Library FAQs for Students and Faculty

This page is a work in progress and will continue to be updated as we learn more. For W&M related questions, please visit the W&M FAQ page. If you have a question, please email us at

Returning Materials

I have graduated or will not be returning to W&M – how do I return my books and Interlibrary Loans (ILL)?

There are several options to return your checked-out items:

  1. If you will be back on campus for move-out or commencement, you can drop off books (including the book strap for ILL books) at the book-drop at the front entrance of Swem, or the drive-up book-drop behind Swem.
    • If you have equipment or other items that won’t fit in the book-drop, you can drop the items off at the William & Mary Police Department next to the parking garage on Ukrop Way.
  2. If you live in Virginia, you can return your books to a partnering Virginia college library which will then send the books to us. Check out the list of participating university libraries to see if there is one near you.
    • If there is a university library near you, please print and fill out this Courtesy Return Form, and return it with your books.
  3. If you won’t be back on campus and aren’t near a Virginia college or university, please email us at and we will send you a prepaid UPS label you can use to return the materials to us.

Updated: 5/21/2020

I will be returning to W&M when in-person classes resume – should I return my books and Interlibrary loans now?

You do not need to return books, equipment, DVDs, etc. to the libraries right now. We are extending due dates and waiving all fines and fees until in-person classes resume.

We understand you may not want to have a looming due date on your account though! If you will be on campus for move-out this summer, you can drop off books (including the book strap for ILL books) at the book-drop at the front entrance of Swem, or the drive-up book-drop behind Swem.

Updated: 5/21/2020

Are there other places I can return my books?

Yes! A number of Virginia college and university libraries are accepting book returns from other institutions. Check this list of participating libraries to see if there is one near you. If so, print and fill out a Courtesy Book Return form. Include this form with your books, and the library will mail your books back to us on your behalf.

Added: 5/21/2020

What should I do with equipment I have checked out from the Media Center, Music Library or Business Library?

You have a couple of options!

  1. Keep the equipment for the rest of the summer and bring it back when you return for in-person classes. If you're graduating, bring it back when you return for commencement.
  2. If you will be returning for move-out in May or June, Swem will be open between the hours of 10am - 2pm, Monday through Friday. We will have an equipment return desk behind Swem at the loading dock. Our staff will be there with protective equipment on. Please wear a mask when you drop your things off!
  3. If the times above do not work, you may also drop equipment off at the William & Mary Police Department next to the parking garage on Ukrop Way.
  4. If you aren't able to return to campus, please let us know and we'll work with you to return the items via UPS. You can contact the Media Center at, or for other inquiries, email


Added: 5/5/2020

Is Swem charging fines for overdue books or equipment?

We are waiving all fines and fees and extending the due date on checked-out items. We are closely monitoring the schedule of the university, and adjusting due dates as we learn more about when students can return safely to campus.

If your due dates have not been updated, or you get a notification of an overdue item, please let us know by emailing Rest assured that you will not be charged a fine!

Updated: 5/21/2020

Can I get the due date for my books or equipment changed?

We are automatically updating due dates as we learn more about when we can return safely to campus. Due dates are currently extended through the summer. You can also renew your check-outs by logging into the library's online catalog, going to your account, and clicking the link for "Renew" on any active loans.

Our systems may have missed your checked-out items when it updates the due dates though. If so, please let us know! You can email us at And don’t worry – we are also waiving any fines.

Added: 5/21/2020

Why does my account show my books are still checked out, even though I dropped them off at a book return?

While campus remains closed, our staff are working from home and are unable to process all of the books that have been returned. We are regularly emptying the book returns however, and the returned materials are kept in a safe place. When our staff is able to return to the building, we can begin processing the returns. 

Your returns are safe, and even though they still show up in your account, you do not need to worry if they are overdue. We are extending due dates and waiving all fines.

Added: 5/21/2020

General Information

Can I pick up things I left in a locker in Swem?

Swem remains closed at this time, but we will have limited curbside hours where staff can help retrieve locker items during move-out. Two staff members will be available behind Swem at the loading dock between the hours of 10am - 2pm, Monday through Friday. We will be accepting equipment returns, but you can also ask us to help get things from your locker. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing!

