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Accessing books during pandemic

Published by Dipa Barua

Q: Has there been any consideration given to the lending of physical books during ongoing social distancing/quarantine? I am working on my thesis and although I withdrew a large number of books prior to the library closing, there are several that I have since identified I still need. There is no corresponding online resource, and the prospect of not having access to relevant books perhaps into or even throughout the Summer semester is extremely distressing.

Would it be possible to have a weekly withdrawal order, or to allow withdrawal through the self-service system, or perhaps by campus mail (I happen to live on campus, though I know this is not necessarily a general solution)? I have looked around the response pages and not seen anything, though it is entirely possible I've missed the answer.

A: Thank you for reaching out and for offering a potential solution. Unfortunately there are not any employees available to provide access to physical collections at this time. One thing to note is that some publishers are providing free access to resources during COVID-19.

For more information, see the ICOLC (International Coalition of Library Consortia) list of resources. This list is updated frequently, and includes journals, books, newspaper articles, distance learning materials, and more.
Additionally you can contact the liaison librarian for your department and they can help you find resources.
Finally here are some other resources to consider:
  • VitalSource - which has a borrowing limit of 7
  • Redshelf - which has a borrowing limit of 7
  • Internet Archive:

    "The Internet Archive offers over 20,000,000 freely downloadable books and texts. There is also a collection of 1.3 million modern eBooks that may be borrowed by anyone with a free archive.org account." You can search by any sort of metadata you’d like, and items can be borrowed (5 at a time) for 14-day-loan periods. There are of certain titles that only have a certain number of “copies” available and some have you join a waitlist rather than being able to borrow the item immediately.
  • Open Library is a project of Internet Archive’s, and it’s described on their website as “an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published.”

Mark Christensen
Division Head, Access Services

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