Last Updated: Monday November 16, 2020, 11:35 am

COVID-19 Alert Level: Orange

As of November 9, 2020, RIT is at COVID-19 alert level Orange. This means the prevalence of the virus has increased above baseline and indicators show rates of infection increasing. Wallace Library is currently open with the following restrictions for the duration of the Fall semester:

  1. Building occupancy is capped at reduced levels to ensure social distancing.
  2. Access is restricted to the RIT community only — no visitors or guests permitted.
  3. All appointments with librarians, the Writing Commons, and the Expressive Communication Center will be virtual.
  4. The Cary Collection, RIT Archives, and RIT Press are open by appointment only.
  5. Java's is open for take-out only. The cafe seating area will remain closed.

Review the FAQs below for further details.


To protect the health and safety of our community, we are reconfiguring library spaces, modifying access to collections, and adding more virtual services. Please review the information on this page for the latest updates. We will continue to update this webpage as plans evolve. For more information, visit www.rit.edu/ready.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When is Wallace Library open?
How can I access library materials?‌
How can I return library materials?
What do I do over break with library materials I've borrowed?
How can faculty set up Course Reserves for Fall classes?
Can faculty request library instruction sessions for Fall classes?
Can I access the Cary Graphic Arts Collection and RIT Archives?
Is RIT Press open?
How can I get library help?
Can I borrow items through Interlibrary Loan or ConnectNY?
How is the library accommodating social distancing?
Can I study in the library?
Can I eat in the library?
Can I use the public computers and printers?
Can I check out laptops, chargers, calculators, etc.?
Are textbooks available electronically?
Will RIT Libraries be hosting events or workshops?
How can I make an appointment with the Writing Commons?
How can I make an appointment with the Expressive Communication Center?
Is the ITS Express Help Desk open?

When is Wallace Library open?

Wallace Library is open with extended business hours, but closes overnight to ensure proper staffing and to allow more time for deep cleaning. Barring any further increase to the COVID-19 alert level on campus, Wallace Library will remain open with regular hours through the end of the Fall semester.

How can I access library materials?‌

The book stacks are open for browsing, but we encourage students, faculty, and staff to use our book pickup service to minimize the number of people in the stacks. Campus delivery service is also available for faculty and staff. For any materials you browse but do not check out, please return them to any book cart so they can be quarantined. All library materials will be quarantined for 4 days after use to reduce risk for patrons and staff.

How can I return library materials?‌

Library materials can be returned to a book drop located on the Quarter Mile near the main entrance to Wallace Library, or in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall (NTID) outside the Student Services Office on the second floor.

What do I do over break with library materials I've borrowed?

If you do not need the borrowed materials for your finals or over break, you can return the materials to a book drop on campus. If you need the materials for your finals or over break, renew the materials online, and you can return them in the Spring semester.

How can faculty set up Course Reserves for Fall classes?

For the safety of students, faculty, and staff, physical course reserves will not be available for Fall 2020. Print reserve materials circulate heavily, often multiple times per day, and are not practical with a 4-day quarantine period after each use.

We recommend digital course materials be uploaded directly to myCourses. For myCourses support, email tlsupport@rit.edu. For questions regarding reserves, email ereswml@rit.edu.

Your librarian can help you identify and access alternative materials for your courses. Options for electronic materials include digitization of print materials within the limits of copyright (available once library staff can return to work in the building), e-books and journal articles, streaming media, and RIT Digital Collections. Physical DVDs will also be available for faculty to use in the classroom.

Can faculty request library instruction sessions for Fall classes?

Yes, librarians will be available for virtual instruction sessions with classes. Few exceptions will be made for in-person sessions. Contact your librarian for more information.

Both the Cary Graphic Arts Collection and RIT Archives will continue to partner with faculty to offer classes virtually. Hundreds of items from these collections have been digitized and may be used in classes. They can be accessed online through RIT Digital Collections. Tutorials for how to use RIT Digital Collections are available on RIT Libraries YouTube channel. Faculty may request digitization of additional materials to be used for classes on a case-by-case basis. Submit requests via email to the Cary Collection at cary@rit.edu or RIT Archives at ritarchive@rit.edu.

Can I access the Cary Graphic Arts Collection and RIT Archives?

