Distance Students

We want our online students to feel just as welcome in our Library as the SPU students who live in the residence halls. Thanks to the technology that allows you to take classes online, we can offer you online access to our library resources.

Services for distance students

 From the Library's web pages you can:

  • Search for journal articles from the SPU Library Databases page.
  • Search for books in the SPU Library Catalog.
  • Request research assistance from our librarians using the Ask a Librarian service.
  • Use our website to find subject-related web pages selected by our librarians, as well as tutorials and library handouts, by visiting our Online Resources page.

Some of these features require authentication when off campus, and mailing materials requires a fee. See below for more information.

Home Library

Even if you never come into the SPU Library, consider it your home library. You may:

  • Request that we mail you items.
  • Request interlibrary loan or Summit borrowing items.
  • Search the databases.
  • Contact the reference desk and ask questions.

Since SPU is a member of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a consortium of libraries, you may use other Orbis Cascade Alliance libraries as well, where you will have visiting-patron status.

  • You can check out materials from other Alliance libraries, as well as request materials through the Summit Borrowing system to be sent to Alliance libraries for pickup.
  • Remote access to databases is not part of the visiting patron agreement, so continue to use SPU's databases for your research.

Accessing Journal Resources

The Library subscribes to a variety of journal indexes and full-text resources covering almost every subject. Patrons may access many of these resources through the Library's databases.

For the resources available in full text on the computer, you will be able to download or print a copy of the article. However, not all of our resources are available in full text online.

  • If the SPU Library owns a copy in print, you may request that the Library scan and email you a copy of the article. Contact your liaison librarian for help with this service.
  • If the Library does not own the journal online or in print, you will need to request a copy via interlibrary loan (ILL) from the Library. 

Accessing Books

Search the SPU Library Catalog for books, including SPU owned e-books that are available full text online.

  • If the SPU Library owns a book in print, you may request that we mail the book to you. You are responsible for all postage costs. Please contact your liaison librarian for help with this service.
  • SPU books circulate for four weeks and include a short "in the mail" grace period.

Search Summit, the Orbis Cascade Alliance union catalog, for books that are available for request.

  • Books requested from Summit will be sent to the SPU Library (or the Alliance library of your choice).
  • You may request that items sent to the SPU Library be mailed to you. You are responsible for all postage costs.
  • Summit books circulate for only six weeks. If you choose to have the book mailed to you, Summit books must be back to SPU within the six-week due date.
  • Materials checked out through Summit may be returned in person to any participating Alliance library.
  • Alternatively, you may request that item be sent to an Alliance library near you, and you may pick it up yourself. You must stop by the Alliance library to register as a visiting patron before placing your first request in this manner.

For items not owned by SPU or Summit libraries:

  • If the Library does not own the item, you will need to request a copy via interlibrary loan (ILL). We will find a library that has the item, they will send the item to us, and we will then mail it to you. There may be costs associated with interlibrary loans.
  • Lending times also vary according to where we obtain the item. See the ILL pages for more information.

Asking Questions

The reference librarians at SPU are ready to answer your questions. You may call, email, text, or chat. See the Ask a Librarian page for more information about contacting the library.

You may also contact your liaison librarian directly with questions. When you contact us, let us know that you are an online student; we can recommend resources that do not entail coming to the Library.

Scanning and Mailing Services

The SPU Library will scan and send articles from journals we own. We will also mail books (ours as well as those owned by other libraries). Contact your liaison librarian for help in using these services.

  • Charges for mailing items within the United States will be the actual cost of shipping
  • You are responsible for all postage costs.
  • We will work with you to reduce costs if multiple books are sent in the same package.
  • Contact us if you need items shipped to locations outside of the United States. Some books may not be shipped out of the United States.

If you have questions about the library services available to online or off-site program students, contact the Reference desk at 206-281-2419 or reference@spu.edu.

Ask a Librarian

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.