Yale University Library News

COVID-19 Update: Library Reopening FAQ

1. Who can access Yale Library buildings and reading rooms? June 3, 2021

Due to the pandemic, Yale Library buildings and spaces, including special collections reading rooms, are open only to current Yale students, staff, and faculty (including emeriti) who are authorized to be on campus.

During the summer term, only students whose learning location is classified as in residence will be able to swipe into the libraries. Graduate students, student employees, and any other students who require summer access to the libraries should check their current learning location and, if needed, request a change to in residence” using this form: https://forms.sis.yale.edu/url/LearningLocation. Students who have questions about the status of a pending learning location request should contact their designated Health and Safety Leader. Any student who has requested and been approved as in residence,” but still cannot swipe into a library,  should call 203-432-OPEN for assistance. 

In compliance with the University’s COVID-19 guidelines, we are unable to extend access to other patron groups, including retired staff and faculty without emeritus status, alumni, family members, other Yale affiliates, and general public. We regret any inconvenience, and we look forward to welcoming our extended community when public health conditions improve.

2. What libraries are currently open? June 1, 2021

3. What precautions is the library taking to protect the health and safety of patrons and staff? June 1, 2021

The libraries have reduced the  number of people on site, reduced the need for face-to-face interactions, and increased online services and support. At this time, library patrons must wear masks at all times in the libraries (including in individual study rooms and while seated at study carrels). Self-checkout for library materials has been expanded and special collections repositories have implemented new protocols for materials handling as well as reduced occupancy for reading rooms. At this time, general collections materials returned by patrons are quarantined for 48 hours before being returned to circulation.

4. Where and when can I request contactless pickup? June 1, 2021

You may request contactless pickup of books, videos, and other library materials in the Sterling Nave. Contactless pickup requires an activated Yale ID. If you are a current student but not classified as "in residence,"  please request delivery of library materials by mail instead.  This service is also open to current faculty and staff. (Use the  “Send to home address or campus residence” link in Orbis or Quicksearch.)

If you have requested contactless pickup but do not have access to library buildings, let us know by emailing askyalelibrary@yale.edu and we will send the materials to you instead.

5. How can I access physical library materials without going to the library?  June 1, 2021

Current faculty, staff, and students may:

  • Request to have materials, including interlibrary loan and BorrowDirect materials, mailed to addresses in the U.S.  Please use the “Send to home address or campus residence” link in Orbis or Quicksearch. 
  • Request digital scans of chapters and articles from Yale Library collections and via interlibrary loan, which will be filled based on availability of materials at our partner libraries.  

6. How can I access special collections materials? June 1, 2021

Beinecke Library, Manuscripts and Archives, and other special collections reading rooms are open by advance appointment to users who are authorized to be on campus.  To make a reservation or discuss class support needs contact the relevant special collection repository

For non-Yale researchers, the library’s capacity to fill special collections scanning and reference requests is limited at this time and may vary by repository, with no guaranteed fulfillment times.  We continue to expand the range of digital collection materials freely available to the public. 

7. How is Yale Library supporting students who are enrolled remotely? June 1, 2021

We have enhanced online services and support for faculty, staff, and students in several ways:

  • Faculty, staff, and students can now access most e-resources off-campus from the library’s website without logging into the virtual private network (VPN). Watch this short video for a demonstration. Please note: VPN access remains fully available for those who prefer it, and it will continue to be required for a limited number of e-resources.
  • Currently enrolled students may have books and other library materials, including BorrowDirect and interlibrary loan materials, sent to their home addresses anywhere in the U.S. Please use the “Send to home address or campus residence” link in Orbis or Quicksearch to request this service. 
  • Through our Ask Yale Library service, we are offering extended live-chat hours for more than 90 hours a week. Off hours, you may email your questions to askyalelibrary@yale.edu.
  • We have maintained the special access we secured last spring to several million e-books in the HathiTrust digital library through the end of the spring semester. As a condition of access, our print copies of these titles may not be checked out, but they are available for chapter scan requests. (If you have questions about a specific HathiTrust title, please email askyalelibrary@yale.edu
  • All library instruction, workshops, and statistical support services are being offered online-only at this time. Consultations with research librarians are also virtual. We encourage you to take full advantage of our online reference and research support. If you need assistance, please contact your personal librarian or the relevant subject specialist librarian.

8. Is there a limit on the number of items I can request for pickup or scanning? June 1, 2021

You may request up to 20 items a day for pickup. There is no limit on the number of scanning requests.

