What's New for 2020-21
The 2020-21 academic year may be unusual, but whether you are studying on campus or from far away, the GW Libraries continue to provide the services and resources students, faculty, and staff need to support research and online classes.
Visit the virtual Ask Us Desk
Call the Ask Us Desk at 202-994-6048 (best for technical and basic information)
Chat with a librarian or staff member
Submit questions through our website (Messages will be answered within one business day.)
Email AskUs@gwu.edu. (Messages will be answered within one business day.)
Make an appointment for a remote research consultation with a librarian or instructional technologist for more in-depth research assistance. If the available times don't work for you, email the Ask Us Desk at AskUs@gwu.edu.
Books & Media
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. Digitization of print materials may be available with longer turn-around times.
GW students, faculty, staff, or alumni with borrowing privileges located in the DC 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.
Overview of the book retrieval and pick up process
Requesting a book for delivery (instructions)
Requesting a book for pick up (instructions)
Requesting an appointment for pick up (instructions)
TIP: If you are off campus you can access library materials through single sign-on. To avoid multiple log-ins, consider using the GW VPN.
Consortium Loan Service (CLS)/Access to Print Materials Held Outside GW
The sharing of print materials through consortium loan request continues. Books from other consortium schools, with the exceptions of Howard University and University of District of Columbia (UDC), may now be requested for pick up at Gelman or VSTC libraries. Delivery is available for GW students, faculty, staff, and emeritus faculty.
Accessing Specialized Collections
- Contact the Special Collections Research Center
- Contact the Global Resources Center
- Schedule a virtual research consultation with our Special Collections Research Center staff or Global Resources Center staff
Freely-Available Digitized Print Materials
The Internet Archive has a lending library of 1.4 million e-books. Books are available to one borrower at a time using controlled digital lending.
Visit the GW Special Collections Research Center digital collections to view yearbooks, manuscripts, photos, and many primary source materials from the Archives.
NEW: During Washington D.C.s declared public emergency, the GW Libraries are extending due dates to help our patrons to avoid the Foggy Bottom area. Materials originally due January 5-23, 2021, have been automatically extended to be due February 1.
Borrowed materials should be returned or renewed by their stated due date. To avoid items becoming overdue, borrowers must renew outstanding items online through their library accounts. Borrowers may renew items up to three times, but this is not done automatically. Once an item has met its renewal limit it must be returned to the library. The libraries do not assess fees unless materials are overdue more than 40 days and considered lost.
In the 2020-21 academic year, Gelman and VSTC Libraries will continue to provide electronic reserves via Blackboard for journal articles, e-books, and book chapters. Physical books and DVD's are not available for course reserves.
Please plan to place your requests as soon as possible for anything needed in the first weeks of the semester.
In order to comply with Fair Use guidelines, no more than one chapter, or up to 10% of a book's total page count, may be scanned and linked to Blackboard. Under no circumstances can we legally scan full books or textbooks.
If you have assigned readings that exceed Fair Use limits, please work with our concierge team members to look for available library e-books or consider open educational resources which may be available at no cost to your students.
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 for the 2020-21 academic year. 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’ concierge team members are available to assist faculty in finding quality materials and integrating those into a course.
Librarians and instructional technologists 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, Zoom, or GoBoard.
Make an appointment for a remote research consultation.
A virtual computer lab and remote access to library computers are both available to GW faculty, students, and staff for the 2020-21 academic year to provide access to specialized software from anywhere. The virtual computer lab is different from remote access to library computers. Both require a working computer, an internet browser, and internet access to use. Learn when to use remote assess vs. a virtual computer lab and how to access both services on our webpage.
A full range of academic support continues to be offered virtually in the 2020-21 academic year. Undergraduate tutoring and course review sessions through Academic Commons will be offered in an online format. Writing and research consultations will also be available online. Coaching, offered through the Office of Student Success will also be available in a virtual format.
While some students enjoy the online classes, others may feel that online learning is more difficult or just not for them. Much like with classroom learning, virtual learning requires a specific set of skills to be successful. Even if you didn’t master those skills in earlier classroom experiences, you can be successful in virtual learning with a little guidance.
Academic Commons has a range of videos to help students establish a foundation for success in your online classes. These include:
- Preparing for Your Online Class
- Getting Organized During Virtual Learning
- Staying Motivated During Virtual Learning
- Common Online Course Assignments
- Overcoming Common Mistakes in Virtual Learning
Gelman & VSTC Libraries
Access to Gelman and VSTC Libraries in the 2020-21 academic year is strictly limited to residential students and to GW students, faculty, and staff who have special permission to be on campus. Access to both libraries requires a seat reservation. Students from other universities, family members of students or faculty, outside researchers, GW neighbors or anyone else not authorized to be on campus is not be permitted to enter. Current GW students, faculty, staff, some visiting researchers, and alumni will be allowed to pick up materials from the front lobby of Gelman Library with an appointment, but they may not enter past the gates.
Entrance to Gelman or VSTC Libraries requires patrons to check in and out of their seat reservation and swipe their physical GWorld card. In the past, anyone who forgot their GWorld could be signed in at the desk; that is no longer possible.
Masks must be worn in the libraries at all times, covering your mouth and nose. Masks may not be removed to eat and may be removed only as needed to take a drink.
More details regarding the seat reservation system is below.
Eckles Library will not reopen for the 2020-21 academic year
Study seat reservation policies:
- Study seats are reservable by GW residential students and those GW students, faculty, and staff who are authorized to be on campus.
- Spaces are available for reservation on a first come, first served basis.
- Reservations may be placed up to two weeks in advance.
- Reservations may be placed for up to three hours each day.
- Masks must be worn in the library at all times, covering your mouth and nose.
- Masks may not be removed to eat and may be removed only as needed to take a drink.