Fall 2020 at the USC Libraries

The USC Libraries are working differently to stay safer this fall. Like all Trojans, we share a responsibility to help keep our community healthy. Library faculty and staff are up and running to support teaching, learning, research, and creative practice, while library locations remain closed to general access.

We're prioritizing digital materials and electronic services while adapting in creative ways to provide access to physical collections when possible and safe. We're as dedicated as ever to your academic achievements, no matter where in the world you're working with your USC Libraries.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 here.

Many digital tutorials are available here.

Get email and chat help with research and other library services


Are USC Libraries buildings open?

All library buildings are closed for general access. Online services, collections, and programs remain available in support of remote teaching and research.


How do I return books while library buildings are closed?

All due dates are extended to January 19, 2021. Please do not come to campus solely to return checked-out library books.

If you would like return books by mail, please use the address below. Please also note that we cannot reimburse postage costs.

USC Libraries
ATTN: Document Delivery
Leavey Library Rm 110A
650 W 35th Street
Los Angeles, CA  90089-2571


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.


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 here.


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.

Use this introduction to primary source literacy to learn about researching with rare books, archives, and electronically available primary sources.

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

Find more specific information on digital collections of primary sources.


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 January 19, 2021. 


How do interlibrary loan and scan-and-deliver services work while buildings are closed?

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. Find updates on home delivery and other interlibrary loan and document delivery services.


Can I still submit my thesis or dissertation to the USC Libraries?

Yes. Theses and dissertations are submitted electronically. The process for submitting theses and dissertations for inclusion in the USC Digital Library has not changed. For specific questions regarding the status of your dissertation’s electronic upload, contact the USC Digital Library via email.


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.


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.


I'm a faculty member, and I have planned or intend to plan a library instruction session for my class. Can the libraries do that online? 

Yes. Library faculty and staff can deliver instruction sessions remotely. Schedule a session here.


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 Special Collections.


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.


Where can I find advice for maintaining general well-being?

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.