Will the libraries be open?

Gelman, Himmelfarb, Burns, and VSTC Libraries are open and operating for the spring 2021 semester with some restrictions listed below. Eckles Library will remain closed during the spring 2021 semester.

What hours will the libraries be open?

Building hours for all libraries are subject to change at any time throughout the semester.

  • The Gelman Library is open for the spring semester. See Gelman hours on the library website.
  • The Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library is open for the spring semester. See Himmelfarb hours on the library website.
  • The VSTC Library is open for the spring semester. Unlike in previous semesters, VSTCL will not be open 24-hours with GWorld tap access. During the spring 2021 semester, VSTCL access will only be available to patrons during staffed hours. See VSTCL hours on the library website.
  • The Jacob Burns Law Library is open only for Grab & Go book pickup and “emergency one-time access” for students needing to access materials from the library’s reserve collection, including casebooks. See Spring 2021 Information Guide for the Burns Law Library.

Who can access the libraries?

Gelman and VSTC Libraries require a seat reservation to enter.

Entrance to Gelman and VSTC Libraries is available only to residential students and to GW students, faculty and staff who have special permission to be on campus (the on-campus cohort).

The Himmelfarb Library is open to patrons that have been approved to be on campus during phase 1 of reopening (SMHS Laboratory Research), GW residents, SMHS, SON and SPH students currently enrolled in on-site classes or on clinical rotations, and MD students in the virtual track.    

Law students who can get “emergency, one-time access” for specific circumstances. Those who are not part of the on-campus cohort and do not meet the special circumstances for Himmelfarb or Burns libraries will not have physical access to campus buildings. 

Entrance to all libraries requires the patron wear a mask at all times. At Gelman, VSTC, and Himmelfarb Libraries, patrons must swipe their physical GWorld card. In the past, anyone who forgot their GWorld card could be signed in at the desk. That is no longer possible.


How will I get books/physical materials?

If you are a GW student or faculty member, you may request books or physical items and have them mailed to you. Staff will search for a digital option for you and digitization of print materials may be available with longer turn-around times. 

GW students, faculty, staff, or alumni with borrowing privileges located in the D.C. area may request books or physical materials for contactless pick up in the entrance lobby of Gelman Library or at the VSTC Library. Learn more with this overview of the book retrieval and pick up process which includes instructions for requesting a book for delivery.

SMHS, GWSPH, and SON students enrolled in online classes may request books and have them mailed to you.  Please see the Shipping Service webpage for more information and instructions for submitting requests. 

All patrons with Himmelfarb borrowing privileges or interlibrary loan privileges may use Himmelfarb’s ‘curbside service’ to request for books to be checked out and picked up in the Ross Hall courtyard.

Law students who want to check out books from the Law Library (except for items on reserve) do not need to make use of the “emergency one-time access” policy. You can obtain books from the collection through the library’s “Grab-n-Go” service or have them mailed if you are more than 30 miles from campus. Please see the library’s information on this service in the page in this guide on Special Services.


How can I make a seat reservation?

In a major change, entrance to Gelman and VSTC Libraries require a seat reservation. No one will be admitted to those buildings without a seat reservation. Himmelfarb Library requires a reservation for use of study rooms, but does not require a reservation for entry.

To make a reservation or see detailed instructions on how to make a seat reservation, visit the Study Seat Reservations page on the library website. Seat reservations may be made immediately during operating hours or up to two weeks in advance. Students, faculty, and staff may make one reservation per day for up to three hours per day. 

To make reservations or see the study room policies, please visit the Study Room Reservations page on the Himmelfarb website. Individuals enrolled in the on campus cohort may reserve a room for a maximum of 4 hours per day and reservations must be made in advance.


Can I still access Top Textbooks?

During the spring 2020 semester transition to virtual learning, we were fortunate that digital textbook providers made their textbooks freely available and those included almost all of our Top Textbooks. That provision is no longer available so the libraries have suspended the Top Textbooks program. Electronic versions of the Top Textbooks are available, but most publishers will not allow libraries to purchase an e-textbook version of their publications.

We strongly urge students to contact their instructors to let them know the impact the textbook publishers’ policies have on you and to urge them to adopt open educational resources for their courses. The libraries’ open education resources team is available to assist faculty in finding quality materials and integrating those into a course.


Will I still have access to course reserves?

Gelman, VSTC, and Himmelfarb Libraries will continue to provide electronic reserves via Blackboard for journal articles, e-books and book chapters. Physical books and DVDs are not available for course reserves. Your instructor may arrange to make materials available for your course.


Can I print in the library?

Colonial Printing kiosks are available in Gelman for use by anyone with a seat reservation. Colonial Printing kiosks are available in Himmelfarb for use by anyone permitted to access the library. Kiosks are also available in 27 additional campus buildings, such as Marvin Center, District House, and most residence halls and academic buildings.

One print kiosk, located in the main lobby of Rome Hall, is available to anyone with an active GWorld card. No other print kiosks are available without access to campus buildings, which is currently limited to GW students, faculty, and staff who have special permission to be on campus (the on-campus cohort). 

Law students can make use of the “emergency one-time access” to use the printers in the Law Library.


How can I get help?

Remote assistance for technical and basic information is available by calling the Ask Us Desk at 202-994-6048 or by chat. You can also submit questions online or email [email protected]. Messages will be answered within one business day. 

If you need more in-depth assistance, please make an appointment for a remote research consultation with a librarian. If the available times don't work for you, email the Ask Us Desk at [email protected] and we'll contact you.

Reference and research assistance is available from librarians by email, chat, and text. Librarians are available for consultation through WebEx. To set up a consultation, please send an email to [email protected].

Email: [email protected] or Email a Reference Librarian

Chat: Live chat with Himmelfarb Library

Text Message: 202-601-3525

Reference assistance is available from librarians by email, chat, and text.  Librarians may be available by appointment through Google Meet.

Email: [email protected]

Chat: Live chat with the Burns Law Library

Text Message: 202-999-3685

How will I meet with a librarian or have a research consultation?

Gelman librarians are available to meet with you on many aspects of research, including discipline-specific areas, coding, copyright, data management, geographic information systems, multimedia tools and digital storytelling, collecting social media data, statistical analysis, and more. All consultations will take place on Webex or GoBoard. Make an appointment for a remote research consultation.

Himmelfarb librarians are available for research consultations focusing on culminating experience projects, systematic reviews, copyright, data management, identifying publishing options, predatory publishing, and more.  All consultations will take place via WebEx. Please email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.


Do I still have access to tutoring?

Peer tutoring and course review sessions continue in a virtual format. Appointments are available via the Academic Commons website.