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Wiggin Library FAQs
Here are frequently asked questions about the library.
If you don't see the answer to your question, contact the library and archives staff.
Using the Library
When is the library open during Intensives?
During Intensives, the library is open in the morning before classes from 8:00-9:00, during the lunch hours from 11:30-1:30, and most evenings after classes from 5:00-5:30. We are closed on Wednesday evenings for Vespers, and on Fridays because the building closes early on Fridays. If there are any changes to these times, the library staff will make every effort so that students know well in advance. We also post the library hours in Atherton Lounge and outside the library.
When is the library open the rest of the year?
Why is the library door locked?
Who can use the library?
To use the library, contact the library assistant. To use the archives, contact the archivist.
Can I use the library during times other than the posted hours?
Access to the library will be limited based on staff time. Users will not be allowed to use the library resources or space unless a member of the library and archives staff is present. This is for security reasons and we will work with you to minimize the inconvenience of this.
During times when Spertus's Asher Library is open, Wiggin Library users will not be able to get help from a member of library staff or use books on course reserve. Spertus's librarians are not able to help MLTS users with Meadville Lombard specific questions, and cannot check out books to MLTS users.
Can I eat or drink in the library?
Can I talk on the phone in the library?Out of respect to other library users, we ask that if you need to use your cell phone, you step into the hallway to do so. You are, of course, more than welcome to talk to people in person in the library, while being mindful of others who may be using the library.
How many books can I check out at once?
This depends on what type of user you are. There’s no limit on the number of books enrolled students and faculty can check out. Other types of users, including unenrolled MLTS students, alumni, UU religious professionals, unaffiliated researchers, and members of the larger UU community are limited to 3 books at a time.
How do I check out a book?
To check out a book during the rest of the year, call or email the library assistant. In the email, send as much information as you can, including at least the title and author of the book, and your address. The library assistant will email you back as soon as possible to let you know when the book has been checked out to you, and when it is in the mail to you.
How do I return a book?
You can get material from other libraries in two ways: through interlibrary loan, and through I-Share.
I-Share allows you to request books from any of the 86 participating libraries in Illinois -- nearly every 2- and 4-year college and university in the state! In order to use I-Share, you need to request a library account that's elligible for I-Share. Once you have your library account set up, you can create your I-Share account. You can request books from any library, and you can check them out or return them at any I-Share library too. If you don't live near an I-Share library, you can still request your books through I-Share and have them delivered to MLTS. Our staff will mail the books to you.
I-Share can only be used for books. If you need a journal article or a chapter from a book, contact the library assistant. We are happy to get you items that don’t need to be returned to the lending library, like a copy of an article or a chapter from a book.
If you need a book that isn't available through I-Share, you can request it through interlibrary loan. You can request a book through ILL by emailing the library assistant.
ILL for books is only available to people who are able to pick up and return books in person. If you are not able to pick up and drop off books in person, we cannot request books through interlibrary loan, due to the logistics of mailing the books multiple times.We are also members of several library organizations that provide borrowing privileges at seminary libraries in the Midwest and around the country, and we can help you find the book locally.
You can also fill out a form here to submit your article request.
Who can use interlibrary loan services?
Interlibrary loan services (for both books and articles) are generally limited to currently enrolled students, faculty, and alumni. Most libaries offer interlibrary loan services, so if you need a book or article, we heartily encourage you to contact a librarian at your local library. If your local library is not able to fulfill an interlibrary loan request for you (some libraries are not part of large ILL networks), contact the Library Assistant to find out if we are able to assist you.
What books are on course reserve?
Each term, we put at least one copy of every required and recommended textbook on reserve. Books are put on course reserve so that students are able to access the books they need for their classes without purchasing them. These items are kept behind the circulation desk and only available to students registered for that class. In some cases, we have multiple copies of these books, and there are copies available in the general circulating collection as well in the reserves.
How long can I check out a book on course reserve?
During Intensives, course reserve books circulate for use during class and are due by 5:30 the day they are checked out, or for use overnight and are due at 8:30 the next morning. If you check out a course reserve book during the day, you are required to share your copy of the book with others in the class, but you do not need to share your copy if you check the book out for use overnight.Outside of Intensives, course reserve books circulate for two weeks. This starts from the day the book is checked out, and includes the time to ship the book both ways.
Can I renew a reserve book?
In general, books on course reserve cannot be renewed. This helps keep the books available to other users.
How many course reserve books can I check out at a time?
You can have up to 3 course reserve books checked out at one time. This is so that books remain accessable to as many people as possible.
How do I search the catalog?
From the library’s main page, click the “Find a Book” button on the right side of the page. This will take you to our catalog page, where you’ll click the icon that says “Local Catalog.” From here, you can perform a search. The default search is a keyword search. To search by title, author, or other piece of information, enter your search term in the search box and then select the type of search you want to perform from the menu to the right of the box.
I looked up a book in the catalog. How do I know if it’s available?
When you look a book up in the catalog, click the title of the book. If the item status in the catalog says “charged,” that means it’s checked out. If the item status is “Not charged,” then it’s not checked out.Not all books that say “Not charged” are available on the shelf. For more information, contact the library assistant.
I'm having trouble finding a book in the catalog. Do you have any tips?
