COVID-19 Response

The University Library’s priority is to serve student and faculty needs while protecting the health and safety of the campus community. We’ve had to think creatively, knowing that some students and faculty are on campus, while others are opting for a residential experience. Here is a summary of our current services. 

For anything not addressed here, contact the Library at libraryadmin@library.illinois.edu.

And Please Know ThisWe Miss You Too!

We can’t wait to get back to business as usual…however we’re excited to offer new and creative ways to serve the campus community. While access to our buildings and spaces is currently limited, librarians and staff are ready and looking forward to helping you. 

Last updated on October 21, 2020.

You may be denied access or asked to pay when you are trying to use materials that the Library has purchased or licensed. If this happens to you, use the following methods to access the resource:

Connect using the campus VPN, but know that you may still be denied access. If that happens, use method 1, 2, or 3.


Patrons should submit requests through the Library’s online catalog. Library staff will attempt to fulfill any requests for materials with an online version (existing digital content, electronic purchase, or locally digitized on demand) and will notify the patron with a link to the requested material. If no electronic version can be made available, the patron will be notified when the print material is available and ready for pickup at the location chosen when the request was made; this is currently the Main Library or Grainger Engineering Library Information Center.Patrons must present their valid i-card at the time and place of their appointment for pick up of their materials.

The University Library recognizes that access to some print materials may be necessary for essential research or to support the continuity of instruction.

Requests for exceptions to access Hathi Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) items in print must be directed to Chris Prom (Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies) and Mary Laskowski (Director, Library Fulfillment). If our access strategy is otherwise not meeting your needs, or you need print access to items not held in the Hathi ETAS, we encourage you to contact the appropriate subject specialist to help determine how we can best assist you.

The University Library’s Interlibrary Loan service is requesting journal articles and items from other institutions but there may be delays in delivery, since many libraries are not lending items at this time. In addition, certain formats (e.g. microforms) may be held dependent on Library equipment and appointment availability. Borrowing of print items via I-Share has resumed.

During the COVID response, the Library is unable to offer access to traditional physical reserves (such as entire books). In order to safely serve on-campus students, as well as students who may not be on campus this fall, the Library encourages instructors to identify portions of printed works the Library can assist in making available digitally. For complete works, the Library will try to provide digital access when such access is feasible and allowable under copyright law. Please note that electronic textbooks are often not available for libraries to purchase.

For material not currently available in digital form, requests for digitization of portions of printed materials should be made through the Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery webpage. Since digitizing multiple works for multiple instructors will take time, the Library encourages instructors to submit requests as far in advance of the fall semester as possible. Please note that digitization of entire works for the purpose of course reserves is generally not possible due to copyright restrictions.

Additionally, the Illini Union Bookstore provided the University Library with a list of textbooks available for student purchase through RedShelf for Fall 2020. The Library will prioritize digitizing requests for items that are not available in other, existing digital formats.

Instructors are encouraged to contact a librarian in their subject area if they have any questions or concerns about reserves.

The University Library recognizes that access to some print materials may be necessary for essential research or to support the continuity of instruction. In order to balance the safety of our employees, print materials may be provided by appointment pick up only. Access will take longer than usual, and every effort will be made to acquire electronic resources first.

Patrons should submit requests through the Library’s online catalog. Library staff will attempt to find an online version and notify the patron with a link to the requested material. If the Library is unable to provide electronic access, through existing content and services, purchase, or local digitization efforts, the patron will be notified when the physical material is ready for pick up and how to navigate our new methods of delivery. Patrons must present their valid i-card at the time and place of their appointment for pick up of their materials.

Requests for exceptions to access Hathi Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) items in print must be directed to Chris Prom (Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies) and Mary Laskowski (Director, Library Fulfillment). If our access strategy is otherwise not meeting your needs, or you need print access to items not held in the Hathi ETAS, we encourage you to contact the appropriate subject specialist to help determine how we can best assist you.

All campus community members (faculty, staff, and students) who come to Library-managed buildings or spaces to retrieve books or technology from locker pick-up, or to meet individuals in the Library for appointment-based services, must show their building entry status as “Granted” on the Safer Illinois app (or via the COVID-19 Boarding Pass option) in order to gain access.

Central Access Services will work with patrons to extend courtesy renewals for local items. Patrons should contact Central Access Services by email (circlib@library.illinois.edu) or by phone (217-333-8400).

Need to return an item from a campus library? The book drop at the Main Library is open and accepting UIUC (as well as I-Share and InterLibrary Loan) items! This is located on the outside of the Main Library building (south side of the building off of the E3 parking lot). The book drop at the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center is also open. At this time, patrons should refrain from bringing items into Library buildings.

While remote research assistance is preferred and strongly encouraged, in-person consultations will be available beginning August 24. These should be utilized when there is a specific need that cannot be met remotely. Appointments must be booked in advance by contacting a Library subject specialist. All in-person appointments will observe CDC social distancing guidelines and PPE requirements, include clean-up of spaces before and after consultations, and be conducted in accordance with space capacity restrictions. Patrons must demonstrate that building access permission has been granted by campus before being permitted access to Library buildings or spaces. When you come to the Library for your appointment, you will be asked to present your “Building Access Granted” status on the Safer Illinois app or via the boarding pass option.

While the threat of the pandemic persists, the Library will not be able to provide general study or collaboration space for students and faculty.

