COVID-19 Pandemic – Changes to Library Services
Last updated on Feb. 17, 2021.
Whether you’re learning, researching or teaching, virtually or on campus, we’re here to help with a suite of online and onsite services to support you.
You 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 you can access from anywhere.
On campus, we’ve adapted Taylor Library to meet public health guidelines to provide you with a safe place to study and use library computers and printers. Plus, no-contact pickup remains an option for those seeking physical materials access.
Taylor Library is open to currently registered Western students, staff, and faculty as of February 22. All other Western Libraries locations remain closed for onsite studying or research.
To protect your health and safety and that of library staff, and in accordance with public health guidelines designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following policies are in place for every onsite library visit:
- All visitors must complete a Return to Campus Questionnaire before coming to campus
- All visitors are required to check in and out of the library
- Access is limited to certain floors and spaces
- Study seats are for one (1) individual only – no group study space is available
- Masks or face coverings and physical distancing are required at all times
- Seating is fixed and furniture cannot be moved
- Supplies are provided to clean your space before/after use
- No food or drink, except water bottles
Regular loan print materials are available via no-contact pickup services and many items limited to in-library use are available for digital delivery or through the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service.
Interlibrary loans (RACER) resume February 2021.
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, contact us.
Archives and Special Collections
We’re only able to access Western Libraries physical collections to respond to requests from Western-affiliated students, faculty, and staff. Digital delivery may be available for certain materials. Email Archives Services for assistance. Please note that due to COVID-19 response guidelines, Archives and Special Collections is unable to accept donations of records or rare books and maps until further notice.
Affiliate University Colleges
The Affiliate University College collections are also available for no-contact pickup and digital delivery.
If you choose to pick up items from the affiliate university colleges:
- Beryl Ivey Library, Brescia University College – Instructions and hours for Brescia no-contact pickup
- Huron Library and Learning Services – Instructions and hours for Huron no-contact pickup
- The Cardinal Carter Library, King’s University College – Instructions and hours for King's no-contact pickup
We have enhanced our electronic collections to support your teaching, learning and research needs.
- Where possible, we have removed restrictions on simultaneous users, which will allow more users to access content in e-books and e-journals at the same time.
- The HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service provides digital access to more than 760,000 of our print items that are inaccessible due to COVID-19 on-site restrictions.
- We are adding thousands of new e-books to our collection.
- Our e-journal collections span all disciplines.
- You can use our form to recommend purchases.
- Librarians are available to work with faculty to acquire appropriate electronic versions of resources that will meet course learning requirements:
- Business: Elizabeth Marshall
- Education: Samuel Cassady
- Law: Stephen Spong
- Music: Brian McMillan
- Faculties of Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Information and Media Studies: David McCord and Liz Mantz
- Faculties of Engineering, Science, Health Sciences, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry: Leigh Jackson and Shawn Hendrikx
- General inquiries: email@example.com
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.
Access to library print/scan services is available at Taylor Library. Western also has three drop-in Genlabs open for self-serve printing and scanning at a reduced capacity and in accordance with COVID-19 health regulations.
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.
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.
Interlibrary Loans (ILL)/RACER resume February 16 on a reduced basis. This is due to ongoing COVID-19 implications that require library location closures across Ontario and copyright law that necessitates physical copies remain unavailable as long as RACER lending partners subscribe to HathiTrust emergency temporary access service.
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.
We’ve created and curated a list of COVID-19 resources to help support our community.
Research help is available for students and faculty through chat and email.
Library staff will also be available for in-depth virtual consultations.
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.
- 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Email email@example.com or visit our FAQs for commonly asked questions about Western Libraries access during COVID-19.
For questions about Western’s COVID-19 policies and procedures, visit uwo.ca/coronavirus/.