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Access to books and library materials

There are many ways to access libraries' materials, including physical materials, without entering our buildings. We now offer Front Door Pickup at of physical libraries' materials, and we continue to provide access to many e-books and online resources.

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Front Door Pickup service

VCU faculty, staff and currently enrolled students may now request books, DVDs and other physical items from Cabell Library, the Health Sciences Library and offsite storage to pick up at either location inside the library, or through scheduled, contact-free pickup.

VCU alumni patrons and Friends of VCU Libraries may also schedule a contact-free pickup at either library by creating a guest ILLiad account and submitting a request directly through ILLiad.

ACCESS TO LIBRARY BUILDINGS: VCU Libraries has lifted restrictions on who may enter library spaces. We welcome VCU students, faculty, and staff, as well as Friends of VCU Libraries, registered VCU alumni users, individuals affiliated with other academic institutions, and members of the general public engaged in academic pursuit or who are attending a VCU Libraries event. VCU students, faculty, and staff are expected to show their Entry Pass to enter library buildings. All other users may be asked prior to entry to confirm their understanding that unvaccinated individuals must wear face coverings while in the library.

To request books, DVDs and other physical items (does not include multimedia equipment)

1. Request Items

  • Request items through VCU Libraries Search or by submitting a direct request through the interlibrary loan system, ILLiad
  • Choose a preferred library for front door pickup or in-library checkout; update preferences in ILLiad
  • Requests for items not held by VCU Libraries or unavailable for any reason will become interlibrary loan requests
  • You may place up to 50 requests combined for VCU Libraries collections and interlibrary loan

2. Wait for notifications

  • You will receive an email notification or text message for each requested item as it becomes available for pickup
    • If you selected home delivery (which is available for distance learners and staff working outside the greater Richmond metropolitan area and for those who request a medical accommodation), the email notification will confirm shipping details
    • If you selected library pickup, you can come into the library you selected during open hours or schedule a pickup at your preferred library, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..

3.At your scheduled time, come to the library for pickup

  • When you arrive, call the library staff with your name (at Cabell (804) 828-1111 or at the Health Sciences Library at (804) 828-0636)
  • Staff will bring items to a table located at the building entrances on both campuses
  • If you are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19, wear a face covering when coming to pick up your requested materials
  • At both libraries, a drive-up option will be available upon request
  • Enjoy your library materials!

To request multimedia equipment

To request multimedia equipment, users must call or email The Workshop at Cabell ( / (804) 827-3594) or The Makerspace at the Health Sciences Library ( / (804) 828-0636) for equipment selection and instructions. 

  • Loans will be for seven days with no renewals
  • Equipment will be quarantined for five days before circulating again. 

Returning physical materials

Items can be returned in person to James Branch Cabell Library or the Health Sciences Library when they are open, or via the external book return slot on the eastern wall of Cabell Library, facing the lawn and the Cathedral, even when the library is closed.

Multimedia equipment from The Workshop should be returned in person to the Information Desk at James Branch Cabell Library during open hours.

Books can be mailed or shipped back as well; email for a prepaid shipping label.

Questions? Contact us

Sources for online books


JSTOR is offering online access through August 31 to more than 35,000 books, in addition to the JSTOR Archive and Primary Source collections. VCU Libraries has opted into this expanded access through our existing JSTOR subscription. A list of participating publishers is updated as additional publishers join.

More ways to read online

VCU Libraries regularly provides access to many e-book collections and e-books can also be found through VCU Libraries Search.

Need help? Ask us

We’re online and ready to help you find the materials you need for your research. Ask Us.

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