Added: 5/5/2020

I have a question about billing and my student refund - who should I contact?

For questions regarding a bill on your account before campus buildings closed in response to Covid, please contact Ashley Gonzales at

Added: 4/30/2020

What services are being offered by the library at this time?

Librarians are on hand to help as classes move online with consultations, instruction, advice on creating or revising research assignments, and more. You can live chat with us Monday through Friday from 9AM-5PM, email us, make an online research appointment, or contact your subject liaison

Since physical access to collections is not currently an option, we are doing our best to purchase or trial materials as needed for faculty. The libraries offer a large amount of material online, and that body grows every day. Let us know how we can help you! 

Updated: 5/13/2020

Can I come to Swem to pick up print materials?

All W&M library locations are closed to faculty, students, staff and the general public through the end of the spring semester. Closing these spaces serves two essential purposes:

  1. Protect members of our staff and community from the spread of COVID-19 by discouraging in-person social engagement
  2. Allow library staff to focus on supporting distance learning and teaching through scanning, consultation, and collaboration with other units across the W&M community. 

I’ve found a book in print that I’d like for my class/research. How do I get a copy?

You can request the book through InterLibrary Loan and they may be able to find an electronic version for you.

Can I access Swem "stuff" from off-campus?

Yes you can! Most of our resources are available online and searchable at If you find an item only available in the Swem stacks, you can request it from InterLibrary Loan and they will try to find a digital copy for you.

Most of our electronic resources connect off-campus through a proxy which will require you to sign in with your W&M credentials. If you are having problems connecting to a resource, please email with details about the problem and the name of the database or website you are trying to access.

Can I access Special Collections at this time?

The Special Collections Research Center is closed and our archivists are unable to access onsite collections for research and digitization at this time. Learn more about our digitized and digital collections and materials from other institutions on our Resources to Support Teaching & Learning research guide.

How can I access digitized primary sources, rare books, and other special collections from home?

You can find some of our collections online including University Archives, oral histories, and some notable collections that have been digitized. Many of these resources are available in PDF format. Below are a few places to start:

Has the deadline for the 2020-2021 SCRC Travel Grant applications been extended due to the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes! The deadline for applications has been extended to May 1, 2020.

I have a special request. What is the best way to let you know?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a special request. Email us at

Faculty Questions

Can I have my physical items on reserve scanned for my students to access via Blackboard?

Unfortunately, to ensure the safety of our staff, we are no longer able to scan materials on reserve. However, we are working hard to purchase, borrow, or trial materials that can be shared digitally. Let us know what you need for your class through our reserves form, and we will do our best to find it. 

I need an item for my class, can you get it for me?

We will do our best! We are accepting requests for articles, book chapters. and streaming media. Many of these may already be online and can be found in our catalog at You can post links from the catalog to Blackboard - just make sure to copy the permalink icon ( ) to get a persistent URL.

Faculty requests for materials can be submitted through our course reserve form. Let us know what you need and we will try to find an electronic version.

For non-urgent materials, you can also suggest a purchase.

What new resources are available?

We have multiple new databases available for trial through the end of the semester. You can find a list of all new trials in the databases section of the website.

We also maintain a list of new free resources that library vendors have made available during this crisis. That list can be found on our library resources guide, along with other curated lists of useful resources for teaching and learning remote. 

Student Questions

I don't have any of my course texts with me. How do I keep up with my class?

First, rest assured you’re not the only one with this problem. The Libraries are working with many professors to find electronic versions of their course texts right now. Some textbooks are temporarily available through websites like VitalSource and RedShelf, so try those first (you will need to create an account to get started). If all else fails, get in touch with us at to talk over your options.  

How do I do research now that I don't have all my books and I'm no longer on campus?

You still have lots of options!

  1. Our online databases and ebook collections are all still accessible from off-campus - you'll just need to log in with your W&M username and password.
  2. Using Google Scholar? Here's a how-to guide on making sure articles route through W&M resources.
  3. Did you find a book you really really want for your research? Use the Table of Contents to pick out the most important chapter or two and make your request through Interlibrary Loan. We'll do our best to get what you're looking for!