9. When I pick up library materials, should I clean or disinfect them? June 1, 2021

No. Please don’t clean or disinfect library materials.  Cleaning may damage the materials, and it’s not necessary given the precautions our staff will be taking, including the 48-hour quarantine of materials when they are returned to the library.  We encourage users to wash or disinfect hands before and after using library materials. 

10. Can I request books via interlibrary loan (ILL) and BorrowDirect?  June 1, 2021

BorrowDirect and ILL materials may be requested for pickup or mail-to-address. We continue to accept and fill ILL requests for scanned articles and book chapters, based on availability of materials from partner libraries. BorrowDirect materials generally arrive within two to four business days.

Most of the 13 BorrowDirect institutions are lending from at least some of their library collections. Many titles currently available as e-books through the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) may be unavailable in print form through BorrowDirect because most of the BorrowDirect institutions are also participating in ETAS. Participating libraries, including Yale Library, cannot lend out physical copies of books for which they have obtained temporary e-book access from HathiTrust. 

We regret that we cannot offer BorrowDirect services to other Yale affiliates due to staffing constraints and the increased demands of supporting online teaching and research.

11. I have overdue library materials. Where should I return them? June 1, 2021

Most library materials may be returned to any open bookdrop. Audio-visual and other fragile materials should be returned to library service desks. If you have questions about returning library materials, email askyalelibrary@yale.edu for options. Late fees generated during the COVID-19 period are being waived. 

12. May I recall books that are checked out? June 1, 2021

At this time, we are not recalling books because so many library users are away from campus and unable to return items to campus. If you need a book that is currently checked out, you may be able to get a copy through BorrowDirect or interlibrary loan. Alternatively, you may submit a purchase request, and we will try to obtain an electronic copy for you.

13. I cannot travel domestically or internationally to work with the research materials that I need at another archive or library. Is there anything the library can do to help? June 1, 2021

As a general rule, our library staff do not have any special influence with other archives and libraries. We recommend that you contact the other institution directly to explain your problem and request their assistance. However, in some cases, our subject expert librarians and archivists may be able to help you identify related or alternative materials in Yale Library collections or licensed resources, or collections available in digital form at other institutions. If you aren’t sure who to contact, email askyalelibrary@yale.edu. Please note: At this time, because of staffing and other constraints related to the pandemic, library services are generally limited to current Yale faculty, staff, and students.

14. Is the library accepting purchase requests for print and e-books? June 1, 2021

Yes. Use this link to place a purchase request for any title; you will be notified by email when your requested material is available. We are accepting purchase requests for print titles needed for curricular or research purposes, as outlined in our e-preferred purchase policy. Because of material handling and quarantine requirements, print orders may take several days longer than in pre-pandemic times. If a title is not available through Yale Library but owned by another Ivy Plus library, you may wish to request it through BorrowDirect. In the current environment, you will generally receive BorrowDirect materials more quickly than a new purchase request.

15. How can I get access to course reserves/course readings through the library? June 1, 2021

Course Reserves is a service provided by the library to make course readings and audio-visual material available via Canvas. Faculty can initiate requests for e-books, scans, and streaming audio or video using the Course Reserves module of Canvas

To access readings and other materials “on reserve,” students should look for the “Course Reserves” link on the left of the course website in Canvas. Other ways to find copies of course materials include: 

  • Use Scan and Deliver to request chapter or article scans of items that Yale Library owns. Look up the title in Quicksearch, then find the “Request scan of article / chapter” link. Log in with your Yale NetID and tell us which pages, chapter, or article you need. (Note that US copyright restrictions prevent scanning an entire work.)
  • Use interlibrary loan to request chapter or article scans of items not available at Yale Library.
  • Request Yale Library materials for delivery to on-campus housing or home address. Look up the book title in Quicksearch. If the library owns a copy, it will be listed there. If it's an e-book, look for the access link ("Online book") and log in with your NetId to read it.  
  • Fill out a purchase request to request e-book versions of class materials be added to the Yale Library collection, if available. (In many cases publishers will not license e-versions of textbooks and other class materials to libraries.)
  • Request materials through BorrowDirect

For questions not answered here, use the live chat service at Ask Yale Library or email Ask Yale Library.  See also our COVID-19 library updates for additional information about the library's ongoing response to the pandemic.

Last modified: 
Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 1:32pm