Library Services during COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions

I have a question regarding…

Visiting the Library Spaces

Want to know what to expect when you visit us? Check out our FAQ’s.

students in masks sit inside Library West

Library Collections & Services

Can I request books from Interlibrary Loan? Where can I return my books? What about textbooks? All great questions! Check out our FAQ’s.

patron browsing library shelf

Research Assistance

Working on a paper, research project, or need general help with assignments? Check out our FAQ’s.

One-on-one instruction wearing masks

Visiting the Library Spaces

What are the Libraries’ hours?

Please check our hours page for the most accurate and up-to-date hours:

What are the Libraries doing to ensure my health and safety?

The Libraries will continue to offer the bulk of our services virtually. Those are outlined on our Virtual Services During COVID-19 page.

If you are visiting in person, the Libraries are requiring:

  • Face coverings of all patrons and employees entering the buildings and must remain on during the entire duration of your stay.
  • Limiting entry to UF Affiliates (students, faculty, and staff) with a Cleared for Campus status only. This status can be shown using your personal device, or we can look it up with a picture ID.
  • No eating or drinking in the buildings, other than use of bottled water or water fountains, as face coverings must be worn at all times.
  • Custodial staff to extend their hours and target their cleaning to specific high-use areas.
  • Social distancing: seating and workstations have been measured for recommended physical distancing. Please do not move the furniture.

The Libraries state that they are only open to “UF Affiliates”. Who does this include?

Essentially, this includes current students, faculty, and staff. It also includes spouses/partners of UF Affiliates, Emeritus faculty, retirees, and volunteers/docents with an active UF ID card.

At this time, non-affiliates are not permitted access without an appointment. If you are a visitor and require research assistance, please chat with us via Ask-A-Librarian.

I forgot my phone (or other device) to show my Cleared for Campus status. Will I still be able to enter the library?

No problem, we can look up your status using your photo ID and UFID #.

Can I enter the library if I refuse to wear a face covering?

No, it is required campus-wide to wear face covering inside campus buildings. If you do not have a face covering, we will request that you return with a face covering before permitting entry. We continue to offer extensive library services virtually, and encourage that you take advantage of our virtual services until you are ready to return with a face covering.

Where can I buy masks on campus?

Some vending machines on campus sell disposable masks for $1.50 each. If you would like to know where the vending machines are, please visit the UF Business services site here:

Students and staff members will receive a $0.50 discount on PPE products when using their Gator 1 Card to purchase.

Can I eat and drink inside the library?

No. Only water may be consumed inside the Libraries. We apologize for the inconvenience, but require that all library patrons and employees keep their masks on when they are visiting us. We also do not want to put any additional burden on our custodial staff, who will be focusing their effort on cleaning high-touch areas and will not have the additional resources to clean food and beverage residue.

I understand that I can’t eat in the library, but can I bring in food if I keep it in my backpack?

You can bring food in as long as you keep it in a closed/zipped container like a lunchbox or backpack. It must not be odourous and remain stored away during your visit.

Will Starbucks be open?

Starbucks locations at Library West and Marston Science Library will be posting their open hours separately. You will only be able to enter Starbucks from exterior entrances. You will not be able to enter the library via Starbucks, since the Starbucks entrance from within the library will be closed. Food and drink purchased at Starbucks, as with any other food and drink, excluding water, may not be consumed in the library.

Can groups meet to study in the library? Can we reserve study rooms?

Unfortunately not. Group study rooms in all of the Libraries will be closed. Additionally, Library seating has been adjusted for proper physical distancing, and furnishings must not be moved. Groups will need to meet virtually or outside the library buildings.

Where can I print in the Libraries?

Printing is available in all the Libraries:

Additionally, we have added a new and easily accessible printer located in the café area on the first floor of Library West!

Is there a way I can check if a library is already at capacity before I arrive?

Yes! We encourage that you check our occupancy status site before you head to your favorite study spot to see if the location can accept any more patrons into the building. You can visit our site here:

How many people are allowed in the libraries at a time?

This will vary by location. The most current occupancy information, and total available capacity, is available at

Are employees who work in the building counted toward a library’s capacity?

