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Library and Archive Policies


This section provides overviews of the core library services and resources offered to patrons. 

Library Staff Support

Library staff are subject specialists in Unitarian Universalism and have experience in assisting patrons in theological, historical, and social scientific research related to the study of religion and religious communities. In addition, library staff can provide one-on-one training or group instruction on using library and archive resources, citation practices, and copyright best practices. Faculty can schedule library staff for in-person or online instruction as part of their courses. More information about library support for teaching faculty can be found in the Library Support for Faculty Teaching guide.  All library staff requests can be directed to

Wiggin Library

Consisting of 35,000 volumes, the Wiggin Library comprehensively collects all published Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist material. It collects at an advanced level in the subjects of American Religious History, Congregational Leadership, Ecology, Ethics, Hebrew and New Testament Bible, Humanism, Liberalism (Religion), Paganism, Neo-paganism, Occult, Earth Religions and New Religions, Practical Theology and Worship Arts, Religious Education, Theology, and Transcendentalism. Also included in the Wiggin Library is the Meadville Lombard Theological Thesis and Dissertation Collection, which holds all submitted thesis and dissertations.  The Wiggin Library also has several collections of special materials to enhance student life and connect to student interests: boardgames, tarot decks, worship materials, and all resources on the MFC Reading List. More information about the Wiggin Library collection can be found in the Wiggin Library Collection Development Policy 

Course Reserves

Graudate Courses

The Wiggin Library holds two physical copies and, if possible, an ebook copy, of all titles listed on syllabi as required or recommended reading for every course taught at Meadville Lombard to put on course reserve. 

LIGHT Courses

The Wiggin Library holds two physical copies of all titles required or suggested as part of a LIGHT course or program. 

I-Share Libraries

For research and other interests that extend beyond Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism, and/or the subject areas collected at the advanced and basic levels of study, Wiggin Library provides I-Share access to graduate students and faculty. I-Share is a merged, union catalog of the holdings of all I-Share libraries in CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Library in Illinois). Accessed via the online catalog through the same interface as the Wiggin Library, I-Share provides easy access to 35 million volumes from over 90 different academic libraries. Patrons with I-Share access often use I-Share and Wiggin Library interchangeably.

OCLC Interlibrary Loan

For material that cannot be accessed through existing library resources and services, eligible patrons can request an interlibrary loan (ILL) through library staff. The library does not charge other libraries for ILL items. Eligible patrons can request paid ILL items from other libraries but will be responsible for paying any associated charges. While library staff will make all reasonable ILL requests, the library cannot guarantee other libraries will fulfill those requests. 

Articles. For articles not in supported databases, eligible patrons can request library staff to place an OCLC ILL request for those articles.

Books. For books not in Wiggin or I-Share, eligible patrons can request library staff place an OCLC ILL request for those books. Books borrowed through OCLC ILL must be picked up and returned onsite at the Wiggin Library.

Digital Resources

Ebooks. The Library provides access to over 50,000 ebooks. When possible, course reserves will include ebooks.

Periodicals. The Library provides database access to Atla Religion Database with AtlaSerials, Atlas Religion Database for Alums, JSTOR-Religion and Theology, Academic Search Complete, and other journal databases.  In addition, the library provides support for patrons using the free resources Open Access Digital Theological Library, Google Scholar, and Internet Archive Scholar.  

Reference. The Library provides complete online access to the Routledge Religion Handbooks, the Oxford Religion Handbooks, the Cambridge Companions to Philosophy and Religion, Cambridge Histories. In addition, the library provides support for the free resources Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) and the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA). 

A-Z Resource List. The Library hosts a searchable list of over 400 digital resources, most of which are open access and do not require a Meadville Lombard account to access.

Archives and Special Collections

Meadville Lombard has over 400 physical and digital archival collections, with topics ranging from Puritanism to Paganism and everything in between. Our emphasis is liberal religion in the west, 20th century Unitarian Universalism, and communities underserved and excluded by traditional archives. The single largest collection we hold is the UUA Congregational Records, which document the story of every Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist congregation from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Other Libraries

Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS). The Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) was formed in 1984 by twelve theological schools located in the Chicago area to provide means for cooperation among the member institutions in the areas of student cross-registration, library access and acquisitions, interchange among faculty members in the disciplines of theological education, and communications between the schools. 

Chicago Area Theological Library Association (CATLA) Reciprocal borrowing is one of CATLA’s founding principles. However, no formal borrowing agreement exists. Eligible patrons can contact the other member libraries whose resources they wish to use to ensure that the other libraries offer borrowing privileges to CATLA members.  Patrons should check with individual libraries for more information about their borrowing policies.

American Theological Library Association (Atla). The ATLA Reciprocal Borrowing Program connects eligible patrons with theological libraries across the country. Eligible patrons with proof of current enrollment can visit a library at a seminary near them and use that library’s resources.

University of Chicago. Eligible patrons borrowing privileges at the University of Chicago libraries as part of the Hyde Park Seminaries.  For more information, visit

Meadville Lombard Wiggin Library
180 N. Wabash Ave.
Suite 625 
Chicago, IL 60601

Library and Archives Phone: 312-546-6488        Library Email:        Archives Email: