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Interlibrary Loan Policies

The Hekman Library Interlibrary Loan (ILL) policies are based on the Interlibrary Loan Code of the American Library Association (ALA) and the most current copyright law. Interlibrary Loan is a library service to obtain materials not available at the Hekman Library. The lending library retains the rights to their materials and any conditions of use imposed by that library must be strictly observed. The lending library may stipulate that use of an item be restricted to the library, and it may prohibit all photocopying of the item. The lending library also stipulates the due date of the item. All items are subject to immediate recall by the lending library.

ILL Equity Policy

To ensure that all patrons are served in a timely manner, large requests from single users will be spread over several days.

Copyright and Resource Sharing

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use,"(as defined by the U.S. Copyright Office) that user may be liable for copyright infringement. Therefore, the Hekman Library reserves the right to refuse a request if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the request would violate copyright law.


The Hekman Library provides Interlibrary Loan services to all faculty, staff, students, alumni*, emeriti of Calvin University and Seminary, visiting scholars, and Christian Reformed pastors. A patron's library account must be in good standing to initiate an interlibrary loan request. Individuals and institutions not affiliated with Calvin University and Seminary may be eligible for borrowing materials by submitting an interlibrary loan request to the Hekman Library through their local public library, or the educational institution with which they are affiliated. The Hekman Library guest user card does not include Interlibrary loan service.

*Alumni requests are filled only if there is no fee imposed by the lending library. Alumni may request up to 5 items per year. Alumni furthering their education at another institution are encouraged to use their current institution's ILL service.


MeLCat is a Michigan state-wide library resource sharing service. There are over 400 participating libraries. All eligible users who need materials not owned by Calvin's library are encouraged to use MeLCat before submitting an ILL request. Typically, MeLCat is faster than Interlibrary Loan and is a free service. Requests can be made at MeLCat or follow the link from within our Library Catalog. Pick up your materials at the 2nd floor circulation desk in typically 2 - 5 days.

*Alumni may not use MeLCat through their Calvin library privileges, but are encouraged to use their public library as a pickup location.

Submission of Requests

Requests for interlibrary loan service must be submitted electronically through the Interlibrary Loan request form online, through direct link within the research databases or by email.

All materials must be picked up at the main circulation desk on the 2nd floor. No books or A/V materials will be mailed.

The following items cannot be requested through ILL:

  • Materials for Reserves or group use
  • An entire issue of a periodical, magazine, or newspaper

Patrons should determine availability before submitting requests by searching the Library Catalog, and using MeLCat (Michigan Electronic Library Catalog), and consulting our library staff. Requests are processed in the order in which they are received.

In accordance with copyright law a separate request must be submitted for each item. Accurate and complete information about the item and the patron making the request are essential to processing requests. Any request may be cancelled and returned if it lacks sufficient information to be processed. By submitting a request patrons acknowledge their acceptance of Interlibrary Loan policies, fees, and copyright laws.

ILL is not recommended as an alternative to buying textbooks. Generally ILL books can be kept for a limited time period and renewals cannot be assured. It will most likely need to be returned before the course is complete.

Delivery of Materials

Notification that ILL material has arrived is sent via email. Articles are delivered as PDFs through short-term access to a password-protected link or an email attachment. Loans of physical items such as books, media, and microfilm must be picked up at the main circulation desk on the 2nd floor. No material will be mailed. Items will remain on the hold shelf for 2 weeks. If they are not picked up within this time, they will be returned to the lending library.

In-Library Use Policy

"In-library use only" interlibrary loan requests are identified on the material by the words "In-Library Use Only" written in the lending restrictions area. This restriction has been set by the loaning institution. Violating this restriction places all Calvin University and Seminary faculty, staff and students in jeopardy of not being able to receive needed research materials from lending institutions.

Hekman Library's ILL department follows the ALA code of responsibilities. In section 4.10 of the ALA code it states that the requesting library is responsible for honoring the due date and enforcing any use restrictions specified by the supplying library. In-library use is a restriction that this department must honor.

In-library use materials may be used anywhere inside the Hekman Library and returned to the Circulation Desk before leaving the library. It is the patron's responsibility to request a renewal for an in-library use item. In the event an in-library use material is taken outside the library, the patro's ILL and Hekman library accounts will be suspended until the item is returned.

As stated under Penalties for Misuse, the Interlibrary Loan Department reserves the right to deny interlibrary loan privileges to any patron who abuses the service. This includes the abuse of an in-library use only restriction.

Loan Policies

The loan period is set by the lending library. The due date is strictly enforced with no grace period. To maintain our good standing with lending libraries, materials must be returned promptly. ILL borrowing privileges will be suspended if materials are overdue or fines not paid.