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Library services and resources during COVID-19 response

(updated August 5, 2020)

Library access

All MIT Libraries (including 24-hour spaces and most book drops – see below) are closed until further notice, but we continue to provide resources, services, and consulting online. We are here to support you. 

Returning materials

  • Due to campus access restrictions, book return options are limited. Library materials may be returned at the book drop immediately outside the entrance to building 7 (77 Mass Ave. at the top of the stairs). Campus buildings remain closed and should not be entered. The book drop will be emptied daily by essential MIT staff who remain on campus.
  • Please do not leave oversized items that will not fit into the book drop.
  • Items returned after March 13 won’t be removed from your library account until library staff are permitted to return to campus (timing currently unknown). Overdue fines have been suspended. If you have any questions, please contact circulation@mit.edu
  • If you are located outside the Cambridge area or unable to travel to campus, please keep any materials you have checked out for now. Returning materials by mail is not recommended at this time.

Getting help

  • Our Ask Us services are available online for general help, research, and reference questions.
  • Librarians can teach in MIT online classes, on topics ranging from archival research to literature reviews and more
  • Subject experts are available for remote consultation and can be reached via email.
  • For help with copyright questions related to digitizing materials: please email scholarlypub@mit.edu

Electronic materials and collections

Suggest a purchase

To request that the Libraries purchase an e-book or other materials for you, fill out our Suggest a purchase form. We’ll move quickly to fulfill all approved orders.

Course reserves

Significant changes have been made to the course reserves service to better support the largely online environment. Please review our Fall 2020 course reserves guide for complete information.

Interlibrary requests

  • We are filling article and book chapter requests when we can. Given that many interlibrary lending systems across the country are shut down, we ask for your patience and understanding.
  • Requests for physical materials via Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Borrowing have been suspended until further notice.

Physical materials

  • Overdue fines for books and other library materials have been suspended and will not be charged to you, including for materials on loan from other libraries.
  • Renewals will be extended to 7 for MIT, 5 for non-MIT users.
  • Recalling items through the catalog has been disabled.
  • Holds will remain on the shelf during the Libraries closure and will remain on the shelf for one week after the Libraries reopen. If you know that you will not need an item on hold or in the request process, we appreciate updates, but understand this is not a top priority. ​
  • Office delivery and the Scan and Deliver services have been suspended until further notice.
  • For questions about your borrowed materials, circulation rules, fines, renewals, etc., contact circulation@mit.edu.

Data and GIS services

  • Data Management Services (DMS) is available to help MIT’s research community tackle research to address the COVID-19 outbreak. If your project could benefit from expert consultation in data management and visualization, or workflow management please contact DMS for priority assistance.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – learn how to prepare for remote work and schedule a virtual appointment.
  • Globus – Effective immediately Globus, a data transfer platform for all sizes of data, is offering access to all Globus features at no cost to every institution engaged in COVID-19 research.

Distinctive Collections

  • The Distinctive Collections Reading Room will be closed to all researchers until further notice. Researchers with existing travel plans should reschedule their visit. For questions about Distinctive Collections resources and services, contact distinctive-collections@mit.edu.
  • Documenting COVID-19 – a project to collect original materials that tell the story of how the MIT community is experiencing and being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. All members of the MIT community are invited to contribute.

Institute Records Management program

The Institute Records Management Program continues to offer remote services, such as information management guidance for both digital and physical records, and a new Imaging on Demand service for files already in the RM program.

Theses

Theses for the May and September 2020 degree periods may be submitted electronically in accordance with the Emergency Academic Regulations in effect March 15, 2020. The Libraries are working with the Institute to develop new specifications, and we will post updates on the Specifications for Thesis Preparation page when available.