However, the Library is offering individual quiet study spaces in the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center and the Undergraduate Library. Spaces are limited. Students must make appointments in advance; no walk-up access is available. Please see the individual library websites above for more information.

This guide points to expanded electronic access to resources for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign community during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also read more about expanded e-resources here.   

The University of Illinois is now a participant in the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS).

The ETAS provides university students, faculty, and staff with online reading access to print materials that are currently unavailable to our users. It is being offered while the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting access to the print collection. By offering this service, HathiTrust is helping us to continue to support teaching and research during the stay-at-home order. Read more about this expanded service at https://www.library.illinois.edu/geninfo/covid-19/hathitrust-etas/.

Requests for exceptions to access Hathi Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) items in print must be directed to Chris Prom (Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies) and Mary Laskowski (Director, Library Fulfillment). If our access strategy is otherwise not meeting your needs, or you need print access to items not held in the Hathi ETAS, we encourage you to contact the appropriate subject specialist to help determine how we can best assist you.

General printing is not available at any Library location at this time. Students reserving study space in the UGL do have access to a printer while there. 

Be sure to check back on this page for updates.

The Library will not return to full service until the state of Illinois has reached Phase 5.

During Phase 4, the Library will only be open to those with in-person appointments (see below) or reservations for single-person study space (also see below).

We will be adding additional services over time and recommend you bookmark this page for a most up-to-date, comprehensive list of those options.

While the state of Illinois is in Phase 4, reference and consultation services will foreground remote services offered through chat, email, phone, and other delivery methods. In-person appointments will be utilized in situations where remote access is insufficient, for example, when providing research support requires access to physical reference materials or equipment, such as microfilm readers (initially, microfilm access will be supported for short-term consultation and reference use). All in-person appointments will observe CDC social distancing guidelines and PPE requirements, include clean-up of spaces before and after consultations, and be conducted in accordance with space capacity restrictions. Patrons must demonstrate that building access permission has been granted by campus before being permitted access to Library buildings or spaces. When you come to the Library for your appointment, you will be asked to present your “Building Access Granted” status on the Safer Illinois app or via the boarding pass option.

Appointment access is prioritized for University of Illinois students, faculty, and staff. Access to the community will be available with prior approval for research needs which meet the Library’s requirements as a federal depository library, and with limited other exceptions.

In the absence of a stated preference, the Library will first attempt to fulfill any requests for materials with an online version (existing digital content, electronic purchase, or locally digitized on demand) and will notify the patron with a link to the requested material. If no electronic version can be made available, the patron will be notified when the print material is available and ready for pickup at the location chosen when the request was made; this is currently the Main Library or Grainger Engineering Library Information Center.

In Phase 4, the Library will focus on digitizing both circulating and special collections materials to support instruction and research, including patron requests. When providing research support requires access to physical reference materials or equipment, such as microfilm readers (initially, microfilm access will be supported for short-term consultation and reference use), in-person appointments will be utilized. Appointments must be booked in advance as noted in the following FAQ item.

Requests for exceptions to access Hathi Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) items in print must be directed to Chris Prom (Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies) and Mary Laskowski (Director, Library Fulfillment). If our access strategy is otherwise not meeting your needs, or you need print access to items not held in the Hathi ETAS, we encourage you to contact the appropriate subject specialist to help determine how we can best assist you.

Please note: The University of Illinois takes the protection of your privacy seriously and therefore the Library may not be aware of any users’ registered status with the Division of Disability Resources & Educational Services (DRES). We ask that you share this information with us as part of your exemption request.

To reduce the chance of spreading the Coronavirus, the University Library is pursuing an electronic-first strategy. The Library will attempt to fulfill any requests for materials with an online version (existing digital content, electronic purchase, or locally digitized on demand) and limits access to the print copy.

The E-first strategy is a core element of the Library’s back-to-work plan and has been approved by the campus Executive Steering Committee on Return to On-Campus Operations. It is a ‘common good’ effort to ensure safety, minimize the number of staff/faculty/student contacts, and reduce the number of books the Library needs to quarantine upon return. The plans reflect the Library’s current understanding of best practices for the handling of library materials, which are being systematically researched through the OCLC/Battelle REALM Project.

In addition, the print access limitations are a prerequisite for the Library’s continued use of the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS). Without close controls on access to the print version of items included in the ETAS, the Library would be unable to continue offering this service, which benefits all users and especially those who cannot access campus.

For these reasons, the Library’s ability to provide access to printed copies of works is limited. Examples of exceptions are: 1) An electronic copy of the work is not sufficient to meet the needs of a library user who has disabilities or 2) Print is needed to meet specific publication needs (such as production of a high-quality digital image).

Requests for exceptions to access Hathi Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) items in print must be directed to Chris Prom (Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies) and Mary Laskowski (Director, Library Fulfillment). If our access strategy is otherwise not meeting your needs, or you need print access to items not held in the Hathi ETAS, we encourage you to contact the appropriate subject specialist to help determine how we can best assist you.

  • Open Source Alternatives
    One of the many things that make the Scholarly Commons so great is the specialized software that is available for our users; however, without our physical space, we are faced with a challenge that affects both ourselves and the researchers who use our software. That is why we have compiled this list of open source alternatives to most of the Scholarly Commons software that you can download and use for yourself.

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