Library Return to Campus FAQ

Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 4:36 PM

Please check back for updates. Or to get email notifications of new additions to our COVID pages, send an empty email to with the single word Join in the subject line.

What are the services you currently offer?

To see an up-to-date list of current services please consult our page about Hybrid library for a hybrid semester: 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.

Does the Library provide study spaces?

De-densified quiet study seats and academic support rooms are available by reservation only in Mann, Olin, and Uris Libraries. Please be ready to show your reservation when you enter.

Mann Library hours: Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Olin Library hours (starting September 18th): Sunday through Thursday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Uris Library hours: Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Quiet study spaces in the Catherwood, Law, Management, and Veterinary Libraries are open by keycard access to the ILR, Law School, Johnson School, and College of Veterinary Medicine communities, respectively.

COMING SOON: Academic support rooms in Olin Library.

Will the Library provide academic support spaces for instructors?

The meeting rooms on the upper floors on the West side of Olin Library will be available for instructors to schedule for meetings with their students. Other rooms are available for this purpose in Mann and Uris Libraries. Occupancy limits apply. Reservations are required.

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

Scanning is available from the circulating collections of all of our libraries, except for Adelson Library as the Cornell Lab or Ornithology.

Scanning is also available for rare and distinctive collection items from the Kheel Center, Mann Library, and Rare and Manuscript Collections, for students, faculty, and staff. View your item in the library catalog and click “Request Item for Scanning.” Email questions to the Kheel Center, Mann Library, and RMC. Or contact us for RMC reproduction requests.

How can I get books?

Contactless pickup is available for items from the circulating collections of all of our libraries except Adelson Library (at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), as long as the items are not accessible digitally through the Hathi Trust Emergency Temporary Access Service. Demand for this service is high, so please plan ahead.

Why can't I request contactless delivery of items that are available digitally?

Since the Hathi Trust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) is invaluable in our hybrid teaching environment, it is important to retain access to its over four million volumes as long as our usual services are affected. 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 new 'virtual browse' feature of the library catalog on the vast majority of our holdings. When displaying an item of interest, scroll down to browse similar volumes across our libraries, as well as most similar digital items. Or, for a text-based alternative, you can try the call number browse feature.

When you find promising titles that do not have table of content information in the catalog yet, 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.

More information.

Do I have to register to come to campus to pick up or return library materials?

No, as long as that's all you are coming to campus to do. However, do not come to campus if you need to quarantine, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, have experienced COVID-like symptoms in the past 14 days, or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.

What about course reserves during the fall semester?

For Fall 2020 the Library’s course reserves service moves into an online, accessible environment to the fullest degree possible, while remaining responsive to instructor needs. In order to support equitable access for students studying remotely and comply with quarantine guidelines for library materials, the course reserves service follows these guidelines:

  1. If items in physical formats are requested, the Library’s course reserves team maked every effort to purchase or license an accessible digital version instead.
  2. If there is no digital version available we follow the priorities established by the instructor and digitize course materials to the fullest extent allowed by copyright law.
  3. If neither of the above strategies is successful or there are overriding considerations, the Library will endeavor to make more physical format copies available than usual in order to minimize the checkout delays caused by the quarantine process. 

Physical course reserves in the Management and Veterinary Libraries are available by keycard access to the Johnson School and College of Veterinary Medicine communities, respectively.

We have consolidated our other locations for this service. Students can consult physical reserves by seat reservation at:

  • Mann Library 1st floor outside the Stone Classroom (for items usually on reserve at Mann and the Mathematics Libraries.) Hours: Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Uris Library Willis Room (for items usually on reserve at Africana, Fine Arts, Hotel, Music, Olin, and Uris Libraries.) Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Friday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Please be ready to show your reservation when you enter.

Procedures for Law faculty differ slightly. Law faculty should consult the Law School 2020-2021 Reopening Plan, contact Law Library Liaisons for assistance, and email with requests. 

Can I request items from Borrow Direct and Interlibrary Loan?

Throughout the spring and summer we have been able to fill requests for items that are available electronically. This service remains in effect.

We are one of six of the twelve Borrow Direct libraries that have restarted borrowing and lending of physical items via Borrow Direct. As partner libraries rejoin the lending network at their own pace, we expect turnaround times to slowly begin to approach normal. For most of the fall we anticipate turnaround times of about a week. COMING SOON: requesting physical items through Interlibrary Loan.

Can I consult items in your rare and distinctive collections?

We are now scanning items in the Kheel Center, Mann Library, and the Rare and Manuscript Collections, in response to requests from Cornell faculty, students, and staff. Please direct scanning-related requests and questions to,, and, respectively. We also continue to work toward appointment-based access but do not have a timeline yet.

How can I consult microforms?

Our scanning and contactless pickup services are available for microforms, too. In addition, we are getting close to announcing Zoom-based appointments when on-site staff will load requested microfilm on readers and help you set up remote sessions that will allow you to manipulate, read, and capture images of the microfilm from your home.

Can students on temporary leave get access to library online resources?

With the support of their academic advisor or research supervisor, students on temporary leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic can be granted access to library licensed online resources in order to continue their scholarly work.  The sponsor needs to contact the Library Public Services office with the student’s name, NetID, and a statement about the individual's need for access.  Access can be granted until the end of the semester.

Will the Amit Bhatia Libe Café be open?

Cornell Dining will provide grab-and-go services with no seating and a one-way traffic flow. This service will start when a temporary exit to the Arts Quad is installed.

Will I be able to check out laptops?

We will continue to make laptops available for checkout for 2-4 weeks at a time. 

How about other services that are priorities for researchers?

Cornell researchers with other needs, for example access to large items, rare holdings, specific parts of the stacks, or special formats such as maps and microfiche will be able to schedule appointments as needed. Please stay tuned.

Where can I access your reactivation plans?

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