No. Library employees will be using alternative entrances to their work spaces, which are not counted on the occupancy counters.

I used to be able to go into the different libraries via multiple doors. Is there only one that I am allowed to use at each branch now?

The correct entry for each library location will be clearly marked to ensure accurate counting of occupancy.

Is there a limit to how long I can stay in the library?

No, there is not. Be aware that if you leave the library, you may not be guaranteed re-admittance. Be sure to take all of your belongings with you if you need to leave the building.

How do I access the HSC Library?

The 1st floor of the HSC Library is open to all UF affiliates during posted hours. The 2nd floor of the HSC Library is available to Health Science Center students, residents, and fellows. For more information, see the HSC Library’s Covid-19: Visiting the Library information page.

If I see someone not following the library guidelines, who can I speak to?

We thank you for bringing to our attention any violations of face-covering, social distancing, and eating/drinking requirements. We hope everyone will follow our guidelines and remember the importance of these safety measures, but in case someone needs a reminder; please reach out to library staff at one of our service desks or contact us by phone, email or chat. You do not have to speak to the other person if you feel uncomfortable doing so, we are here to help and make sure everyone stays safe and healthy.

Are there other places I can study on campus?

Yes! The Reitz Union is open from 7 am- 7 pm, daily. Please see their hours here: Newell Hall is another study spot, please visit their hours page at this link:

Aside from the Libraries, are there other places to study on campus that have computers I can use?

Yes! The Academic Technology Labs on campus are open – please see their hours here: The AT Labs operates Windows and Mac computers that are available to University of Florida students, faculty and staff. The Lab also provides printing services.

Please see their Covid Guide for additional details regarding their occupancy and policies this semester:

Access to Library Collections and Services

Access to Course Materials & Interlibrary Loan Services

Will I be able to borrow my course textbook?

Print books on Course Reserves are not being loaned during this time, but a number of electronic resources may be available for your course.

Please check our Course Reserves system to see if the items you need for your course are available electronically by signing in with your UF username and password here: You can also search our library catalog to see if books needed for your course are available in our collections at

When I try to access electronic resources and course reserves, I am asked for a password. What should I enter?

If you are accessing our electronic databases, you must install and sign in to the UF VPN application to authenticate your affiliation with the University of Florida. Find information regarding the VPN and other information regarding remote access here:

If you have trouble accessing electronic resources, please chat with us via Ask-A-Librarian service or contact your subject specialist.

I am teaching, researching and studying fully online this semester. Since I will not be visiting campus, can I still request physical items via the Interlibrary Loan service?

Yes. We will ship materials from the UF Collections AND materials borrowed from other institutions to your mailing address. This service is offered to patrons who reside outside of Gainesville, FL. The service is free of charge, and the library will pay the shipping costs. We will also provide a pre-paid UPS returning label for your convenience. We will not ship to PO Boxes or addresses on the main UF campus.

Learn more about Interlibrary Loan services for distance patrons here:

Check out our Access and Resource Sharing Frequently Asked Questions page for more information:

Can you ship the titles I requested via UBorrow to my address?

No. UBorrow items are not eligible for delivery. If you are a distance patron, and would like to request titles to be shipped to you, submit your loan request using ILLiad via Interlibrary Loan.

Access to Physical Items in Our Collections

I am not enrolled for classes this semester. May I still access library materials?

Yes, students who were last enrolled in either Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 semesters may still access library materials. Request an extension of your library privileges by emailing with the following information:

  • Your first and last name
  • UF email address (ending in “”)
  • Last semester in which you were enrolled

To view the updates to the Libraries’ Non-Enrolled Student Policy, please visit our information page.

Can I come to the library to browse for books in the collections?

At most locations, the library collections are open for browsing.

The Latin American and Caribbean Collection and Map and Imagery Library Collection in the Smathers Library and the collections at the Health Science Center Library are inaccessible in the Fall semester, and those locations are offering holds pickup services. To learn more about requesting books from Health Science Center and the Smathers Library locations, please visit the following sites:

If I am unable to visit the libraries to borrow materials, can someone else pick up books for me?

