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Library Services During COVID-19

Call Us

Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ask Us

Submit a question at any time.
We reply M-Th 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 
F 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Su 5-8 p.m.

Ask Us

Meet With Us

Schedule a virtual meeting
with a research librarian.


The new Neilson Library is now open to students, faculty, and staff who are in the campus COVID-19 screening program. The building is not open to the public at this time. Lanyards must be worn and displayed; entry is controlled by card access via the Seelye lawn entrance. More details on services and access are available below. See real-time Neilson Library occupancy levels.


The Neilson Library is open Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m.- midnight, and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.

The pickup location for library materials is now at the Central Service Point in the Neilson Library, which is open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

All other library buildings are currently closed.

Neilson Library Access & Materials

  • Building Access: Neilson library access is limited to students, faculty and staff who are in the campus COVID-19 screening program. Lanyards must be worn and displayed at all times, and entry will be controlled by card access via the Seelye lawn entrance. For questions concerning OneCard access status, contact the IT help desk at
  • Public Visits: Neilson Library is not open to the public. Currently, only students, staff and faculty in the college's COVID-19 testing program may access building during Green Mode. While the building is not yet open to the public, we look forward to welcoming visitors in the future. The College will make a determination about when to re-open campus buildings to the public, and that decision will be communicated widely. We encourage those interested to follow us on social media for updates. For more information about how Smith is working to keep the campus and surrounding communities safe, please see the Culture of Care website.
  • Building Capacity: Building capacity will be limited to approximately 300 people including staff and student employees. See real-time Neilson Library occupancy levels.

In Green operating mode, the Neilson Library is open during the following times:

  • Sunday-Thursday 10 a.m.- midnight
  • Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Item pickup at the Central Service Point is open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Students, faculty and staff in the COVID-19 screening program will be able to pick up requested items at the Central Service Point between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. They may also browse open sections of the collections and use self checkout machines to check out library materials. Compact shelving areas will be closed (call numbers AC - PS); items in those areas can be requested through the online library catalog.
  • Students, faculty and staff who are not in the COVID screening program will be able to continue to request items from the Smith Libraries, Five Colleges and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and those items will be mailed to their address. Please see Requesting Items and Returning Items on this page for full details. Library materials will be mailed to emeriti faculty.

During Green Mode, students and employees in the campus COVID-19 screening program may:

  • Access study areas for physically distanced study
  • Browse books and journals in open shelving areas
  • Pick up requested items
  • Use self checkout stations
  • Return library items
  • Use print/copy/scan stations

Special Collections services continue to be offered remotely. Special Collections materials (the College Archives, Mortimer Rare Book Collection, and the Sophia Smith Collection) will be unavailable from June through August 2021 during the move into Neilson Library.

Book Pickup & Return

Please contact or 413-585-2910 with any questions or concerns.

  • Who can request: At this time, we can only honor requests from Smith and Five College students, faculty, and staff. Students, faculty, and staff in the campus COVID-19 screening program may pick up items in the Neilson Library. Those not in the campus COVID-19 screening program may use our mailing program (details further below). Local borrowers of Smith College Libraries cannot borrow materials at this time, but will receive complimentary extended service to their accounts once privileges resume.
  • What is available: Most Smith books, print collections (see HathiTrust Access for details) and DVDs, as well as many Five College books, print collections, and DVDs. Please contact with questions about specific items.
  • How to request: Submit requests as you normally would through the library catalog. Thank you in advance for your patience, as it may take a number of days for us to safely process your hold request.
  • Due dates: Special due dates apply, see Loan Periods.
  • Mailing program for students: Students who are not in the campus COVID-19 screening program can request books by mail. This service is available within the United States and applies to some books that are only available in print; unfortunately, we are unable to mail books internationally. If you only need a book chapter, you can request the chapter to be scanned and emailed through Interlibrary Loan. If a whole print book is needed, please use the request button in the library catalog. Returning books is easy: use the prepaid return label included in the package when we mail your book. Once the Neilson Library opens, this service will be open to all students living in the United States who are not in the coronavirus screening program.
  • Mailing program for faculty/staff: Faculty, emeriti, and staff who are not in the campus COVID-19 screening program can request books by mail. Fill out this form to request that items be delivered by mail. Returning books is easy: use the prepaid return label included in the package when we mail your book.
  • Mail delivery time: Please note that it could take 2-3 weeks to receive books through the mail due to quarantining materials and the mailing process. Please plan ahead to request books so you will receive them in time to be used.
  • Neilson Library item pickup: The Neilson Library opens on Monday, March 29. Students, faculty and staff who are in the campus COVID-19 screening program may pick up library items in the Neilson Library and the Central Service Point. This location is open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please note that lanyards must be worn and displayed at all times, and entry will be controlled by card access via the Seelye lawn entrance.
  • Notification: You will receive a notification email from the libraries letting you know when your items are ready to pick up. Be sure to bring your OneCard and face covering.
  • Hours & Location: Current pickup hours in the Bass Hall Lobby are 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday - Friday. The pickup location will change to the Neilson Library on Monday, March 29; item pickup at the ground floor Central Service Point will be open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. You will have 5 business days to pick up your material. If you cannot make it to campus in this timeframe, please contact us to arrange a different pickup date.
  • Cleaning books: Please don’t clean or disinfect library materials. It may damage the materials, and it’s not necessary given the precautions our staff will be taking.
  • Book and media drop: Anyone can return library items by using the book drop outside of the Neilson Library at the Seelye lawn entrance. For those approved to enter Neilson Library, there are also book drops at service points on floors 1 and G.
  • Mailing program: If you borrowed a book through the mailing program you should have received a prepaid return label with your package. If you lose the label, use this form to request a new one.
  • Return by mail: If you picked up library materials but are unable to return your items in person, fill out this form to receive a shipping label. All shipping options are free.
  • Outstanding student loans: If you borrowed library items in a previous semester and still have them, please return prior to the due date or as soon as possible. You may use the on-campus book drop, or you may request a free shipping label. International students and others who need to extend their loans should get in touch through Ask Us
  • Books from the other four colleges: Please either renew these online, return them through the mail, or deposit in the drop box outside the Neilson Library by the due date.
  • New guidelines: The safety of library staff and users is our highest priority. Library staff will follow all state and college public health guidelines, including social distancing, wearing masks, frequent handwashing, sanitizing and disinfecting of workspaces and machinery, and self-monitoring for symptoms.
  • Alternative pickup options: If you require any kind of alternative pickup options, please contact us at

