Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service that obtains books, book chapters, journal articles and other resources for university-related research and teaching that are not available in the SMU Libraries collection.

How to submit a request?
  • Log into your Library account, and submit a completed form.
  • When searching online databases, use the Find It @ SMU Libraries button to see what SMU owns.
  • Use the Request button when books, book chapters or journal articles are not available.
  • Submit an email to library [at] (subject: Interlibrary%20Loan)  with a complete citation of the book, book chapter or article required.
Who can request?

Faculty, staff, postgraduate students, and 3rd/4th year undergraduate students with a valid SMU ID can request items through ILL.

1st and 2nd year undergraduate students may contact their Research Librarian or approach the Service Desk in either Li Ka Shing Library or Kwa Geok Choo Law Library to discuss their research needs. Undergraduate student requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

ILL is not available to alumni or corporate members.

What can be requested?

Books, book chapters and journal articles needed for university-related research or teaching may be requested, although lending libraries reserve the right to decide whether a particular item can be provided.

What cannot be requested?

Generally, the following items cannot be requested:

  • Books on reserve or in restricted collections
  • Special collections, print theses or rare items
  • Course textbooks
  • Multiple articles from the same journal issue
  • Multiple chapters from the same book
  • Audio-visual materials
  • Newly published books/monographs
  • Business case studies (e.g. HBR)
  • Marketing reports
  • Tests and measures
How long does it take?

Delivery times depend on the rarity of the requested material, the timeliness of the lending library, and the distance materials are traveling. If you have a deadline beyond which the material will not be useful to you, indicate the date on the request form.

Item type

Turnaround time

Books (local) 3-7 working days
Books (international) 3-8 weeks
Articles/book chapters (local) 3-7 working days
Articles/book chapters (international) 1-3 weeks
Obscure/not readily available documents 4 weeks or more


How will I be notified?


Users will be notified by email when books are ready for collection. Books may be picked up at the library indicated in the email (Li Ka Shing Library / Kwa Geok Choo Law Library).

Journal articles/book chapters

Users will be notified by email with a link or attachment to the requested item.

What is the loan period?

The loan period is determined by the lending library and is usually between 3 to 6 weeks. The due date is noted on the label on the book’s cover. Renewal of loans may be allowed at the discretion of the lending library. Borrowed items may be subject to recall by the lending library. Renewal requests can be sent via email to SMU Libraries (library [at]

Returning books

Return physical ILL materials at either the Li Ka Shing Library or Kwa Geok Choo Law Library service desks during normal hours of operation.

What are the cost and copyright limitations?


ILL services are provided at no charge for eligible users. However, any book lost or damaged while in your possession will be charged to your account for replacement costs.

Copyright Limitations

Interlibrary Loan services are administered in accordance with the “fair dealing” interpretation in Section 46 of the Singapore Copyright Act, and in conformance with the resource sharing agreements with partner libraries. Reproduction of documents is only intended for scholarship, research or teaching purposes.

Who should I contact?

SMU Libraries

library [at] (subject: Interlibrary%20Loan)

+65 6828 0355

ILL requests are processed Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm. Available ILL materials may be retrieved at the service desk at the specified library during normal hours of operation.

Libraries seeking ILL arrangement with SMU Libraries can refer to these guidelines.