COVID-19: Updates on Support for Online Teaching and Research

Current status: All library digital collections, services, and programs that support remote teaching and learning remain available online. Library buildings are closed until further notice. Due dates are extended to May 26, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19: Where can I find current information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the USC update page:

Refer to that page for current, official information relevant to the USC community.


COVID-19: Where can I find answers to frequently asked medical questions for the USC community?

Information on what to do and whom to contact is available online at:


COVID-19: Are USC Libraries buildings open?

All library buildings are closed until further notice. Online services, collections, and programs remain available in support of remote teaching and research.


COVID-19: What do I do about books and other materials with upcoming due dates?

The libraries have extended all due dates this semester to May 26, 2020. If you have library materials checked out, you do not need to return them until that date.


COVID-19: With classes online through the end of the semester, what remote library services are available? 

All electronic library resources for research and teaching remain available and are accessible from off campus. For subscription databases and journals, please log in using your USC account username and password.

You'll find frequently used databases on the USC Libraries home page and a complete list of all databases at:

Many digital tutorials are available at

For email and chat help with research and other library services, visit


COVID-19: Where can I find digital resources specific to my subject interests?

The USC Libraries maintain a detailed set of online research guides that include information on subject-specific resources:

Most guides also include contact information for a library faculty or staff member with expertise in information resources for the relevant subjects.


COVID-19: Can I return books while library buildings are closed?

Yes, but all due dates are extended to May 26. You can return books to the large, outside book-drop locations on either end of McCarthy Quad, one near the entrance of Leavey Library and the other near the north side of Doheny. Please do not come to campus solely to return checked-out library materials.


COVID-19: I have a paper or other research paper coming up. Where can I find help formulating my research question and finding good sources?

This tutorial video will help you craft your research question:

Learn more about finding and evaluating authoritative sources with this tutorial:

You'll find all the libraries' online tutorials at


COVID-19: I use primary sources for my coursework, research, or teaching. How can I do that online?

The libraries provide digital access to large collections of maps, photographs, historical newspapers, and other primary sources. 

How you find and use them will differ by the type of materials and the source of the digital collection. Some are subscription-based resources that the libraries provide, some are materials that the libraries have digitized and make available through the USC Digital Library, and others are freely available online.

This research guide is a useful starting point for working with primary sources generally and includes information about online collections:

Archives Unbound is an example of a digital resource for topical, specialized collections.

Find more specific information on digital collections of primary sources here:


COVID-19: Will I incur fines if I’m unable to return books and other items I’ve checked out?

No. The libraries are waiving fines through the end of spring semester 2020. 


COVID-19: How do interlibrary loan and scan-and-deliver services work for the rest of the semester?

Physical borrowing is suspended while library facilities are closed, as most libraries nationwide are suspending interlibrary lending. We will pursue electronic books if that option is available. Requests for book chapters and articles will continue to be fulfilled from USC print sources when possible. For complete updates on home delivery and other interlibrary loan and document delivery services, visit


COVID-19: I need a book for my academic work that is not available as an e-book in the libraries’ collections. Will the libraries mail it to me?

Yes, in some cases. If the book you need appears as available in the libraries’ online catalog, request shipment using the “Request via interlibrary loan” link. If the book is checked out or marked as not on the shelf, it is not available for shipping. We also will not be able to request it from other libraries, as many libraries have suspended physical lending and borrowing.

Please note: The “Request via interlibrary loan” is the correct option for requesting books from the USC Libraries collections that are marked as available. This is necessary to initiate the shipping process. You will receive the book from USC Libraries rather than interlibrary loan.


COVID-19: Can I recall books others have checked out?

No. As your fellow library users are unable to return materials to library locations until further notice, the recall function is currently suspended.


COVID-19: I'm a faculty member, and I have planned or intend to plan an instruction session using specialized materials in USC Libraries Special Collections? Can that happen online?

Yes. Library faculty and staff have developed means of conducting online instruction for specialized collections. If you have questions about how the sessions can work for your students, contact


COVID-19: Are library events taking place as scheduled?

All university-sponsored events through May 1, on and off campus, will be canceled or postponed until a later date. The libraries' programming staff will be in touch with event organizers to help with coordination of cancellations and rescheduling. 

If you were planning to attend a meeting or event in a library space, but the event is organized by a student group or other organization on campus, please check with the event organizers regarding cancellation or rescheduled times.

Current guidance on university events is available here:


COVID-19: How can I minimize my risk of exposure?

Dr. Sarah Van Orman, Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health, issued an update on March 4, 2020, with recommendations regarding hygiene practices, travel, and other topics. Hygiene practices are listed below, and the entire message is available at:

Stay at home if you are sick. Faculty should not require notes from medical providers for students who may have absences due to respiratory or other illnesses.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Cover your cough and sneeze with your elbow or sleeve.

Avoid touching your nose and mouth.

Wearing face masks as a routine practice is not recommended.


COVID-19: Where can I find advice for maintaining general wellbeing?

Dr. Sarah Van Orman, Chief Health Officer of USC Student Health, has shared recommendations, titled "Well-being and Safety during Social Distancing,"on the USC update page for COVID-19.