COVID-19 Pandemic – Changes to Library Services

Last updated on Apr. 22, 2021.

As of April, all Western Libraries locations are closed until at least May 20, 2021, in alignment with the province-wide, stay-at-home order due to COVID-19. Digital delivery and no-contact pickup services are available to support you in your studies, course readings, and research.

We have a team of library staff ready to help you find what you need through our chat service. Western Libraries also has a rich collection of online databases, e-books, e-journals, and other digital materials that you can access remotely.

Research Support

Available collections

Western Libraries

Regular loan print materials are available via no-contact pickup and many items are available for digital delivery or through the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service.

Interlibrary loan is available, however sources for borrowing print materials are limited and turnaround to receive items is likely delayed.

If you require access to a collection not available for digital delivery or no-contact pickup, or if we don’t have an item you’re looking for, please email

Archives and Special Collections

Digital delivery may be available for certain materials upon request by emailing

Records services are currently available one day per week and there can be a delay on requests of up to a week. We cannot accept any new transfers or returns of university records at this time.

Affiliate University Colleges

The Affiliate University College collections are also available for no-contact pickup.

Electronic collections

We have enhanced our electronic collections to support your teaching, learning and research needs.

Digital delivery

All Western University and Affiliated University College faculty, students, and staff can now request portions of eligible physical library materials to be delivered in PDF form by email as allowable under existing copyright laws and fair dealing guidelines.

Read more

Accessing course readings

Some professors integrate our course readings service with your OWL course site. Login to the service from our website or check your OWL course site to access Course Readings.

Returning library materials

If you have outstanding loans, a recalled item, or if you have materials checked out that you no longer require, you can return them to the D.B. Weldon Library (Weldon) returns bin located to the right of the main entrance. Please continue to follow good hygiene practices as the handle is not regularly sanitized.

If you’re unable to come to campus to return items on loan, please email us to explore other options.

Browsing collections virtually

There are many ways to search and browse the collection via Omni, our library search tool. To simulate a shelf-browsing experience, simply select “BROWSE” from the menu at the top of the Omni interface and browse by various options, including call number, author, and subject. You can scroll forward and back through the virtual shelf.

You can also browse within specific item records by using the “Find similar items” feature.

For help using Omni, check out our research guide Omni Academic Search Tool or contact us.

Interlibrary loans (RACER)

Interlibrary loans/RACER services are available on a reduced basis. This is due to ongoing COVID-19 implications that require library closures across Ontario and copyright law that necessitates physical copies remain unavailable as long as lending partners subscribe to HathiTrust emergency temporary access service.

Safe handling of library materials

Returned library materials are quarantined for 72 hours. Though timing recommendations vary, based on research conducted by Project REALM (the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums project), we’re adopting a quarantine period of 72 hours for returns before they are processed by staff. We also monitor the International Federation of Library Associations’ COVID-19 and the Global Library Field safe-handling guidelines for any significant changes.

How you can help

We kindly ask you to partner with us to keep the Western community safe and healthy.

When picking up library material, please respect the signage and markers regarding physical distancing and traffic flow.

We’re doing our best to get requested digitized and print materials to you in a timely manner. We thank you for your patience.

COVID-19 Resources

We’ve created and curated a list of COVID-19 resources to help support our community.

Get help

Research help is available for students and faculty through chat and email.

Library staff will also be available for in-depth virtual consultations.

Course Support

Course readings

Our Course Readings service is here to support your development of online courses. We understand this transition poses new challenges, and our service will help you make arrangements for accessible, digital content wherever possible.

We will:

  • Create stable links to online resources
  • Purchase new e-books for the collection
  • Search our databases of expanded publisher collections, available for a limited time
  • Assist with copyright compliance and pay clearance fees
  • Help you integrate your Course Readings into OWL
  • Support your students’ accessibility needs

We're unable to set up short-term loans for physical material at this time.

To get started, add the Course Readings plugin tool to your OWL course site or send us your syllabus. Requests will be processed in the order they are received.

For more information, visit our Course Readings section or contact

For tips on how to find online course materials check out our guide, Find Online Course Materials.


If you have any copyright related questions connected to your online course content, please contact

Teaching support

For instructors preparing online courses, we’ve curated a list of how-to videos you can add to your OWL courses.

The Teaching and Learning team is available to provide library instruction to your students. Contact us to discuss instruction options in a virtual or blended environment. We can help you assemble key resources, integrate digital library materials into online courses or assignments, and develop content that will enhance student learning.


Please email for questions about Western Libraries services.

For questions regarding the university’s COVID-19 policies, updates, and procedures, visit