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Library Services for Spring 2021

The Library is committed to providing academic support for the AU Community. During the spring semester we will offer all usual services in ways that meet the needs of teaching, researching, and learning. Expand the panels below for more details. Please contact circulation@american.edu with further questions. Watch the Library's Twitter feed for updates or changes to services and policies.

Service Areas

Students may reserve individual study space in the first floor and lower-level of the library using our online system. Students will be allowed to reserve a space in the library for 1-3 hours. Social distancing requirements mean that the library has a limited number of spaces we can offer to students at a time, so book ahead to make sure you have a spot reserved. Students must swipe their AUIDs at the front entrance of the library to enter. Masks will be required for entry into the Library.

Learn more about reserving study space here.

If you have a locker in the building containing your belongings,  please contact circulation@american.edu. We will make arrangements for you to retrieve them and for you to return your key.

For general questions about library operations, please contact LibInfoDesk@american.edu.

Staff will checkout the item(s) to your library account. You must provide your AUID number and masks are required on campus at all times. Staff will let you know the due date and give you instructions on how to pickup your items curbside. 

The process for curbside requests and pickups varies dependent on material type. Read this guide for details on how to complete your request.

Masks and social distancing are required for curbside pickup.

For more information, please contact Circulation at circulation@american.edu or call Media/Tech Services at 202-885-3229.

The Research Assistance Desk will be available remotely through the Ask a Librarian Chat from the Ask A Librarian page. There you will also find ways to contact us via email and links to frequently asked questions.

You may also request an online appointment with a subject specialist or the Data Librarian through the Subject Specialist page.

Please visit this page for more information about access to the course reserves collection.

We recommend that it might be in a faculty member’s best interest to ask the  Library’s subject specialists  to look for available online alternatives as a first option for required class readings. For those items that are available electronically for purchase by an institution, we will purchase them. For materials that are not, if the selections make up no more than 10% of the item, we will digitize and use the reserves system.

If, however, the book cannot be purchased electronically by the library and more than 10% of the item needs to be made available, we will determine the best way to provide remote access to the full text.

We encourage professors who teach with feature films that are readily available on subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu, to refer students to those sources when possible.

If you have additional questions you can contact course reserves staff at reserves@american.edu.

We are offering mediated student printing as a “curbside pickup” service during the hours the building will be open for study space. This system will require AU students to choose a time to pick up their print jobs, and email their documents to be printed. Please refer to this step by step guide for assistance. The Print Center staff will then complete your printing request, and ensure that it is ready for you to pick up at your scheduled time.

Poster printing is also being offered as a curbside service. Information about costs and the submission process are provided here.

All electronic resources including databases, journals, and streaming media will remain accessible to the American University community through the library catalog. If you are unable to access a resource please Report a Problem and we will work with you to resolve the issue.

The majority of collections are available online in an electronic format. Physical books can be requested through the library catalog and staff will digitize selections (if it is within the limits established by copyright), or pull the items and make them available through “curbside pickup” in the front-door vestibule. If you need help or support in any way, please submit requests from records in the main library catalog or email circulation@american.edu.

Media items must be returned through the media drop box at the front of the library. Books can be returned in book drop right next to the media drop box. Questions about your books or library account can be directed to circulation@american.edu.

AU Library Circulation is committed to keeping AU and WRLC (consortium) book loan due dates renewed whenever possible, though user-initiated renewal is available through My Library Account as usual and we encourage all borrowers to monitor their due dates, renew, and reach us at circulation@american.edu with any questions.

The Library is providing all InterLibrary Loan services for both digital and physical requests. Please submit requests through your InterLibrary Loan account. Please be aware we anticipate that this service will have a longer turnaround time than we strive for during full operations. Any physical requests can be picked up using our curbside pickup service. For Interlibrary Loan materials currently checked out, please contact the ILL team at auill@american.edu to arrange for extensions.

Select technology is available for curbside pickup. If you’re not sure what the item you need is called, you can check out this visual guide before making your request.

Tech items can be damaged in the return drop box so contact Tech Services (techservices@american.edu) to arrange an in person contact-free return. You will be given return instructions when you checkout items.

The Academic Technology unit, in partnership with the Office of the Chief Online Officer and with CTRL, provides support for faculty teaching online using both Blackboard and Canvas. Please visit the Learning Support Services Portal for workshop schedules, contact information, instructional design support, and information on a variety of tips and tools used for teaching online. 

The Music Library is closed to non-library personnel. Most Music Library items can be requested through the library catalog and staff will digitize selections (if it is within the limits established by copyright), or pull the items and make them available through “curbside pickup” at Bender Library. Streaming audio and video is also available.

Please return Music Library items to the Bender Library book drop. If you have any questions or need additional assistance from the Music Library, please use the chat function on the Music Library homepage or email Amanda Steadman at ajstead@american.edu.

Research assistance with Archives material is available online. Researchers needing to access the collection must make an appointment by contacting archives@american.edu.

University Status

Please monitor the University's Spring Plan 2021 page for information about University wide plans for Spring 2021.