Requesting purchase of Library materials during the COVID-19 crisis

To access our extensive online collections start at the Library home page, or if you are used to going to your favorite licensed resources directly, use Passkey to get through the paywalls. Refer to our guide to additional electronic resources that publishers or vendors opened up for free access during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

For contactless pickup of items from our circulating physical collections click the Request button when viewing the item in the Library Catalog. Articles and chapters can be requested for scanning and electronic delivery.

Beyond these offerings, we are committed to acquiring access to additional material needed for the continuity of instruction. We will provide it in the best ways we can during the COVID-19 situation. (See information on budget implications below.)

Options include:

  • Recommend a Purchase
    Use this form to recommend a purchase for the Library collection. We will do our best to fulfill Cornell community members’ requests for books and other items.
  • Emergency Print Purchase and Delivery (a temporary service for Cornell instructors) 
    When your instructional need for a book is urgent, no electronic version is available, and you are unable to retrieve a print copy from one of our contactless pick-up sites on campus, we will attempt to purchase a print copy and have it shipped directly from the vendor to your home address. To discuss whether this is the right service to meet your need and to initiate an order, please contact the library liaison to your department or program. You will be notified about returning the books once our physical facilities reopen. Please note that vendor delivery time is unpredictable.

Budget implications

As always, we are fully committed to providing timely access to research and teaching materials needed by the Cornell community and we will work with you to find the best ways to make this material available.

Some of the services we are offering during the COVID-19 crisis entail additional costs to the Library. Electronic books are usually more expensive than print editions, and meeting campus needs in these extraordinary circumstances not only means an abrupt shift to electronic-only acquisitions, it often means purchasing duplicates of books we already have in the collection.

We are taking multiple temporary measures to steward the collections budget as we have assessed the unpredictable costs of acquisitions during remote and hybrid instruction and grappled with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Beyond maintaining our existing commitments to journal subscriptions, we are privileging requests from programs and departments. In a normal year, a significant proportion of our new print books from around the world are acquired according to preset profiles known as approval plans. In the spring, we instructed many of the vendors who supply this automatic flow to hold off selecting and storing books for us till the fall, to allow us to assess costs and budgets and to adjust our approval plans as needed. Our subject librarians have worked to tighten the approval profiles and in January 2021, we will restart the suspended international plans, selectively filling gaps in the print collection that have accrued during the pandemic.

For more on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Library collections budget, please see our Collection Funding FAQ.