You are here: American University University Library About Library Services for Fall 2020

Library Services for Fall 2020

The Library is committed to providing academic support for the AU Community. During the fall semester we will offer all usual services in ways that meet the needs of remote teaching, researching, and learning. These include:

  • Study space reservations for AU students
  • Curbside pickup for books, media, technology, and printing for AU students, faculty, and staff
  • Remote research support through chat, email, and virtual appointments

Expand the panels below for more details. Please contact circulation@american.edu with further questions. As this is an evolving situation, services and policies may change. Watch the Library's Twitter feed for updates.

Service Areas

Students may reserve 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 can accommodate only 103 students at a time and students must swipe their IDs to enter the library. Masks will be required for entry into the Library. Learn more about reserving study space here.

We are offering mediated student printing as a “curbside pickup” service during the hours the building will be open for study space.

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.

The library is beginning curbside pickup of library materials the week of July 27.

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 24/7 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 the Fall 2020 digital textbook program.

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 on a reservation basis.

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.

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 our library account can be directed to circulation@american.edu.

Any book on loan to a faculty member as of March 12th, 2020 has been renewed through to September 30th per the regular faculty borrowing policy. All other items on loan as of March 12th have been renewed until August 31st.

The Library will provide digitization requests for chapters and articles through our InterLibrary loan services. 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.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 University Library, in partnership with the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning, is providing preparation and support for faculty teaching online. Please see the Blackboard help site for documentation and guides as well as the Instructional Continuity site for workshop schedules, further information, and a Blackboard course covering the basics of getting your course ready for online delivery.

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. Any book on loan to a faculty member as of March 12th, 2020 has been renewed through to September 30th per the regular faculty borrowing policy. All other items on loan as of March 12th have been renewed until August 31st.

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 AU Forward page for information about University wide plans for Fall 2020.