Online Resources

Find Online Sources: See our guide to finding online resources such as ebooks, articles, journals, media, class guides, and more.

  • All library eResources are available from off-campus.
  • Use the links on the Libraries website and enter your Smith username and password when prompted.
  • If you have trouble accessing resources remotely, check out our FAQs or report the issue to Ask Us so we can help.
  • HathiTrust: This not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserves over 17 million digitized items, including eBooks and scholarly research. Due to the pandemic, we have been granted temporary access to HathiTrust eBooks that are still under copyright.
  • Lending limits: Under our agreement with HathiTrust, we cannot lend paper copies of books owned by Smith when a HathiTrust e-copy is available. When this emergency access ends, Smith users will lose access to the HathiTrust eBooks and will regain access to print titles in Smith’s collection.
  • Course Reserves scanning: Beginning in mid-August, faculty will be able to request that chapters of Smith print books, including those that are available as eBooks in HathiTrust, be scanned and placed on reserve. More details will be announced soon.
  • Online tutorials: Librarians have created a short video tutorial reviewing how to access HathiTrust eBooks through the Libraries' website. For detailed, step-by-step instructions on accessing HathiTrust eBooks from the Smith Libraries catalog, see our Find Online Sources guide.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan is open for borrowing. We are aiming to fill requests digitally when we can. Borrowing from libraries outside the Five Colleges is limited due to the availability of other libraries access to their collections.

  • Digital borrowing: Staff will try to fulfill all requests for materials that can be delivered electronically. We encourage you to submit ILL requests for the sources you are looking for, no matter the original format, and we will attempt to either find them online for you, ask other libraries to scan requested materials, or suggest alternate sources. We also provide chapter scans of Smith owned materials!
  • Physical borrowing: Borrowing from libraries outside the Five Colleges is starting up slowly due to restricted availability right now. Please place your request and we will try to find a lender.
  • Submit a request: Request materials (such as scans of book chapters and articles in the Smith collection, online resources, and materials from beyond Smith) by logging in to Interlibrary Loan and submitting a New Request using the left hand menu.
  • Returning ILL materials: Interlibrary Loan books (they have a colored paper band around the cover) can be returned using the book drop outside the Neilson Library, at the Seelye lawn entrance.

Course Reserves

  • Course materials and E-Reserves are available on the E-Reserves list and via the "Library Course Reserves - Required Materials" link on the top of your Moodle course page. If you’re unfamiliar with how reserves work on Moodle, get in touch through Ask Us and we’ll walk you through it.
  • Faculty may request that online resources be added to Moodle using our new online request form. We are actively scanning and converting physical materials from the collection. See Course Reserves Information for Faculty or schedule a time to meet with us for assistance preparing materials.
  • Print Reserves are suspended until library services resume on campus and physical lending can be done equitably. See Course Reserves.