Rare books are, as the name implies, rare. Most of them are very old, and can only be used in the library and with special permission from the Archivist. For more information about our rare book collection, check out the Rare Books & Special Collections section of the FAQ.
How can I donate to the library?
We appreciate all donations to the library. If you have books or other physical materials that you would like to donate to the library, please contact the Library Director. You can also support the library collection by donating to our Buy-A-Book campaign. You can also support our archives by donating to our Buy-A-Box campaign. If you have archival materials to donate, please check out the Archive section of the FAQ or contact the Archivist.
What types of books can I check out by mail?
You can check out anything in our circulating collection by mail. This includes all of our circulating books, as well as course reserves. We cannot mail you periodicals, but if you need a copy of a single article from a journal or magazine, you should contact the library assistant about getting a copy or PDF of it. We have a small reference section, and you can also get copies/PDFs of sections of our reference books if you need them.
You cannot check out theses or rare books. If you need to use a thesis, you should contact the library assistant. If you need to use a rare book, you should contact the archivist.
Do I need to tell you when I return the book?
Yes, please do. Call or email the library assistant to let us know that the books are on their way. We don’t need a tracking number or anything like that, but it gives us peace of mind. By telling us when you return books by mail, we know to keep a look out for your books. It also helps us know that, if your books don't make it back to the library in a timely fashion, that you did have your books in the mail on time and that the mail was slow.
Do I need to send the books certified mail?
No. You can send the books back using whatever method makes you feel most comfortable. We do not require that books be sent with tracking numbers, signature on delivery, or any other upsells at the Post Office. However, if you will feel more comfortable mailing books this way, please do. We just want the books to be returned and for you to have peace of mind.
Can you mail my books using UPS or FedEx?
I’m visiting Chicago and flying home. Do I need to squeeze all my books into my luggage?
What online resources does the library have?
The Wiggin Library is proud to offer multiple online resources. We have access to a number of databases through EBSCOHost, including ATLA Religion Database and Academic Search Complete. Many of our journal subscriptions, as well as hundreds of other publications, are available through the ATLA database. For more information about using our EBSCO databases, watch our video tutorials or contact the library assistant.
How can I access the library’s databases?
Contact the library assistant for your login credentials.
Who can use the library databases?
Remote access to our electronic resources is limited to current MLTS students, faculty, and staff. If you are affiliated with another seminary or university, you should contact the library there to find out what online resources they provide. Many public libraries also offer access to a variety of online resources, and we encourage all library patrons to use their local library to supplement their research.
What is in the Archives?
The Meadville Lombard Archives houses the records of Meadville Lombard Theological School. The Archives is also responsible for the safekeeping of materials of historical and cultural significance to liberal religion, Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism. The collections within the Archives primarily consist of primary material, including digital documents, correspondence, manuscripts, scrapbooks, organizational records, photographs, audio-visual records, newspaper clippings, and printed ephemera.
How do I use the Archives?
Contact the archivist about getting access to material in the Archives. In most cases, the Archives are only available for use on campus. Because some of our material is stored off-site, you should contact the archivist at least two weeks before you need to use the materials, so that we can ensure the availability of what you need.
In some cases and within reason, we can scan selected material at your request and send you a high-quality scan of the item(s) you need.
Can I donate historical material to the archives?
Yes, we are always looking to grow the Archives. Please contact the archivist for more information.
Rare Books & Special Collections
What is a Special Collection?
A Special Collection is a series of archival collections pertaining to a single event, theme, or movement within Unitarian Universalism. Special Collections are a vital part of the Meadville Lombard Archives because they allow use to help preserve the histories of communities that are often underserved by archives.
What are the Special Collections that Meadville Lombard Archives currently houses?
The Sankofa Special Collection is dedicated to preserving the history of Unitarian Universalists of color.
The Angus MacLean Special Collection is a repository for religious education materials. It primarily consists of religious education curricula.
The Humanist Special Collection contains archival materials that illustrate the impact of Humanism upon Unitarian Universalism.
How do I access the Special Collections?
Much like with the archives, contact the archivist about getting access to material from a special collection. In general, you will need to access the archives in person. In some cases, we can scan selected material at your request and send you a high-quality scan of the item(s) you need.
What is the Neil W. Gerdes Rare Book Collection?
The mission of the Neil W. Gerdes Rare Book Collection is to preserve and make accessible its broad array of rare books pertaining to the heritage of Unitarian Universalism. The collection emphasizes early American and British Unitarianism, early Universalism, American free/radical thought, European Unitarianism, and signed copies of significant works from American and British author.
How do I access rare books?
Rare books are listed as “Rare” in our catalog and can only be accessed on site in the library. Please contact the archivist to arrange a visit.
What kind of citation format should I use?
You should always check with your professors, but Meadville Lombard’s preferred citation format is Chicago/Turabian.
How do I cite a source in a paper?
There are lots of places where you can find how to cite a source in a paper. Here are some of the easiest:
When writing a paper, your citations are like the breadcrumb trail of your research. They show the reader what research you did, and help protect you from accusations of plagiarism. When you're requesting a book or article from the library here at Meadville Lombard, using a formatted citation means that the library staff is able to fulfill your request faster, because we'll know exactly what you need and where to find it.
Library and Archives Staff
Rana Hutchinson Salzmann, M.A., M.L.S.
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