Library Return to Campus FAQ

Updated: Tuesday, April 13, 2021, 10:03 AM

These responses to frequently asked questions complement with additional information the page that presents our current services: Hybrid library for a hybrid semester. Please check back frequently for updates. Or to get email notifications of new additions to these pages, send an empty email to with the single word Join in the subject line.

I am immunocompromised. What safety measures are you taking in the Library?

Your safety is important to us. Naturally, the robust safety program the university has instituted applies to our library locations, too. Here are the high points:

  • Wherever technically feasible, we instituted keycard access to admit current Cornell faculty, staff, and students only.
  • All users and on-site employees need to be cleared for campus access and participate in the Daily Check and the surveillance testing programs.
  • Cornell is continually monitoring the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on campus and you can too, at the COVID-19 Dashboard.
  • Face coverings and masks are required for all.
  • To reduce and control occupancy, appointments and reservations are required for most services (the only exception is stacks access for faculty by on-site sign in.)
  • Our spaces have been de-densified, and require occupants to practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
  • Our spaces receive frequent cleaning and disinfecting from Building Care staff.
  • Our space ventilation systems have been programmed to maximize fresh air, and have upgraded air filtration to MERV-13 where possible. See more information on Cornell’s HVAC efforts.
  • Elevator occupancy limits have been reduced to enable adequate distancing.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfectant stations have been deployed for users to be able to keep hands and surfaces clean.
  • Plexiglass barriers have been deployed at service areas where users and staff interact.

If you have further questions about the occupancy limits or specific arrangements in a particular location, don’t hesitate to contact them directly.

Why am I being asked to wash my hands before my research appointment for rare and distinctive (RAD) collections?

Hand sanitizers leave residues that, if transferred to fragile materials, can be harmful to them. Therefore we ask that you wash your hands before touching our rare holdings. We do offer hand sanitizer for you to use on your way out.

May I use my faculty study now that the Olin stacks are accessible?

Yes, you may. With questions please email us.

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 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.

Do I have to register to come to campus for contactless pickup or for the return of 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.

Why can't I check out print volumes that are available digitally? When will that change?

Since the Hathi Trust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) is invaluable during our hybrid spring semester, it is important to retain access to its over four million volumes. 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.

On May 26th we will exit ETAS and restore full circulation to our print collections. In addition to restored physical access, the library will continue to provide several services to support both local and remote patrons, including scanning, contactless pickup, ordering ebooks, and mailing books to Cornell users who are unable to come to campus. 

What will happen to Hathi Trust access after the spring semester?

Items that are in copyright will still be available for full-text search in the HathiTrust Digital Library, and patrons can continue full access to HathiTrust items in the public domain or through Creative Commons licensing. These titles are marked “Full view” in HathiTrust's catalog. Because Cornell is a HathiTrust member, Cornell students, faculty, and staff may log in to HathiTrust using the institutional login and password and download full PDFs of those items.

Has Amit Bhatia Libe Café resumed operations?

Yes, Cornell Dining is providing grab-and-go services with very limited seating and a one-way traffic flow exiting onto the Arts Quad. There is no re-entry to the Library from the cafe. More information.

Where can I access your reactivation plans?

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