Can’t find what you need in our library?
If the Alma College Library does not own the item you need, it can usually be obtained for you from another library through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) or MeLCat. This service is available to Alma College students, faculty, and staff only. (Alumni must use their local public libraries for ILL and/or MeLCat services.)
For MeLCat, patrons can place their own requests, and borrow items from libraries throughout Michigan. Alma College uses Clio to facilitate Interlibrary Loans. Clio is a software system used to submit, track, and manage ILL requests. For questions and requests, please contact Angie Kelleher.
Frequently Asked Questions About Interlibrary Loan & MeLCat
What is Interlibrary Loan?
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a mediated resource-sharing system among libraries worldwide. Items unavailable through Alma College Library may be obtained through this free service. If you need to borrow a periodical article, Interlibrary Loan is your best resource.
What is MeLCat?
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 may be obtained through this service. At present, periodical articles may not be borrowed through MeLCat, so you’ll want to use it only for books, videos and compact discs.
How do I request Interlibrary Loan materials?
You can submit an Interlibrary Loan request several ways:
1. Log into CLIO here, and choose ‘New Book’ or ‘New Article.’ Complete form and submit.
(Note: to borrow other physical items besides books, use ‘new book’ form.)
2. A paper form is available at the Main Desk, which you can fill out, or to which you can attach a list of requested items.
3. Several of our databases have a link that allows you to submit an ILL request from within the database (e.g. all the ProQuest databases).
4. When all else fails, email Angie Kelleher.
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 from other libraries?
- Due dates for ILL materials are set by the lending library. They will typically allow us to keep an item for 4 weeks.
- MeLCat materials are typically checked out for 21 days. If the patron retrieves the materials in a timely fashion, the check-out period begins on the date that the items are retrieved from the Circulation Desk.
How do I renew these materials?
- To renew an ILL item, log into your Clio account, view items checked out, and request a renewal. If that does not work, please contact Angie Kelleher 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. **See here for policies on ILL loan periods and overdue items.
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 do I keep track of my requests?
- Use Clio to keep track of the status of your ILL requests, retain the history of your ILL transactions, request renewals on ILL items, and submit requests for loans or articles that cannot be found in our catalog.
- For MeLCat requests, you may log into MyMeLCat to view request status and renew items (if possible).
Where may I pick them up?
You will receive an email notification (to your Alma email account) when your ILL or MeLCat materials have arrived. You may pick them up at the Library Main 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, audiovisual materials, or individual articles through ILL. You may request books and audiovisual 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.