Research Help

Ask Us: Ask questions and get help from a research librarian:

  • Ask Us - Submit a question at any time. Library staff members monitor and regularly reply to messages.
  • Meet With Us - Schedule a virtual meeting with a research librarian.

Research Subject Guides: Librarians have created custom online research guides for every subject taught at Smith.

Special Collections - Submit all questions and requests to Reference inquiries that require materials investigation will be held in order of when they were received and responded to once the campus is opened. Digitization services are not available at this time.

Special Collections


  • Special Collections staff support students, faculty and staff virtual reference and digitization for access and use of the collections. Requests should be made through
  • The Special Collections Reading Room is closed to in-person research visits. Requests for remote research assistance can be made through
  • Digitization orders: As Special Collections prepares to move into the Neilson Library, some services will be temporarily suspended. On April 5, 2021, digitization service for anyone outside the Smith community will be paused. Special Collections is still accepting orders from Smith students and faculty that support teaching and learning.
  • Fee waiver: Special Collections is waiving all copy and digitization fees for Smith faculty, students, and departments during this period. All other fees still apply at this time.
  • Special Collections move: Special Collections materials will be unavailable from June through August 2021 during the move into Neilson Library.
  • Find Online Sources: Special Collections: See our guide for finding Special Collections materials online.

Faculty Teaching Support

  • Purchasing Digital Materials: Use the Faculty Book & Media Order Form to request the purchase of online materials, including eBook copies of print materials you currently use with students. The Libraries will prioritize eBooks and other digital materials. Some eBook titles are available with unlimited simultaneous users, meaning multiple students can read them at the same time. 
  • Purchasing Print Materials: Requests for books and other print material are currently being accepted. Use the Faculty Book & Media Order Form to request the purchase of print materials.
  • E-Reserves, scanning, and streaming: Use the Reserves Request Form to request that library resources be added to a Moodle course page. Library staff will digitize material from the collection and acquire new resources for your teaching, including scans of book chapters, DVDs and will provide stable links to online resources. Working with the Libraries’ staff ensures that materials meet copyright and accessibility guidelines. Please submit your syllabus with the request and we will prioritize materials to be ready by the date they are needed.
  • Moodle: If you’re unfamiliar with how reserves work on Moodle, get in touch via Ask Us and we’ll walk you through it. For more information, see Course Reserves Information for Faculty.
  • Accessibility: If you scan book pages, articles, or other materials to post for your class on Moodle, be sure to follow the College’s guide for Accessible Instructional Materials.
  • Support: Librarians are available to support faculty with preparing resources and selecting alternative course materials. Please be in touch with your departmental library liaison or use Ask Us.
  • Synchronous Course Instruction: Librarians are working on planning course-related instruction delivered remotely for the Fall semester. If you would like to plan a Zoom research instruction session for your students on the research process, working through a specific research assignment or how to use library resources, complete the Request Library Instruction Form or contact your department’s library liaison directly.
  • Asynchronous Course Instruction: Librarians can pre-record video instruction sessions or create short instructional videos on library research for your course. Contact your department’s library liaison to learn more.
  • Find Online Sources: We have created a new guide to help you Get Started With Online Resources.
  • Workshops: Librarians are offering online workshops on accessing and using digital resources effectively in your courses, as well as teaching with Special Collections. Get full details and register. ITS is also providing workshops and COVID-19 Digital Support for faculty.
  • Recordings and slides: Recordings and slides of recent “Finding online materials for your course with the Libraries” workshops have been made available below:
  • Research Librarians will continue to work remotely for the fall semester, and can meet with you and your students via Zoom video or audio. They offer consultation on fall curricular planning, eBooks and course materials, research needs and citation management.
  • Schedule an appointment: Use Meet With Us to schedule an appointment with research librarians via Zoom or by phone.
  • Send us your questions: Use Ask Us to submit questions, or send email to
  • Library Liaisons: Contact your departmental library liaison.
  • Faculty and Special Collections access: Special Collections will work with you to discuss and identify your needs and work out remote service whenever possible. If there is a specific request that is related to a course and it cannot be done remotely, staff will determine whether it can be handled in a way that is safe for everyone involved.
  • Teaching: Special Collections staff will continue to support teaching with primary materials via remote instruction. While staff cannot host classes in person at this time, curators and archivists can employ the following options to support teaching and learning:
    • Pre-recorded lectures
    • Remote synchronous live sessions (e.g., curator with hovercam sharing materials remotely, live)  
    • Remote consultations with students and faculty
    • Generation of guides and resource lists
    • Creating and sharing special collections digital resources held by other institutions, synchronously or asynchronously.

Special Collections course support requests should be directed to the relevant collection steward:

Smith student and faculty digitization needs will be prioritized over other reference requests. Please submit all research inquiries to