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Hekman Library for Seminary Distance Education

Librarian-crafted guide to services and resources in Hekman library for Calvin Seminary Distance Education students

What questions do you have?

Have a particular question or scenario you're not sure about? Send a message to your theological librarian, Paul Fields, and we'll use this page as an on-going discussion forum, with those questions and answers posted for you to refer to any time.

FAQs About the Library

Q. How many books can I check out of Hekman Library at any one time?
A. Distance education students are allowed to borrow 75 books from the regular circulating collection at any one time. If you are further than 40 miles from campus (see map), we will send them to you by mail or UPS, but you are responsible for returning them at your expense before they are due. Note that all books are subject to recall. If recalled, you are required to send them back after you have had them for two week. For general circulation policies, see the library's Circulation page.

Q. I am taking a distance education online course, but I live in the Western Michigan area. Will the library send me books from the print collection?
A. The library will not send  print materials to students who live within a 40 mile radius of Calvin Theological Seminary (see map). These students should be able to come to the physical library to get print materials.

Q. How can I arrange to have a book sent to me?
A. Contact the theological librarian via email: Paul Fields.  Be sure to include your mailing address.

Q. How do I renew books?
A. Log in to your library account, using your username and password. Be sure to check regularly to see the status of books you have checked out.

Q. What is my username and password for my library  account and for research databases?
A.  Use your seminary ID barcode number (found on your student ID) as both username and password when logging into catalog or when using research databases from off-campus.  Be sure to use the entire 14-digit number, including the initial and trailing zeros (e.g., 00000999999900).

Q. How do I find journal articles?
A. For students in religion and theology courses, the most likely database for journal articles is the ATLA Religion Database. Please check the Access Ejournals and Databases page for further help in finding journal articles.

Q. How do I gain access to Hekman Library's subscription electronic resources from off-campus?
A. Access our web site ( from any working internet connection. When you click on a link for a subscription database such as ATLA Religion, JSTOR, Cambridge Books Online, or any specific electronic resource, such as an ebook from the catalog, you will be prompted to log in using your username and password.

Q. Does the library have eBooks?
A. Yes! The library has a wide variety of both print and electronic books - check out the page on this guide for Borrow Books and Journals for more on how to find them through the library catalog. You may also want to check out the subject guides listed on the Explore Theology/Religion Resources page for more recommended reads.

Q. What if the library doesn't have the book or article I need?
A. You can request articles through InterLibrary Loan services, to be emailed to you in PDF form. You may also request books through ILL, but the library will not mail ILL books to students; if you live nearby, you can pick up the book at the library circulation desk. 

Q. The library appears to have the journal article I want, but it is available only in print.  How can I get a copy?
A. If you live outside the immediate Grand Rapids area (see map), send an email to the theological librarian, Paul Fields. You will receive a digital copy within a week.

Q. I'm having trouble gaining access to a database/resource/etc.  Where can I get help?
A. Contact the library for research assistance, either by telephone, email, or chat (see links in box above).