charges.
  • Indicate the date after which the material is no longer needed.
  • Attach the source of reference (e.g. index, bibliography, electronic database printout). This is especially important for rare items.
  • Indicate the location of the item, if available.

What should I do if I lost an Interlibrary Loan book?

If you lose an Interlibrary Loan book, please contact us ASAP. You will be responsible for any charges imposed upon us by the lending institutions.

Can I order materials directly from overseas suppliers and pay out of my own pocket?

If the desired materials are not available in local libraries and you want to get the materials from overseas sources and pay by yourself, you may order the materials directly from document suppliers or book sellers.

Most overseas document suppliers will accept major credit cards. Prices, delivery methods, and policies are different for each supplier, so be sure to read their policies before ordering.

For articles:
Key document suppliers:
British Library: Articles Direct

Other document suppliers:
Please refer to the following web pages:

For dissertations:
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
British Library Electronic Theses Online Service

What are CityU Library's lending policies to other libraries?

Our Library provides ILL materials in accordance with the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance.

Lending Policies to Local Libraries

Interlibrary Loan requests from individual libraries can be submitted through our ILLiad Lending System. However, to do so, the requesting library needs a set of username and password. To apply for the username and password, please contact our office. We will consider each application case by case based on the nature of the requesting library.

UGC Libraries: Reciprocal arrangement

Non-UGC Libraries:

Books & Photocopies

  • Will lend / copy on a case by case basis.
  • Requests can be submitted through our ILLiad Lending System, by email, fax or mail.
  • The borrowing libraries will be responsible for the collection and return of the loaned materials. To pick up Interlibrary Loan items, please approach staff at the Interlibrary Loan Services Office during business hours.

Lending Policies to Foreign Libraries

  • We do not lend to individuals.
  • Payments will only be accepted in IFLA vouchers.
  • Books are sent via courier or airmail.
  • Requests can be submitted via fax, email or mail.


  • Will lend on a case by case basis.
  • Loan fees: 4 IFLA vouchers.
  • Loan period: 2 weeks from date received by borrower.
  • Renewal: To be considered case by case. First renewal is free. Full loan fee will be charged on subsequent renewals.
  • Return: Loaned item should be returned via airmail and boxed for protection.


  • Fees: 1 IFLA voucher

CityU students' dissertations or master theses

  • Will not lend or photocopy.

Mailing Address:
Interlibrary Loan Services Office
Run Run Shaw Library
City University of Hong Kong
Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon
Hong Kong

OCLC code: cpv (non-supplier)
Rapid Code: CPV

Where is the Interlibrary Loan Services Office and what are the business hours?

Interlibrary Loan Services Office is located in Room B3710 of the Academic 1. The office is staffed Monday through Friday, 9:00 am - 12:45 pm, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm.

To pick up Interlibrary Loan items, please approach the Circulation Counter of the Library during counter hours.

Contact us

Any inquiries can be directed to the staff of the Interlibrary Loan Services Office.

Telephone: (852) 3442-6092 or 3442-9417
Fax: (852) 3442-0222