Spring 2021 at the USC Libraries

Like all Trojans, the USC Libraries share a responsibility to help keep our community healthy. While library locations remain closed to general access, library faculty and staff are up and running to support teaching, learning, research, and clinical and creative practice.

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

Looking ahead, we're working with campus partners, who in turn are working with county health officials, on our plans. We will begin the spring semester with online and remote library operations similar to those in the fall. As circumstances change, this is where you'll find the most up-to-date information on library collections, services, and programs.

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 May 25, 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


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 May 25, 2021. 


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.


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

Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery (IDD) services are operational, depending on availability from our partner institutions. However, we are currently experiencing operational delays with IDD and Course Reserves because of the required de-densification of campus during the pandemic due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. This will affect the following:

• Home delivery of physical materials may take up to 2 additional weeks. 
• Patrons working with our electronic course reserves system may experience a small delay depending on the materials being requested.

Please note: If you requested materials that can alternatively be purchased in electronic format (e.g., as e-books or streaming videos) you may receive notification the materials are 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, we will attempt to request it via interlibrary loan.

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.