The Cary Graphic Arts Collection and RIT Archives are open by appointment only, and only for RIT students, faculty, and staff. Classes will be accommodated virtually. To make an appointment to view materials in the Cary Collection, email cary@rit.edu. To make an appointment to view materials in RIT Archives, email ritarchive@rit.edu. All research materials will be quarantined for 4 days after use to reduce risk for patrons and staff.

Virtual research consultations are available by appointment. Staff are also available to answer reference questions via chat on their websites during normal business hours this Fall.

Is RIT Press open?

Yes, RIT Press is open by appointment only. You can request an appointment by emailing ritpress@rit.edu or submitting the contact form on our website. Shoppers are encouraged to order online for scheduled in-store pickup or interoffice mail delivery.

How can I get library help?

Library help is available through online chat, email at libraryhelp@rit.edu, or phone at (585) 475-2563. You can also make an appointment with a librarian to meet virtually.

Can I borrow items through Interlibrary Loan or ConnectNY?

Journal articles are delivered electronically, and we are fulfilling requests daily. Book chapters can also currently be delivered electronically. Some ebooks can be borrowed in their entirety. Place a request via IDS Express. RIT Libraries staff are scanning print articles and book chapters from our collection.

We have resumed lending physical items from IDS Express and ConnectNY. The availability of items will depend on when other libraries resume lending, and we expect delays.

How is the library accommodating social distancing?

Seating has been removed to limit one chair per table. Space in front of the service desks are marked for social distancing. The number of people allowed in the building at one time will be restricted to ensure distancing can be maintained. 

Can I study in the library?

Yes, students can study in the library as individuals. No groups will be permitted to ensure social distancing. Study rooms will be available for booking online with use limited to one person at a time, including in the larger study rooms. Note that distancing requirements means that fewer seats will be available. Additional study space has been set up in Ritter Arena and Slaughter Hall.

Can I eat in the library?

No. For the health and safety of the RIT community during COVID-19, eating indoors is only permitted in designated areas on campus.

Can I use the public computers and printers?

Yes. Public computers and printers are placed further apart to accommodate social distancing. Note that distancing requirements means that fewer computers will be available. Wireless printing is also available in Wallace Library, so you can print from your own device without needing to log on to a public computer.

Can I check out laptops, chargers, calculators, etc.?

No, we have suspended the circulation of electronics for the safety of our patrons and staff.

Are textbooks available electronically?

While publishers and vendors made many e-textbooks temporarily available during Spring 2020, most will not be available for the Fall semester. Publisher restrictions prevent libraries from making the majority of electronic textbooks available to students. The following publishers do not allow libraries to purchase an e-textbook for sharing with a class, in order to maintain their profit margins by selling directly to students:

  • Pearson
  • Cengage
  • McGraw Hill
  • Oxford University Press
  • Most publishers of ‘common reads,’ popular fiction, and popular nonfiction
  • Many publishers of health sciences texts

Librarians can help faculty find alternatives from existing library collections and other sources.

Will RIT Libraries be hosting events or workshops?

All upcoming library events will be held online. Refer to the event listings in the RIT Events Calendar or the RIT Libraries Events Calendar for details. Captioned recordings of previous virtual events are available on RIT Libraries YouTube channel.

How can I make an appointment with the Writing Commons?

Beginning on Wednesday, August 26, the Writing Commons will be open for online consultations. RIT students can make an appointment to meet with a writing consultant through chat, video, and shared document functions. Students can make an appointment up to 7 days before their appointment time. The Writing Commons recommends these best practices to make the most out of online appointments. When it is time for your appointment, log in to WCOnline to meet with your consultant. If it is your first appointment, expect to spend time with the consultant discussing your preferred software choices – Zoom, Google, WCOnline, etc.

If you have any additional questions, email Phil Shaw, Writing Commons Coordinator, at Phil.Shaw@rit.edu, or Pam Kincheloe, University Writing Program Director, at pjknge@rit.edu.

How can I make an appointment with the Expressive Communication Center?

The Expressive Communication Center (ECC) is open for virtual appointments for the Fall semester. RIT students can book an appointment online.

Any questions about the ECC can be emailed to ECC Director Elizabeth Reeves O'Connor at eargpt@rit.edu.

Will the ITS Express Help Desk be open?

No, the ITS Express Help Desk on the first floor will be closed for the Fall semester. Please visit the ITS Service Portal to submit a request or report an issue. You can also call ITS at (585) 475-4357.