Electronic Resources

Your library provides a variety of academic library resources electronically. WorldCat Discovery (the homepage search box) is your gateway to all of the electronic resources that the library offers.

For more details on ebooks, streaming media, troubleshooting access issues, and more, visit the Electronic Resources & Remote Learning Guide.

Materials in the Library

Textbooks and Other Course Reserves Items

There will be no Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) Print Textbook Reserve Collection circulated in the library this coming year due to factors such as material quarantine and contactless pickup. Also, traditional textbooks are largely unobtainable via interlibrary loan and not set up for library ebook multi-use licenses. Students should plan on acquiring textbooks through the bookstore or other means..


Equipment and tech items have moved to the Digital Resource Center. Browse what is available and reserve: TechCheckout. There will be no laptop checkout on campus this year. Students who do not have access to a laptop that meets their academic needs should reach out to financial aid via the Emergency Aid Program (EAP). Learn more about library item quarantines and safety precautions that we are taking: Library COVID FAQ

Library Print Collections – Stacks Closed

We continue to provide Contactless Pickup service within the library. The stacks (shelving areas) will remain closed to browsing and to self service of print items (books, journals, etc.). Request all library items (including DVDs and CDs) ahead of time and look for an email that states that your items are ready to pick up. Instructions for submitting requests and contactless pickup

For students that are not on or near campus, see the following interlibrary loan information for an additional book chapter service option. Ask Us: for any questions on getting research materials.

Returning items

Please use the outside library book drop for all library and interlibrary loan returns.

Returned book/DVD still shows as “checked out?” You will not be charged a late fee. Books will be quarantined for 5 days or longer, upon return (we continue to monitor and follow national protocols). Interlibrary Loan Note: If a new interlibrary loan request is blocked because a recently returned item is still in quarantine, email interlibraryloan@macalester.edu

College Archives

The College Archives and Special Collections holds archival collections that document our institution and its students, staff, and faculty, as well as published and manuscript works spanning the 9th century to the present that are rare, valuable, unique, or that require special handling. The College Archives will be closed during the campus quiet period and will be available by appointment to current students, staff, and faculty when the library building opens. Macalester College Archives FAQ

Alumni, retired faculty/staff, and neighbor library card holders:

We are unable to provide library lending services to alumni, retired faculty/staff, and neighbors at this time. We will, however, extend borrowing privileges to alumni and neighbors an additional year, after campus fully opens.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that we participate in to help you get books, book chapters, dissertations, articles, and DVDs from other libraries–when you can’t get it from our library. Submit an ILL request and we do all of the legwork to figure out what library can lend it. (Under certain circumstances, we are using interlibrary loan to request certain items that are physically located in our library, see below.)

Physical ILL request items such as books and DVDs can be picked up following the Contactless Pickup Instructions, after you receive notification that the item is ready.

Requests types are split up by the format that the item is in. Delivery method is also dependent on format:

  • Journal articles:
    • These arrive electronically
    • Providing an ISSN of the journal or a DOI of the article will provide the fastest service. The “Request Item through Interlibrary Loan” button in WorldCat Discovery usually auto-fills this for you!
  • Journal articles that are in print in our library:
    • All students, faculty and staff: We will scan the article and send it to you electronically. 
    • Fill out an ILL journal article request with as much information as you can about the article, and use the note field to add that it is in print in the library.
  • Books/eBooks from other libraries: 
    • Due to copyright and ebook licensing restrictions, we are usually limited to requesting and borrowing print books from other libraries. eBook lending is not a common option.
    • Print items are only available for on-campus pickup. If you are not on or near campus, not to worry, we can help you find solutions. Ask Us!
  • Chapters from books in other libraries:
    • These will arrive electronically
    • If you are interested in just a chapter or two of a book from another library, submit a book chapter request–providing an ISBN and/or OCLC number will provide the fastest service (find these under the “View Description” button if you have the book pulled up in WorldCat Discovery).
  • Chapters from books in print in the library:
    • Special request option for students that are not on or near campus: electronic scans
    • If an item is in the library in print, we will scan chapters/portions of books (per copyright considerations) for students that are far from campus. Again, provide as much information as you can in the ILL request and use the note field to state that you are studying at a distance. Chapter Scan Instructions
  • Anything else that you can’t figure out how to access:
    • If you have questions about interlibrary loan or anything that you can’t figure out how to access–Ask Us! We are here to help you find research resources.

Contactless Pickup Instructions: Books, DVDs, and Interlibrary Loan

Students, Faculty, & Staff on or near campus:

Request physical items (Books, DVDs, CDs) from our collections (WorldCat Discovery) or from interlibrary loan (ILL account login). New: this includes reference books such as GRE test prep books.

Contactless Pickup continues throughout the semester within the library, level one.

Instructions to Request and Pickup Items:

  1. Use WorldCat Discovery to identify items that we own in physical format*
    Or, request item through interlibrary loan if the library does not have a copy in print, electronic format, streaming, etc.
  2. Instructions for requesting the item through WorldCat.
    Instructions for interlibrary loan remain the same.
  3. Look for an email that states that your items are ready for pickup before coming in.
  4. You will need your Mac ID to enter the building.
  5. Follow the signs for Contactless Pickup, level one. Ready items will be on a library cart labeled by the first two letters of your last name/followed by the last four digits of your Mac ID number. The requested items are already checked out to you.
  6. That’s it! The items are already checked out to you. Questions? Please contact us through Ask Us.

* If an electronic version is available, please do not request the physical item.

Please note that the speed of getting books, DVDs and CDs will be slower than than it was prior to the pandemic.  This is due to staffing limitations in other libraries for interlibrary loan (ILL), the current industry practice of quarantining ILL items in transit for several days before delivery, and contactless services.

Browse the library shelves from home!

Our books are arranged on their shelves by subject area. While we can’t allow you to browse the stacks (shelves) within the library. Follow the instructions below, or watch this video to learn how to browse the library shelves virtually.

Once you identify an item in WorldCat Discovery that has a call number (these are physical books, DVDs, etc)

  • Click on the title of the item in your search results
  • Look for “Browse the Shelf” below the book cover image
  • Click on this text to expand the shelf browsing area
  • Click on the right or left arrows to see which books are adjacent to the original book that you chose
  • Select a title from this browsing list in order to: see more information, request the print book/physical DVD, or to read online if it is also available as an ebook.

WorldCat record showing "Browse the Shelf" option.