Yes. Eligibility for the Proxy Borrower Program (allowing someone you designate to check out materials on your behalf) is described at All faculty, students registered with UF’s Disability Resource Center (DRC), and staff registered for accommodation with UF’s ADA Compliance Office, may use this service.

I need a book that is on loan to another person, how can I request it?

You may request to be next in line to borrow a library item by visiting our catalog and clicking the request link next to an item’s call number. Please be aware that recalling an item from another library patron does not mean you will receive it quickly. You will be notified via your UF email when an item is available for you to pick up at the home library of the requested item.

If what you are requesting is not a course textbook, consider requesting the title from UBorrow or Interlibrary Loan instead of recalling the item. You may receive the title faster when borrowing from another institution! For more information regarding Interlibrary Loan or UBorrow services, please check out our Interlibrary Loan Information page.

Can I borrow an iPad and other technology at the Libraries?

Unfortunately not. Due to COVID-19, we will not be loaning out any technology and equipment.

How do I access materials in the Smathers Library (Special Collections, Map & Imagery Library, Latin American & Caribbean Collection, etc.)?

All on-site access to materials within the Smathers Library will occur within the Grand Reading Room on the 2nd floor. Please email to schedule a research appointment.

Circulating materials from the Latin American & Caribbean Collection and books of the Map & Imagery Library can be requested through the catalog for pick-up in the Smathers Library. See the SASC COVID-19 announcements page for all details regarding services offered by the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (SASC) during this time.

Due Dates & Return of UF Library Materials

When are the materials I borrowed from the library due?

Library items due on or before 12/11/2020 have had their due dates extended until 1/19/2021. Since many of our patrons are still researching and taking courses remotely, we want to provide you with ample time and flexibility when returning items loaned out during our closure.

If you are borrowing items after our reopening on 8/28/2020, your items will be due sooner depending on what you are borrowing and your UF affiliation.

The items you have on loan may be requested by another patron, which will change your due date. If the items you borrowed are requested or almost due, we will send you updates and notices to your UF email, so check it often. You can also verify due dates on your library account, and even renew your loans there! If you have any questions, please contact us:

My due date has changed, since someone requested the book I borrowed. What do I do?

Please return the book on or before your new due date. If you are in Gainesville, you may use our book drops at Library West, Education Library, Health Science Center Library or Marston Science Library; which are accessible 24/7. Library West even has a drive through book drop, for your convenience. If you are out of town, please mail your items back to the library.

If you feel you have extenuating circumstances and cannot return your items back to the library, please contact us so we can try to assist you and answer some of your questions:

I received a notice that my library books will soon be due or are overdue, and the books are ineligible for renewal or my account has expired. What should I do?

We realize that some of our patrons have materials on loan to them that they are unable to renew, and that they may not be able to return by the due date issued. Our expectation is that materials be returned to the Libraries as soon as patrons are able to return them.

In extenuating circumstances, patrons may contact the circulation staff at the location from which materials were borrowed, to inquire about the possibility of extending due dates:

Where can I return library books, DVDs, and CDs?

Once the libraries reopen, you can return all materials to any location during our open hours. Additionally, book drops at Library West, Health Science Center Library, Marston Science Library, and the Education Library remain open 24/7.

If you are not returning to Gainesville, please mail materials back to the libraries. Information regarding returning items in person or by mail is available at

How do I return library technology and equipment?

Please return technology and equipment to the Circulation Desk at the library you borrowed the item from during our open hours.

If you have questions, contact the branch directly:

Research Assistance

How can I get help with my assignments?

We encourage all patrons to access our virtual services when needing help or beginning their research. These services include Ask-A-Librarian chat and research guides created by library subject specialists. Options are outlined at

How can I get specific and more in-depth help with my dissertation or research?

For graduate students and faculty, we encourage you to contact your subject or area liaison (the directory is at, or to contact the UF Libraries’ Academic Research Consulting & Services (ARCS) group at

Will librarians be available onsite to assist me?

In-person consultations will be extremely limited, due to physical distancing requirements and employee schedules. Research librarians will continue to offer consultation with you virtually, and may be contacted via the directory at For any meetings or consultations that are determined to best be accommodated in-person, liaisons will arrange an appointment time directly with you, well in advance.