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Circulation and Photocopying Policies

Our mission requires us to seek a balance between preservation and access. Excessive deterioration of the materials we are charged with preserving means that access may need to be limited. We have restricted access to some materials, not by making them unavailable to patrons, but by not allowing their use outside of the library. Thus, many materials may not be checked out or sent out on interlibrary loan, but may be used in the library. Some materials may not be photocopied because of their fragility.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17 U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. The person using the MLA copiers (or the final recipient of the copies, in the case of copies made by MLA staff) is liable for any infringement.

Users are responsible for payment of all copies (including mistakes) made on the MLA copiers.

The MLA copiers are not available for mass-production copying (such as publishing your genealogy, or printing a hundred copies of your Christmas letter).

Photocopying of bound periodicals larger than 11 inches by 17 inches, and of original church record books is not allowed. These items, because of their large size and their brittle paper, simply receive too much damage in the photocopying process.

Users must copy from microfilm rather than bound volumes if microfilm is available. (This applies mainly to periodicals.)

Rare Books
  • Rare books are stored in the vault and do not circulate. They must be used in the library. Rare books are labeled as such primarily because of their age (books published in Europe before 1800; in the United States before 1820) and because there are few copies extant.
  • Researchers may use a rare book by presenting the classification number to a member of the MLA staff, and the staff member will retrieve the book from the vault.
  • Researchers should exercise special care when using a rare book. No notations should be made in the book. Use only pencil for taking notes, do not use pens. Photocopying from a rare book may not be done without permission. The condition of a book will determine whether it may be photocopied. Photocopies will be made by the staff for the researcher. In some instances, arrangements may be made for microfilming fragile books.
  • Museums and libraries may make special arrangements for loans from the rare book collection. The MLA director must approve insurance, transportation, and usage provisions.
Non-Rare Books
Restrictions have been placed on the circulation of some non-rare books:
  • Genealogies. Genealogies do not circulate. Although they do not always fall under the technical definition of a rare book, in reality they often are rare books. Most of the genealogies in the collection are irreplaceable. Many of them are not "published" genealogies, but are "homemade" with a very limited number of copies available. The genealogical collection is a reference collection and one of the main collections that researchers come to the MLA to use. It is important, therefore, that the materials be in the library. Additionally, in our previous experience with circulated genealogies, the loss rate has been unacceptably high.
  • Church Records. Church records (whether they are published records or the handwritten contemporary records) do not circulate. Like genealogies, church records are essentially reference and high use materials, thus it is important that they remain in the library. Original church record books may not be photocopied because of the fragility of their paper and bindings.
  • Other Non-Rare Books. Most non-rare books circulate to the general public. All books must be returned by the due date indicated at the time of check out. Books recalled for another user must be returned within one week. Non-rare books may also circulate through interlibrary loan, although some books may be restricted from interlibrary loan because of the wear and tear of shipping. Non-rare books may be photocopied by users whenever this does not violate donor restrictions or copyright regulations. Books larger than 11" x 17" may not be photocopied because of the fragility of their paper and bindings.
Periodicals, archival holdings, photographs, and other non-book materials
  • Non-book materials in most cases do not circulate. Such materials include photographs, audio tapes and other sound recordings, archival collections, microfiche, and most microfilms. Videos may be shown on campus, but are not checked out to the general public unless we have two copies.
  • Many non-book materials may be copied, but some are restricted for various reasons. Please check with MLA staff before copying. Bound periodicals larger than 11" x 17" may not be copied because of the fragility of their paper and bindings.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.