COVID-19: Libraries Support and Information

Quick Links


Service Updates

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order that all non-essential workers stay home means that effective Sunday, March 22, the libraries will no longer be able to retrieve or provide physical items for graduate students or faculty, from the stacks or through interlibrary loan.
Here’s what you need to know:

  • Online services and resources are still available.
  • We will no longer be able to digitize print materials or fill requests for physical materials. All electronic interlibrary loan (ILL) services will still be available.
  • For now, please keep any items you have checked out. No fines or replacement fees will be charged for these items. Due dates have been extended to September 1.
  • Library staff and outreach librarians are available and ready to help you find electronic alternatives to any print material you needed. If you have questions or would like assistance see the Talk to a librarian section below.


Interlibrary loans (ILL) and requests for physical items  

  • Books and other physical materials can no longer be requested through ILL.
  • Electronic requests, for articles or book chapters, can still be requested and will be delivered to your ILL account as usual.
    • To request an electronic resource via ILL, visit and click on the “Login with NetID” button.
    • The first time you log in, you will need to register and select River Campus as your pick-up location.
    • Once logged in, you will see a menu on the left-hand side of your screen. Under “New Request,” click on the item type you are requesting. Please provide us with as much information as possible.
  • For help with an ILL request, please email



Student Support

  • Explore our research guides to help you complete your assignments
  • Special Access Resources. Collections and Outreach have been working to compile a list of extended and open resources for remote learning. Many vendors are increasing access to their resources during this time. 
  • Find your outreach librarian and schedule an appointment to get one-on-one help
  • Use the Chat Live/Contact Us button (lower right of each web page) if you need help with anything else!


Faculty support 

  • Digitizing suspended until further notice. Digitizing required course materials has been suspended until further notice.

  • Accessing electronic resources. Our staff is working hard to ensure the licenses for your online resources will provide adequate access for the number of students enrolled in your course.  

  • Since digitization is not an option, we’re here to help. Outreach librarians can help you… 

    • Identify and access alternative resources 

    • Develop virtual activities and assignments and facilitate online interaction and engagement 

  • Software, tools, and more. Our librarians can also help you discover and use relevant—and possibly critical—software for audio/video and collaborative needs. And we’ll be offering workshops to help you learn how to use tools that could further ease this transition and/or enhance your instruction. 

  • Use HathiTrust Digital Library. HathiTrust has granted members of the UR community emergency Temporary Access Service, which allows reading access to all titles (including those in copyright) that we own that are held by HathiTrust. We now have access to approximately 1/3 of our print books online through HathiTrust. Our users will need to log in to HathiTrust with their UR credentials.  

  • Special Access Resources. Collections and Outreach have been working to compile a list of extended and open resources for remote teaching and learning. Many vendors are increasing access to their resources during this time. 


Talk to a librarian 

You’re not on your own! 

  • We encourage you to schedule an appointment with an outreach librarian.
  • You can also use the “Chat live” function on this website to talk to library staff is available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST on Friday. After hours, please contact us
  • You can also see who is online on the public on-call schedule.


Library hours 

  • Out of an abundance of caution and concern for our staff and patrons, all River Campus Libraries’ physical locations are closed. 

  • The following libraries are accessible by virtual appointment: 


Returning Checked out materials 

  • Due dates for most materials have been extended until September 1.  There will be no penalties for late books. 

  • If you have checked out library materials in your possession, we recommend keeping all University and ILL books until libraries reopen.

  • If you are leaving campus and will not return, use the book drop near the back entrance of Rush Rhees Library. Materials left here will remain on your library account until staff are able to access the library again and check-in the items.

  • If you need to return items to the River Campus Libraries but have already left campus and do not plan to return, you may mail University and ILL materials back to:

    • ​​​​​​University of Rochester Rush Rhees Library
      755 Library Road 
      Attn: Patron Services
      Rochester, NY 14627-0055


Library events 

  • All scheduled events have been canceled through May. New events will not be considered for the foreseeable future. 


COVID-19 Stories

  • Archiving our COVID Stories - To help preserve this unprecedented time in our history, the University Archives are asking students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University to submit reflections, photographs, drawings, journal entries, social media posts, video and audio recordings, and more.


A message from the dean

Dear students, faculty, staff, and friends,

First and foremost, I hope this message finds you well. Our concern for your health and the health of others has dictated every decision we have made and will make going forward. For updates on how the University is responding to COVID-19 developments, as well many helpful resources to stay safe and informed, please refer to the University’s main COVID-19 updates and resources page.

To say we are working in uncharted waters doesn’t quite capture the depth and scope of our situation, nor the speed at which it changes. Through everything we’ve faced thus far, the constant has been our commitment to teaching, learning, research, and exploring at the University.  

As we finish the semester, we will do our best to provide essential resources, personal assistance, expert guidance, and the reminder that Meliora can happen anywhere. 

Warmest regards,

Mary Ann Mavrinac 
Vice Provost  
Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean 
University of Rochester Libraries