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VCU Libraries is online and in person: VCU Libraries COVID-19 response

The Health Sciences Library and Cabell Library are open. Find out what to expect when you visit

Now Open: What to Expect in Using VCU Libraries' Buildings

August 3, 2020

As of Monday, Aug. 3 library buildings on both campuses are open for on-site services. Users will see many changes designed to help create as safe an environment as possible for study and research.

“VCU Libraries and our employees are excited about the return of students to our campuses,” says interim dean and university librarian Teresa L. Knott. “The return of students and faculty at the beginning of a new academic year brings vibrance to our spaces and energizes all of us. Despite the challenges of operating in a pandemic, the start of the academic year is ripe with abundant possibilities.”

“We look forward to working with VCU students, faculty and staff in person once again,” said Laura W. Gariepy, Ph.D., who is leading VCU Libraries' reopening work group. Gariepy is associate dean for research and learning. “To reduce risk of germ spread, we’ve instituted a number of rules in library buildings, and know we can count on our library users to follow them while using these spaces.”

Some major changes that library users should be aware of are:

VCU Libraries reserves the right to limit building access to VCUCard holders to be consistent with university recommendations to limit visitors on campus. 

All users must wear a face covering that covers the nose and mouth fully.

Building occupancy will be limited to promote physical distancing. Cabell will be limited to approximately 800 people, and Tompkins-McCaw will be limited to approximately 150 people. If a library reaches capacity, a line will form outside the building with one patron allowed in as one exits. 

No food or drink, other than quick sips of water, will be allowed in library spaces except in the Starbucks seating area at Cabell Library. Water bottle filling stations will be open but other water fountains will be shut off.

More details that will help users make the best use of VCU Libraries spaces and services this fall include:

Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols are in place. Hand sanitizing dispensers, disinfectant wipes and accompanying disposal receptacles  are available throughout both libraries. Users are expected to wipe down public keyboards and workstations before and after use. VCU and VCU Libraries have  increased cleaning and disinfecting of library spaces and equipment and high-use items such as door handles, keyboards, handrails and bathrooms. 

VCU Libraries employees will carefully monitor and adjust these protocols throughout the semester to create the most supportive research and learning environment possible, while continuing to prioritize user safety.  

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