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Interlibrary Loan Services


  1.  Purpose
  2.  Eligibility
  3.  What may be borrowed?
  4.  What may not be borrowed?
  5.  Copyright
  6.  Looking for a doctoral dissertation?
  7.  How to request materials
  8.  How long does it take?
  9.  How to find out the status of a request
  10.  Borrower's responsibilities
  11.  Notification
  12.  Loan periods
  13.  Renewals


The purpose of the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service is to obtain, whenever possible, materials not available in the William Paterson University (WPUNJ) Cheng Library collections for the educational and research needs of the University community. Loans are for temporary, short term access to materials needed for scholarly work of an individual. Materials needed for recreational use should be requested via the individual’s local public library.

Commonly requested materials include, but are not limited to, books, book chapters, journal articles, documents, and audio-visual materials. The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service obtains materials from other libraries in the United States and throughout the world.



All currently enrolled WPUNJ undergraduate and graduate students, full-time faculty or staff, adjunct faculty, and emeritus faculty are eligible to borrow materials free of charge.

ILL Limitations/Restrictions

Except in times of high demand when a temporary limit may be instituted, there is no limit on the number of requests for faculty/staff, emeritus faculty, currently employed adjunct faculty, and graduate students. Generally, there is a limit of ten (10) items in-process at one time for undergraduate students and retired faculty and staff.

There is no interlibrary loan service currently offered to alumni. Alumni are encouraged to request materials through their local public libraries.

What may be borrowed?

1. Materials not owned by the Cheng Library within the scope of purpose and conditions of the service stated above.
2. Materials declared missing from the collection after the completion of a trace procedure.

What may not be borrowed?

1. Books owned by the WPUNJ Library that are on loan to another patron.
2. Materials that are on reserve in the Library.
3. Books available at the Cheng Library in its entirety in electronic book format
4. Materials for recreational use (patrons are encouraged to use their local public library for such materials).
5. Books or documents published pre-1900
6. Most libraries ordinarily will not lend the following types of materials:

  • Rare materials including manuscripts;
  • Bulky or fragile items which are difficult or expensive to ship;
  • Materials in high demand at the lending library;
  • Material with local circulation restrictions, e.g. reference books, encyclopedias, complete issues of journals;
  • Unique materials that would be difficult or impossible to replace.


The Cheng Library adheres to the ALA ILL Code; the New Jersey State ILL Code; CONTU guidelines, observes the provisions of the "fair use clause"; and pays copyright fees to the Copyright Clearance Center for copies above fair use. The library will not process article requests for any single patron that would comprise the entire issue of a journal which is a violation of the principles of interlibrary loan. The library may, at its discretion, purchase an issue within cost constraints for the use of a patron. This issue becomes the property of the patron.

Looking for a doctoral dissertation?

Many of our databases include citations for doctoral dissertations, the research theses required of all Ph.D. degree candidates. The citations will often indicate an item is a dissertation or identify the source of the record as Dissertation Abstracts International, the major index for dissertations. It is important to understand that most dissertations are owned only by libraries at the universities where they were produced. Although in principle these items can be borrowed through ILL, our experience has been that:

  1. 1. the majority of requests for dissertations are denied by the libraries holding them; and
  2. 2. in those cases where a dissertation can be borrowed through ILL, the processing time can be much longer than that for books and articles, often a month or more

The ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database provides full-text access to over 14,000 publications, with the majority available in full text.

How to request materials

1. Before requesting an item on ILL, please make sure it is not available in the Library by checking the Library’s Books & Media search or the Journal Search.
2. All requests must be submitted via the Interlibrary Loan portal. In order to facilitate rapid receipt of material, request forms should be filled out as completely as possible and abbreviations should be avoided.

How long does it take?

For books or audiovisual items that are easy-to-locate, it will normally take 5–10 business days to have the item shipped to the Cheng Library. For more difficult titles, it may take longer, especially if materials are requested from foreign countries or specialized libraries. For articles, the library is usually able to fill most requests within 24-48 hours using a service called RapidILL.

How to find out the status of a request

Log in to the Interlibrary Loan portal. In the left hand margin, under the View section, select the options Pending Requests or All Requests to get a list of transactions that you have ordered. You can then click on to the transaction number to view further details about each request. Call the Reference Desk (973-720-2116), e-mail Interlibrary Loan ( Chat with a Librarian on the Library homepage.

Borrower's responsibilities

1. Borrowed materials must be returned to the document delivery department by the due date; photocopies become the property of patrons and need not be returned.
2. The patron is responsible for replacement costs of items lost or damaged or for materials not returned.
3. The patron is expected to return the book as it was received without markings, highlights or other damage.


1. Patrons will be notified only via their official WPUNJ e-mail when requested items are available for check out or to download. Main campus patrons must pick up and return loaned books or audiovisual materials at the Periodicals Desk in the Library. Faculty in the Valley Road or Power Arts buildings can request materials be delivered to those locations. WPUNJ Mercer County Community College enrollees will have their materials mailed to their homes.
2. Journal articles will be accessible for download via the Interlibrary Loan portal.
3. Once notified of the receipt of an item, loans waiting on the pick-up shelf which have not been checked-out by the patron will be returned on their due date to the lending library. These will not be re-ordered for the same patron without compelling reason.

Loan Period

The loan period is determined by the lending institution and is usually two to three week. Therefore, the Cheng Library does not use ILL for obtaining course textbooks.


Lending libraries discourage renewals on ILL materials, but if a renewal is necessary, a request should be made through the Document Delivery Department at least two days before the due date. If you find that you need to keep ILL material for longer than the loan period given, you may request an extension of the due date. The ILL office will then ask the lending library to extend the due date. When requesting a renewal, you should provide the ILL office with the following information: your name, the IL# which appears on the band attached to your ILL item, the title of the item, and the time period for which you wish to keep the item. You may request a renewal by e-mail to or by phone at 973-720-2567.