Interlibrary Loan and MeLCat
When the resources of the Alma College Library are not sufficient, Alma College students, faculty, administrators, and staff may borrow materials from other libraries and institutions through Interlibrary Loan and MeLCat, at no cost. Millions of specialized books and other materials are available from thousands of libraries throughout Michigan, the United States, and many other countries.
Questions and comments can be emailed to the Interlibrary Loan Assistant, Susan Cross, at email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions About Interlibrary Loan and MeLCat
- What is Interlibrary Loan?
- What is MeLCat?
- How do I request Interlibrary Loan materials?
- How do I request MeLCat materials?
- How long may I keep the materials?
- How do I renew these materials?
- How long does it take for materials to arrive?
- How will I know when materials arrive, and where may I pick them up?
- Who may use these services?
- What kinds of materials may I request?
- Is there a limit on how many items I can order?
- How much do these services cost?
What is Interlibrary Loan?
Interlibrary Loan is a mediated resource-sharing system among libraries worldwide. Items unavailable through Alma College Library or MeLCat may be obtained through this free service. If you need to borrow a periodical article, Interlibrary Loan is your best resource.
MeLCat is the state of Michigan's virtual library catalog. Many Michigan libraries have pooled their catalogs to create a statewide system where users of one library can request and borrow items from another. Items unavailable through Alma College Library or Interlibrary Loan may be obtained through this service. Periodical articles may not be borrowed through MeLCat.
How do I request Interlibrary Loan materials?
ILL items must be requested by filling out a form (available at the circulation desk and online). The green paper forms may be turned in at the Circulation Desk. Alternatively, if searching in any of the FirstSearch databases, you may submit an ILL request by clicking Borrow this item from another library.
How do I request MeLCat materials?
Search the Alma College catalog for the item that you seek. If we do not own it, click on the button at the top of the results page, that says Try MeLCat. MeLCat items can also be requested directly from the MeLCat home page.
How long may I keep the materials?
Due dates for ILL materials are set by the lending library. They will typically allow us to keep an item for 2 - 3 weeks. MeLCat materials are typically checked out for 21 days, beginning the date that the patron picks them up from the Circulation Desk.
How do I renew these materials?
To renew an ILL item, please contact Interlibrary Loan assistant, Susan Cross, several days before the item is due. Renewal of Interlibrary Loan materials is granted at the discretion of the lending library. MeLCat participants are allowed one renewal per item. You cannot renew a MeLCat item until 7 days before the due date.
How long does it take for materials to arrive?
It is difficult to estimate times of arrival for ILL or MeLCat items, as this largely depends on how quickly requests are processed by lending libraries. However, patrons should expect a wait of 1 - 2 weeks for most items that need to arrive via post or delivery service. Individual articles may often be digitized and sent via e-mail, resulting in quicker delivery times.
How will I know when materials arrive, and where may I pick them up?
You will receive an e-mail notification (to your Alma e-mail account) when your ILL or MeLCat materials have arrived. You may pick them up at the circulation desk.
Who may use these services?
Alma college students, faculty, emeriti faculty, staff and administrators in good standing may use ILL and MeLCat services. Alumni are not eligible to use interlibrary loan or MeLCat through Alma College. Alumni may be able to interlibrary loan items, or request MeLCat items, through their local public libraries.
What kind of materials may I request?
You may request books, audio-visual materials, or individual articles through ILL. You may request books and audio-visual materials through MeLCat.
Is there a limit on how many items I can order?
There is no limit on how many ILL items you can order. For MeLCat, the limit is 50 items 'on hold' at one time.
How much do these services cost?
Both Interlibrary Loan and MeLCat services are free to our patrons. Thanks to tuition fees and other donations, the library does not charge directly for MeLCat or ILL services. Because the library does incur borrowing costs however, we ask that you use these services carefully and judiciously. You are responsible for replacement costs for lost or damaged items, and for overdue items.
- Only one request per form. Each request requires a separate form, even articles from the same journal. (Note: If you have a list of complete citations, you may fill out the top part of the green paper form and attach your list, rather than filling out a separate form for each item).
- Do not use abbreviations.
Please check the Alma College Library Catalog first to determine if we have the item.
- Please note all relevant information available, such as ISBN/ISSN numbers and relevant page numbers, to speed the processing of your request.
- Please supply a source for your information. This also speeds the processing of your request.
- Fill out all personal information completely. We must have an accurate campus e-mail address for electronic delivery of articles, telephone number and mailing address.