Welcome Back, Faculty: What to Expect

KSL exterior photo

This information applies only to Kelvin Smith Library. The service information may vary for the other campus libraries (Health Sciences, Law, and Mandel School). 

Welcome back to the Kelvin Smith Library. Our highest priorities are to ensure your health and safety and to provide a warm, inviting and productive space for your study and research. The library adheres strictly to all state and university public health guidelines regarding physical distancing, wearing masks, frequent handwashing, sanitizing and disinfecting workspaces and equipment, and quarantining books before they are re-shelved. 

This quick guide provides information about what to expect when you visit the library, including recent service changes, improvements, and ideas on how you can help ensure that everyone in the campus community has a positive experience. 


  • Kelvin Smith Library will reopen for CWRU ID card holders only beginning Monday, July 27 
  • 24/7 hours are not in effect; see the library’s website for daily hours 
  • A new entry protocol is in place to ensure the health of all visitors 
  • The number of available study seats is significantly reduced to accommodate physical distancing, but a new system lets you reserve a place in the library in advance 
  • Library content expanded for remote access and other services have been improved
  • Course Reserve printed materials will be replaced with online access through Canvas
  • Books checked out during the spring semester should be returned by September 15. 

Kelvin Smith Library re-opening to the CWRU community.

The library will reopen for CWRU ID card holders only beginning Monday, July 27. To enable daily deep cleaning and disinfecting, 24/7 service has been discontinued. Most days during the fall semester the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., but hours will vary, so please check the full building schedule

Entering, exiting, and queuing.

For safe physical distancing, please enter only from the side doors facing the Tinkham Veale University Center and exit only through the side doors facing Severance Hall. To enter, you will need your University ID to unlock the outside doors and to tap your ID card again at the Welcome Desk. You must wear your mask as you enter and at all times while in the building. 

Health and safety.

For your safety, all high touch surfaces of the library (such as handrails, computer keyboards and screens, and tables and chairs) will be disinfected regularly throughout the day and every evening after closing. 

Building seating capacity.

To ensure safe physical distancing, the total building capacity has been significantly reduced and access to some areas has been eliminated entirely, such as the personal seating pods on the first and third floors and all collaboration rooms. However, two new systems can be used to help plan a visit to the library. 

  • a new display at the library’s entrance and visible from a computer or phone provides real-time information on the number of people currently in the building and the maximum building capacity. 
  • a new online reservation system allows visitors to reserve an available seat in advance, either from a phone or computer on the day of the visit or upon arrival in the library by using the QR code at each seat. It’s recommended to keep a copy of the reservation in case another person is sitting at the reserved seat, and to check in and out. Reservation time slots will be for a maximum of three hours. 

Returning checked out materials.

Faculty may return books at any time using the book drop outside the library or the book drop immediately inside the front door entrance. 

OhioLINK and Interlibrary Loan.

OhioLINK will resume borrowing and lending on Monday, August 10. Some member libraries may not be able to participate immediately, and books may need to be quarantined upon arrival on campus. This will also be true for interlibrary loan borrowing from out-of-state libraries. As a result, response times may be delayed.

Research content. 

  • As an inevitable result of the financial pressures on the University caused by the pandemic, the library will need to make a significant reduction in the content budget. Librarians are now working on preliminary proposals and will confer with faculty after the return to campus to discuss how this might affect resources in your discipline.
  • While the budget reduction news is disappointing, there is still a wealth of information and multiple options to provide content for students. For example, research services librarians can identify digital versions of texts and media materials. Although the library does not provide access to e-textbooks, for many courses there are open access and other affordable e-textbook and open educational resources. Librarians can assist in identifying materials that may be appropriate for courses.
  • The library stacks are open for browsing. If you remove a book from the shelves, place it on a book cart in the stacks so it can be quarantined before re-shelving.
  • On the third floor, one extended section of the stacks now has a new keypad system to move the shelves that replaced the old buttons.
  • Over the summer, the entire Kulas Music Library collection was permanently relocated from Haydn Hall to the first floor of the library along the aisle parallel to East Boulevard. The library branch in Haydn Hall is now closed. 

Remote teaching and learning.

Library staff are available to assist with identifying content for teaching online and to support students with research projects and assignments. Remote consultations are available through email (asksl@case.edu) and will be answered within two business days. Librarians are also available to meet with students by phone, Zoom or live chat. It’s encouraged to add a link to each syllabus referring students to our appointment service

Library instruction and classrooms.

All library classrooms have been converted into study space for students; therefore no in-person classroom instruction will occur in the library. 

  • The library is preparing a new approach to instruction that has two key components. One is a new set of learning modules in Canvas that can be easily integrated into courses. The other component is an effort to deepen our partnerships with faculty in planning learning objectives around information literacy, research and digital skills. Faculty may contact their research services librarian directly, or request an instruction consultation
  • The Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship experts can assist with specialized instructional services for students, such as about the use of GIS data, textual analysis, creation of online exhibits using Scalar, and instruction on best practices for digitization. 
  • Special Collections and Archives librarians are also available to provide instruction with primary source materials. We now have a document camera for synchronous or asynchronous use of our print collection, plus availability of digitized collections. 

Reserve materials.

Physical materials (books, printouts, media, etc.) will no longer be available on reserve because this is incompatible both with dual delivery of classes and quarantining requirements. We are working with faculty to make more reserve materials accessible electronically through Canvas. 

Food and drink.

Food and drink will be prohibited in the building, except in the Cramelot Café area. It has not been announced when Cramelot will reopen. Food deliveries to Kelvin Smith Library are not permitted. 

In-person events and programs.

Kelvin Smith Library will hold no lectures or other events through the fall semester. 

Book donations.

We are unable to accept book donations through the end of the calendar year. 

Please let us know if you have any additional questions or suggestions!