You are here: American University University Library About Library COVID-19 Response

Services in light of COVID-19

Please note that the library is currently offering online services only.  Our operating status will be reassessed as conditions change around COVID-19. 

As of 6:00 PM, Sunday, March 15, the library is closed to non-library personnel. We will be offering additional remote services while the online learning plan is in effect. More details about these services and accompanying policy changes can be found below.

Please contact with further questions.

As this is an evolving situation, services and policies may change. Please watch the Library's Twitter feed for updates.

Remote Services

As of 6:00 PM, Sunday, March 15, the library is closed to non-library personnel. This includes Bender Library, the Music Library, the University Archives, the Curriculum Materials Center, and Anderson Computing Complex. Printing services will also be unavailable onsite. Online services are available through the library website. If you need support, please contact the appropriate unit or individual, via email, and we will respond as quickly as possible.

If you have a locker in the building containing your belongings,  please contact We will make arrangements for you to retrieve them and for you to return your key. NOTE (3/31): This service is currently on hold. Our operating status will be reassessed as conditions change around COVID-19.

For general questions about library operations during the closure, please contact

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.

Research assistance will be offered through email and the Ask AU Library Chat service. Find more about those services on the Ask A Librarian page.

You may also request an online appointment with a subject specialist, the Data Librarian or the Geospatial Research Lab Program Director through the Subject Specialist page.

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

The Library will resume scanning and digitizing of physical materials when we reopen and as time and resources allow. We will prioritize materials that are needed for class instruction, but will also provide these services to individuals, based on research or class needs, as we are able and there are staff available to provide them. We urge users to find online formats and alternatives as this will be the most quick and efficient way of accessing needed materials. If you need help or support in anyway, please submit requests from records in the main library catalog or email

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. We will reasses these date as this situation progresses. No overdue fines or fees will be charged during this period. Existing overdue fees will remain unchanged.

To the best of our ability, the Library will provide remote access to our physical media collection for class and research needs while the contingency plan is in effect.

We will offer as much support as possible to make resources available to faculty remotely. We recognize that a university shutdown will disrupt plans to teach using DVDs. If possible, we encourage you to find alternatives to using that format in your courses. The library offers thousands of streaming video options. We encourage you to find alternatives to DVDs in our streaming collection here.

Please notify us if there are DVDs in the library collection that you wish to make available as digital course reserves and we will seek licensing when available. Please email us at

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 to arrange for extensions.

NOTE (3/31): This service is currently on hold. Our operating status will be reassessed as conditions change around COVID-19.

Unfortunately, the library has no Windows laptops left to borrow.  We do have a supply of Chromebooks that are available to borrow for those who have need locally. While student requests for these devices will receive priority, staff and faculty requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis. The Chromebooks do not have all of the same capabilities as a Windows or Mac machine and cannot do the following:

  • Run programs through the Virtual Apps, such as SPSS, SAS, and STATA
  • Run Respondus LockDown Browser
  • Run desktop versions of MS Office products (Office 365 will still work)
  • Connect to the VPN

If a Chromebook will meet your needs, please contact to make an appointment to pick one up.

The Music Library will be closed to non-library personnel. Any items currently on loan will be due May 31, with all overdue fines waived during this period. Remote access to Music Library physical resources will be available upon request—please contact us for options. All streaming resources will remain available. If you have any questions or need additional assistance please use the chat function on the Music Library homepage or email Amanda Steadman at

The Library is currently closed to onsite work and we are unable to scan materials. Bender Library continues to be committed to providing electronic options for course readings to the best of our ability. During this time, the Library recommends 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.
If needed, Library staff will scan physical course reserves and make them available in your Blackboard course through the Course Reserves button when we reopen. We have begun proactively putting in links to electronic versions of print textbooks when those are available. If you need materials scanned for your course, please fill out Course Reserves Digitization Request. If you have additional questions you can contact course reserves staff at

Health and Safety

  • Resources for Assistance

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.