Last modified July 1, 2020

This FAQ will be updated as plans are developed and implemented. Responses are based on current information and subject to change.

1. When and how will onsite library services be restarted?

Restarting library services will be a gradual process, with an initial focus on scanning and digitization for course and research support, followed by a plan to get physical items into the hands of users.

2. What precautions are you taking to protect library users and staff and minimize risk of infection?

The safety of library staff and patrons is our highest priority. Library staff will follow all state and university public health guidelines, including maintaining social distance, wearing masks, handwashing frequently, sanitizing and disinfecting workspaces and equipment, and self-monitoring for symptoms. In addition, we will be quarantining collection materials for 48 hours between hand-offs to minimize the risk of viral spread through book and other collection surfaces.

3. How do I make a digitization request?

For digitization related to courses, please submit requests through the library’s Course Reserves website . While we will make every effort to secure digital access or digitize materials for courses, copyright law limits how much we can copy in some circumstances.

For digitization related to research, contact your subject librarian  or Ask a Librarian to see if we can help you identify an existing digital copy. For materials that are not available digitally, we are developing a plan for a temporary service to digitize research-related requests and will communicate in the coming weeks how to submit requests.

To submit requests for materials held by the Rubenstein Library, follow these  online directions and place requests directly through the catalog.

The timing and sequence of expanded services are still to be determined. There may be significant delays for libraries where facility logistics limit our ability to implement social distancing and adhere to other public health guidance.

4. Will I be able to get physical books and materials from the library?

Faculty and graduate students can now pick up books and other materials with minimal contact through the Library Takeout Service. Items can be requested from Perkins & Bostock Libraries, Lilly Library, Music Library, and the Library Service Center.

5. When I pick up my book, should I clean or disinfect it?

No! Please don’t clean or disinfect library materials. It may damage the materials, and it’s not necessary, given the precautions our staff will be taking. Materials requested for pickup will be placed in paper bags on carts and quarantined, untouched, for a minimum of 48 hours before the carts are rolled into the pick-up area. The 48-hour quarantine is based on scientific research on how long coronavirus survives on different surface materials.

6. What will be the average wait times between requesting a book or scan, and receiving it?

It is likely that the turnaround will be longer than usual. To protect the safety of staff and patrons, we will be operating at minimal staffing levels with workflows modified to allow for social distancing and the required 48-hour quarantine of library materials. For scans, we anticipate it will typically take 2-3 days to process most requests. For books, the wait time will typically be 5-7 days . Quarantine protocols for handling physical materials make requests for “rush” or expedited delivery less feasible for the time being. We will add staff and increase service levels as public health guidance allows. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience with any delays or inconvenience. This reopening plan only applies to the Duke University Libraries (Perkins, Bostock, Rubenstein, Lilly, Music, and the Library Service Center). For guidance about other libraries, please see their  library webpages .

7. When will I be able to go inside the library again?

Only authorized library staff will be allowed inside library buildings until at least the fall semester, so that we have time to reconfigure our spaces, technology, and staff workflows to encourage and maintain social distancing.

8. I’m interested in books from a Duke library other than Perkins, Bostock, Lilly, Music, or the Library Service Center. When will materials at other libraries be available?

The timing to provide access to the other Duke libraries, locations, and collections, will be determined based on our experience with initial services.

9. When will I be able to request books from Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and TRLN again?

Physical Interlibrary Loan (ILL) will not resume until Duke and at least a few of our partner libraries are able to begin lending materials beyond their home institutions. Throughout the campus shutdown, we have continued to accept and fill ILL requests for scanned articles and book chapters based on availability. We will resume accepting requests for physical materials through ILL when we have the capacity to do a high level of shipping and receiving of collection materials. ILL borrowing, as always, is dependent on partner libraries being open and staffed to process requests.

10. Can I recall books that are checked out?

No. At this time, we are not recalling books, because so many library users are away from campus and unable to return items to campus. If you need a book that is currently checked out, please submit a purchase request , and we will try to obtain an electronic copy for you.

11. Can you buy a book at my request?

You may request the purchase of electronic materials to support research and teaching. However, we have temporarily stopped new acquisitions of many other materials, including print books. For more information, see the April 17 update on library collections and services from Duke's University Librarian.

12. I cannot travel domestically or internationally to work with the research materials that I need at another archive or library. Is there anything you can do to help?

As a general rule, our library staff do not have any special influence with other archives and libraries. We recommend that you contact the other institution directly to explain your research need and request their assistance. However, our subject expert librarians and archivists may be able to help you identify related or alternative materials in the Duke Libraries collections or licensed resources, or collections available in digital form at other institutions. If you aren’t sure whom to contact, email .

13. I have overdue library materials and/or interlibrary loan materials. Where should I return them?

All due dates have been extended to August 9 and will be extended further if necessary. All fines and late fees generated during the COVID-19 period will be waived. If you would like to return materials from any Duke library, or materials that we acquired for you through interlibrary loan, please use one of the following options.

If you are in Durham:

Option 1: Deposit books in our outside book return, built into the wall of Perkins Library near the triple entrance doors on the quad .

Option 2: Drop off your materials in a box at Duke’s off-site shipping and receiving facility at 100 Golden Drive, Durham, NC, 27705 . Please note the following for drop off at this location:

  • Drop off at this facility is limited to the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, Monday through Friday.
  • Park in the rear parking lot and enter through the warehouse. A bin is set up for book collection by the warehouse.
  • Place your materials in a box clearly labeled with Perkins Library, Attn: Access and Delivery Services .
  • Please practice social distancing, especially as you encounter Duke staff working at this facility.

If you are out of town you can ship books to:

Perkins Library
411 Chapel Drive
Durham, NC 27708
Attn: Access and Delivery Services

Please obtain a tracking number for your package when shipping it to Durham. All due dates have been extended. Although returned books won't be checked in until we are able to return to the building, they will be secure.

Questions? Contact

For all other questions, email .

For more general questions about steps that Duke is taking to combat COVID-19, please see the FAQ page on Duke’s Coronavirus Response website . Thanks to the Yale University Library for allowing us to adapt the framework of their library reopening FAQ.