Last Updated: Monday March 15, 2021, 10:35 am

COVID-19 Alert Level: Yellow

As of January 22, 2021, RIT is at COVID-19 alert level Yellow. This means the prevalence of the virus remains low, but indicators show potential for an increase in transmission. RIT Libraries has implemented the following temporary changes while campus remains at alert level Yellow:

  1. Occupancy of Wallace Library for students and faculty is reduced from 25% to 13%. Public seating is reduced to provide 12 feet of social distancing instead of 6 feet.
  2. Non-RIT visitors and guests are not allowed in the library.

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?
How can faculty set up Course Reserves for classes?
Can faculty request library instruction sessions for 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. Library hours are kept up to date on our website at library.rit.edu/libhours

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. In preparation for the construction of the Innovative Maker and Learning Complex (IMLC), a portion of the circulating books currently housed in Wallace Library were relocated to Offsite Collections between January and March 2021. The books remain available by request. More information is available on the Library Offsite Collections webpage.

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 near the Circulation Desk on the first floor of Wallace Library, 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.

How can faculty set up Course Reserves for classes?

For the safety of students, faculty, and staff, physical course reserves will not be available for Spring 2021. 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 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.

As both Special Collections prepare to temporarily relocate for the upcoming construction of the Innovative Maker and Learning Complex, they are suspending digitization/reproduction requests, as of February 1, 2021 for RIT Archives and as of March 15 for the Cary Collection. More information is available on the IMLC Construction webpage.

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

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

As of February 1, 2021, RIT Archives is closed as staff prepare to temporarily relocate for the upcoming construction of the Innovative Maker and Learning Complex. 

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

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 Slaughter Hall and Liberal Arts 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 are no longer available. 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?

The Writing Commons will be open for online consultations for the Spring 2021 semester. 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) will be open for both in-person and virtual appointments for the Spring semester beginning February 1, 2021. 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.

Is the ITS Express Help Desk open?

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