W&M Libraries Phased Reopening

W&M Libraries assembled a broad coalition of library employees to create a reopening plan for the Libraries. The advice and regulations from the CDC, the Virginia governor's office and the W&M Emergency Management Team informed this plan. In the event this guidance changes, and with the rapid changes of the COVID-19 pandemic, this plan and the dates outlined below may change. We will keep this page up to date as we learn more.

For full details on W&M's plan for the fall semester, visit the W&M Path Forward site.


Reopening Strategy for W&M Libraries


May - June 6

  • All buildings closed to users
  • Electronic access to library resources only
  • Limited staff at Swem and Wolf Law Libraries to accept returns


June 8 - 12
Same as above plus:

  • Digitize course materials for online summer courses
  • Processing of quarantined returned materials
  • Student, faculty and community library workshops online


Mid June - August 9th
Same as above plus:


August 10th - 18th

  • Swem and Wolf Law Libraries open with limited hours (8am - 5pm, M-F) to W&M students, faculty and staff
  • Patrons must wear a face covering and show W&M ID to enter the libraries
  • Service desks open, collections open for browsing, public computers and printers available for use
  • Instruction and research consultations continue online


August 19th

  • Expanded hours for the fall semester for W&M students, faculty and staff.
    • While we ramp up staffing in August, our hours will be:
      • Mon - Friday: 8AM - 5PM
        Saturday - Sunday: 10AM - 5PM
    • Our fall hours will be:
      • Monday - Thursday: 8am - 10pm
        Friday: 8am - 8pm
        Saturday: 10am - 8pm
        Sunday: 10am - 10pm
  • Patrons must wear a face covering and show W&M ID to enter the libraries
  • Interlibrary Loan returns to normal operations
  • Library Delivery Service resumes
  • Special Collections available by appointment
  • Instruction and research consultations continue online


We will ensure the following steps are met before moving into the next phase:

Before orange phase, ensure the following are completed:

  • Master calendar to manage contact tracing
  • PPE is available for all staff onsite


Before yellow phase:

  • Limit traffic to pickup area in lobby
  • Smocks for book handling
  • Procedures and supplies in place for cleaning books and media equipment
  • Schedule for cleaning and sanitizing high traffic areas in place


Before blue phase:

  • Building prep completed:
  • Plexiglass shields at service desks
  • Hand sanitizer stations installed
  • Social distancing signage and marked pathways for elevators, stairwells and service desks
  • Limit seating capacity and available computer stations at shared tables


Before green phase:

  • Disposable masks available for patrons

Guiding Principles

  • Supporting Teaching, Learning, & Research
    We recognize the critical role we play in supporting the university’s mission to continue teaching, learning & research. This plan is designed to provide access to as many library resources and services as possible while allowing library users and staff to work safely together.
  • Safety
    Decisions about staffing, services, and operations have been made in accordance with CDC and state guidance, as well as with the advice and regulations from Environmental Health & Safety and the Emergency Management Team regarding best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the event that this guidance changes, our plans will be modified to ensure compliance.
  • Public Health & Adaptability
    Given the rapidly changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that the start dates for each phase are tentative and subject to change. We also recognize that reopening may not be a linear process, and that we may need to move ‘backwards’ between phases to continue working safely in the event of a spike in cases or a campus outbreak.