COVID-19 Pandemic – Changes to Library Services

Published on March 17, 2020

Last revised on April 7, 2020

Based on a directive from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Western Libraries locations are closed. All services are moving to online only, including collections, until further notice.

We have a rich online collection of databases, e-books, e-journals and other e-materials that can support your teaching, learning, and research. Collections and supports are all available through the Western Libraries website. The following information provides additional guidance and contact information for our users as you navigate teaching, learning, and research in an online environment.

Visit Western’s COVID-19 page to read the latest campus updates in full.

Covid-19 Resources

Course Support

We can support online courses provided through OWL in a number of ways.

Electronic Collections

We recognize that the move to online teaching and learning may pose challenges for faculty and students used to relying on print resources. While print collections are unavailable, we have taken steps to enhance our electronic collections to support the teaching, learning, and research needs of our community.

  • We are working with our electronic resource vendors to remove restrictions on simultaneous users, which will allow more users to access content in e-books and e-journals at the same time.
  • We are adding thousands of new e-books to our collection.
  • We have developed a new research guide: Expanded and Freely Available Resources, that describes temporary enhancements made to collections to help support online learning
  • Our e-journal collections span all disciplines.
  • We are reviewing our print reserves collection to identify high-demand material that is also available electronically. If available, we’ll purchase electronic versions and make them accessible immediately.
  • You can use our form to recommend purchases.
  • Librarians are available to work with faculty to identify appropriate electronic resources that will meet course learning requirements:

Course Readings

If faculty would like additional or new electronic course readings added to an online course, please contact

If faculty or students require access to course readings currently only available in print, please contact and we will investigate the availability of an alternative format.


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

Online Courses

Given students will be learning in an online environment and will not have access to the physical collection, if faculty need assistance integrating digital library materials into online courses or assignments, or other information literacy support, contact By contacting this alias, the Teaching and Learning team will be able to efficiently triage and track requests, directing faculty to the most appropriate staff member to support their needs.

Research Help

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

Facility Access

Based on a directive from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, all library facilities are closed.

Print Collections Access

At this time, general access to print collections is not available. Researchers with exceptional needs may request access on a case by case basis. Please contact the Print Resources Response Team for assistance.

Graduate Study Carrels in Weldon

Access to critical materials in graduate study carrels will be arranged by appointment only. Please send your request to

Carrel assignments for the spring and summer term have been postponed until further notice.

Interlibrary Loans (RACER)

Interlibrary Loan (RACER) requests are limited to online materials only.

Paused Services

Until further notice, the following services will be unavailable:

  • All services provided in-library, including physical collections access, electronic document delivery of scanned physical collections, access to technology including printing, access to learning spaces including graduate study carrels.


Where can I return materials?

It is not necessary for you to return materials to campus at this time. We do not charge fines on general material, and all users have unlimited renewals through My Library Account.

If you need to return materials, please return them to the Education Library returns bin. The book drop is located on the exterior of the Faculty of Education building, on the north side near the entrance to the Education Library. Please wear gloves or use a paper towel when touching the returns bin handle, and continue to follow good hygiene practices, as the handle is not being regularly sanitized.

What about library fines?

We do not charge fines on general material, and all users have unlimited renewals through My Library Account. We will waive any fines on other material when it is able to be returned. It is not necessary for you to return materials to campus at this time.

What if I get a notice to return an item?

Automatic notices have been turned off, however it is still possible you may have received a notice. You are not required to return items at this time.


Contact for questions regarding library services.

For questions about Western’s COVID-19 policies and procedures, visit