Library Return to Campus FAQ

Updated: Monday, July 6, 2020, 4:39 PM


Please check back for updates.

What are the services you currently offer?

To see an up-to-date list of current services please consult our page about enhanced online resources and other COVID-19 updates.

What is guiding your return-to-campus efforts?

We are basing all of our return-to-campus activities on our guiding principles:

  • Cornell University Library will act to protect the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and our wider community.
  • Decisions about health and safety will be directed and guided by the University.
  • Library-specific decisions will be evidence-based and data-informed to the extent possible.
  • Library decisions will support, sustain, and advance the quality of instruction and research at Cornell.
  • Library operations will be responsive to the R2C Library Services Task Force as well as the University Committees on Teaching Reactivation Options, Preparation for Online Teaching, Research and Operations Reactivation.

Can I request scans of articles and chapters held by the Library?

Scanning has resumed from the collections of the Annex, Kroch Asia, Mann, Olin, and Uris. Other libraries will be added later this summer.

Can I request books for contactless ‘curb-side’ pickup?

Users can now request physical items from the circulating collections of the Annex, Kroch Asia, Mann, Olin, and Uris if they are not available digitally. Use the ‘request’ button when viewing the item in the library catalog. Pickup locations can be chosen from the following options: Annex curbside, Annex Garage Entrance, Mann curbside (for those with accessibility concerns), Mann Lobby, and Uris clock tower (card swipe access by entrance to clock tower on the East side of the building). We will send you an email with pickup information when the items are available for pickup. Pickups are available on weekdays and we expect a 48-hour turnaround time for the service.

As we gain experience with this service and receive clearance to return to more buildings we will be able to fill requests for collection items shelved in other libraries. We are currently working up plans for Africana, Fine Arts, and Music.

Can I request delivery of items that are available digitally?

Since the Hathi Trust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) has been invaluable to Cornell researchers during the closure of our library spaces, it is important to retain access to its over four million volumes as long as our usual services are disrupted. The ETAS terms of service specify:

“Once ETAS is activated, the library should avoid lending print items when a digital copy is available to its students, faculty, and staff in HathiTrust.”

Guide to using Hathi Trust Digital Library.

How can I browse without being able to go to the stacks?

If you want to browse items that are shelved together because they share a topic, you can use the ‘call number browse’ feature of the library catalog. This will show not only similar volumes across all of our libraries, but also similar digital items. And if you find promising titles, you can request scans of tables of contents or of specific sections to help you determine which are most likely to be relevant before making a contactless pickup request.

To use this function, enter the beginning of the call number of an item that you found helpful into the search box of the library catalog, then choose ‘call number browse’ in the pull-down menu next to the search box and click the search icon. Once you identify physical items of interest, click on ‘request scan’ or ‘request item.’

When will BorrowDirect/Interlibrary Loan for physical items start up again?

We are aware of the importance of these services to our researchers and throughout the closure we have been able to fill requests for items that are available electronically. This service remains in effect. We are working closely with our BorrowDirect and Interlibrary Loan partners, all of whom face similar restarting tasks before we can collectively resume the borrowing and lending of physical materials. At this point we do not anticipate BorrowDirect and Interlibrary Loan being operational before September 1st.

What other services are you planning for the summer?

We are also working on:

  • Providing scans of items in our rare and distinctive collections. We continue to work towards appointment-based access but do not have a timeline yet.
  • Providing mediated, virtual access to GIS and specialized software such as ArcGIS and Rhino.
  • Ordering and processing patron-requested collection items to meet immediate research and instructional needs.
  • Gradually restarting routine collection acquisition and processing activities.

How about other services that are priorities for researchers?

We understand how essential library services are for researchers, including, but not limited to on-site access to:

  • large, multi-volume sets that are hard to handle
  • microfilm/microfiche readers
  • non-circulating collections
  • physical browsing
  • quiet work spaces

These services are dependent on a safe and phased reopening of our spaces, addressed below.

When can you open the library spaces again?

We don’t have a date yet, but at this point we do not anticipate it to happen before September 2nd.

We are planning for a phased reopening of our spaces after enough staff have safely returned to working on site. Reopening to users will require the implementation of best practices such as designating separate entrances and exits, limiting building occupancy, clear and consistent signage about policies and safety/hygiene protocols, and developing procedures to limit face-to-face interactions whenever possible.

Where can I access your reactivation plans?

Cornell students, faculty, and staff can read the Library's growing list of approved reactivation plans here.