Home / COVID-19 Updates / UW Libraries Student FAQ for Fall 2020

UW Libraries Student FAQ for Fall 2020

This FAQ provides answers to common questions about the Libraries to help students prepare for Fall quarter. We recognize that lack of access to the Libraries buildings and facilities is a challenge for students, but know that UW Libraries is here to support you with a wide range of services to help you succeed, whether you are on campus or off. See the “Get Help” section below and keep checking our Libraries COVID Update page and social media for the most up-to-date information.

Will the libraries be open in the fall?

  • The short answer is: We don’t know right now. The Libraries is in Phase 2, and during Phase 2, no Libraries buildings are open to the public. Together with UW partners, we are assessing how and where some Libraries spaces might be able to open up for individual study in Phase 3. Moving between phases depends on a significant change/shift in the public health situation. When we know more about the timing of Phase 3 and changes to our reopening plans, we will share updates on social media and on our COVID Update page  immediately.
  • This chart outlines the types of services planned for each Phase.
  • See also "Books, Textbooks, E-Resources" section below.
  • We need your help – Deciding how and where to reopen any Libraries spaces is based our experience opening limited spaces at the onset of COVID-19, when social distance guidelines were not as well understood or observed in our spaces. Students’ commitment and willingness to protect each other will be essential to the Libraries’ ability to open and maintain study areas.

Where CAN I study on campus?

At this time, the HUB is working to be open for autumn quarter as long as it can be done in a safe way, and many services will also be offered remotely. Please contact individual offices or programs directly for details. See also UW COVID Autumn Quarter FAQ in the section Career Services, Greek Life and other Student Services.

Computers and Wifi

Remote access to Libraries materials - Anytime, Anywhere

UW Libraries provides a wide range of e-resources--online journal articles, databases, and e-books can all be accessed from off-campus (and just about anywhere in the world!) including temporary access to over 1 million additional electronic books and resources through our HathiTrust partnership. All you need is an internet connection and your NetID. Read the Husky OnNet or the off-campus proxy FAQ on how to securely connect to UW Libraries resources. 

Returning and Renewing Books, Fines When Buildings Are Closed

Books, Textbooks, E-Resources

  • Curbside Pick-Up: Curbside pick-up is a priority for Phase 2, and our teams are actively working to implement as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Textbooks and Ebooks:
    • The UW Libraries buys e-textbooks *if* they are available for academic libraries to purchase. In most cases, commercial textbook publishers will only sell e-textbooks to individuals and will not allow libraries to purchase them. It is unlikely that your course text will be available in an e-book format for us to purchase (as much as we'd like to)! The Libraries is encouraging instructors to consider alternative e-books or Open Educational Resources for autumn quarter courses.
    • When you get your book list for fall quarter, do a Course Reserves search to see if your textbook is already on reserve. If not, contact your instructor and ask them to make a reserve request for class materials. They might also be able to connect you with alternative electronic readings.
  • Scanning articles and book chapters:
    • Interlibrary Loan continues to fill requests for articles and book chapters this includes scans, but not physical materials at this time. Since access to the UW Libraries is restricted in Phase 2, any requests that cannot be filled with electronic resources will be requested from other libraries. Some requests may be cancelled if another library is unable to fulfill the request.

New students

  • Access: New, incoming students can expect to have online access to UW Libraries' resources approximately 1-2 weeks prior to the start of fall quarter.

Graduating students

Get Help!

  • Connect with a Librarian ANYTIME:
    • Librarians can help you with your research online! Chat live 24/7 with a librarian: You can email us, or chat with a librarian 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from home.
    • Subject Librarians are available for online consultations via phone, email or Zoom.
  • Writing and Research: Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) librarians provide guidance with all stages of the research process, including defining a research question, exploring background information, finding research sources, and more. Consultations are in Zoom and must be scheduled in advance. 
  • Let’s Talk in Odegaard Library is now online! Let’s Talk student counselors hold drop-in hours via video conference. Let’s Talk drop-in visits are free, confidential and there is no appointment necessary
  • Digital Media Tools and Resources: Get online/remote help with audio/visual/streaming media tools and software (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) through the Libraries Media Arcade team.


See also our Blog from the Libraries' Undergraduate Success Team.