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Guests and Alumni

Welcome to Hekman Library

Hekman Library is open to the public and welcomes guests from outside the Calvin community, including members of the public, former students and faculty, students of other schools, area clergy, and more. Some electronic resources may only be available off-campus to current Calvin students, faculty, and staff, but when you visit the library in person, you have full access to our resources through our public computers. You can also purchase a guest library card to check out materials and use our guest printer cards to print or make copies here.

Access Overview

Keep in mind, there are a few differences for guest/alumni users when it comes to accessing library materials at Hekman.

  • Wifi: Connecting to the Internet wirelessly in Hekman Library is free for all users. You may connect your device(s) to Calvin Guest using either an existing login from one of your social media accounts or your phone number. Instructions and information can be found on the Information Technology Department web site.
  • Login: When logging into your library account off-campus, remember to use your 14-digit barcode number on the back of your guest library card as both username and password (be sure to use all digits, including the 0s). Read below for more information on guest library cards.
  • Check-out: All you need is your Guest library card to check out items from the library; bring them to the circulation desk and remember to return them later by their due date. Most general collection materials from Hekman can be borrowed by guests/alumni for 2 weeks with unlimited renewals (for more information on loan periods for special collection items, see our Borrowing page).  

Guest User Card

Guests who wish to check out materials from Hekman Library may purchase a Guest User card for $20, good for six months. Cards are available at the main check-out desk (*2023 Update - currently located on the 4th floor).

Users who are exempt from the guest card fee include Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary faculty, emeriti, staff, Calvin and high school students, CALL members, and alumni.  Spouses and dependent children of Calvin faculty and staff can also be exempt from the fee at the request of the employed faculty or staff member.

Alumni may receive a guest card or reactivate an old card with no fee by following the steps below:

  1. E-mail
  2. Enter "Alumni Account Request" as the subject
  3. Include your
    • Name
    • Calvin graduation year
    • 7-digit student ID number (if available)

You will then be invited to pick up your library card at the main check-out desk when your request is processed.

Please note some limitations to your guest library card: 

  • The Guest library card does not include remote access to the library's Research Databases, but all guests are welcome to use these resources in person at our public computers.
  • Guests may access their library account online, using their card's barcode number as username and password.
  • If a card is missing or lost a new card must be purchased.

Alumni Resources

Alumni Access to Databases

Although most Calvin databases and ebooks are restricted off-campus, Calvin alumni can access the following:

  • Project MUSE for Alumni
    Full-text current and archival articles from 600+ scholarly journals of major university presses.
  • ATLASerials for Alumni
    Online full-text collection of major religion and theology journals.
  • Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries and Dictionary for Alumni
    Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries: span over 86 volumes, comprising a long-running scholarly commentaries series for biblical studies scholars.
    Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary: 6-volume Bible dictionary offering current and comprehensive treatment of biblical subjects and topics.

You may be prompted to log in to view these resources through the library website when off-campus - enter your entire library card barcode (including any leading zeros) as both username and password.

Alumni Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Alumni may request up to five (5) ILL items per year. If you are enrolled at another institution, we ask that you use that institution's ILL service.

Guests should use their local public libraries or the services offered by the educational institutions where they are enrolled. The purchase of a guest user card at Hekman does not include Interlibrary Loan service.

High School Users

Area high school students are welcome to visit and use the library resources on their own or as part of a class visit (please review the section on this page for obtaining a Guest User card to check out Hekman materials and our policy pages on printing and computer use for guests)

Teachers interested in arranging a class group visit should contact Sarah Kolk. For class visits:

  • Remember that a portion of the library's computers are available only to members of the Calvin community (require logins). There are public access computers on the main floor but likely not enough for an entire class' use.
  • While we are happy to provide tours to middle school students, the use of our library for research purposes is most appropriate for high school students and older.
  • Two weeks’ advance notice is requested if a librarian's assistance is required (e.g., an introduction to the research tools available at Hekman Library). If no assistance will be needed, one week's notice is sufficient. We ask that class visits not be scheduled during the month before exams, (if at all possible), when the library is heavily used by Calvin students.
  • If your students are working on a class assignment, it is helpful if you send a copy of the assignment so our librarians can prepare.
  • A teacher should accompany students on any class visit. Two teachers are requested for groups larger than 25 students.
  • If teachers want to meet with students informally in small groups or one-on-one, no permission or advance notice is necessary.

Denominational Loan

This service (also known as CRC Minister's Loan) is extended to ministers and retired pastors in the Christian Reformed Church (based on the current CRC Yearbook) who wish to check out books from Hekman Library.

  • This service applies only to books. The following may not be checked out: periodicals, microforms, sound recordings, or books in special collections (such as the Meeter Center or Heritage Hall).
  • Items will be immediately recalled if a Calvin student or faculty member has need of them.
  • This service also does not apply to remote access to the library's databases (other than those provided for alumni).
  • Find more info on Denominational Loan loan periods on our Borrowing page

Alternatively, anyone can work with their local public library to request Calvin materials through MeL/ILL.