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What to expect and what is expected of VCU Libraries users

In the interest of your personal safety and community health, please be aware of these precautions, changes and guidelines for using library spaces.

Users who fail to adhere to these practices will be asked to leave the building and may be subject to additional disciplinary measures as stated in the Use of Libraries policy or through the Student Code of Conduct.

  • VCU CARDHOLDERS ONLY: Access to library buildings is currently limited to VCU faculty, staff, and actively enrolled students; users may be asked to show their VCUCard or other approved university identification. Retired/emeritus VCU faculty are welcome to visit our libraries and should be prepared to show their VCUCard and answer daily health questions at the entrance. Researchers from VCU or other institutions who need access to Special Collections and Archives should schedule an appointment by contacting them at Members of Friends of VCU Libraries and registered alumni library patrons can use the front door pickup service to request items from our collections, or contact Antonia Vassar at for other needs.
  • FACE COVERINGS: Following university guidelines, expect stricter enforcement of VCU’s expectation to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth at all times in library buildings. Users who do not comply will be asked to present their VCU ID and will receive a written warning and reminder of the university’s rules about face coverings. VCU Libraries will maintain a record of users’ names who receive this warning. Users who refuse to provide the requested VCU ID will be required to immediately leave the building. Continued noncompliance may result in the suspension of access to library buildings and disciplinary action in accordance with university policy.
  • NO FOOD AND DRINK. Food and drink will not be permitted in VCU Libraries spaces, except for in Starbucks at Cabell Library. Sips of water are OK throughout the libraries, but face coverings must be put right back on. If you carry in food from home or a vendor, please eat at the Student Commons or its adjacent outdoor tent. You may also eat on the lawn or seating areas outside Shafer Court Dining Center or Cabell Library. The outdoor terrace on the Third Floor at Cabell will also be open for eating food; physical distancing must be maintained. 
  • PHYSICAL DISTANCING: Please remain at least six feet from others. 
  • WORK AT HOME:  Staying remote is one way to study safer and VCU Libraries provides vast resources — everything you need to study and learn from home
  • OCCUPANCY LIMITS:  Occupancy will be limited to promote physical distancing. Cabell will be limited to approximately 800 people total, and the Health Sciences Library will be limited to approximately 150 people. If a building reaches its capacity, a line will form outside the building with one patron allowed in as one exits. Given the reduced number of people on campus, VCU Libraries does not currently expect either building to reach these maximums.
  • CLEANING AND DISINFECTING: VCU Libraries has increased the cleaning and disinfection of restrooms and frequently touched objects and surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the building. Disinfectant wipes are provided as well. Please wipe down your work area (including study room tables) and public computer keyboards and mice before and after you use them.
  • CHANGES IN COLLECTIONS: In an abundance of caution, VCU Libraries has made some changes to its collection handling practices, some of which affect users. These new protocols include:
    • Newspapers and magazines are not available for use;
    • The Art Browsery on the Fourth Floor of Cabell is closed;.
    • Returned books and media will be quarantined for three to five days before circulating again.
    • Other changes in materials handling Study Safer
  • STUDY ROOMS: To accommodate physical distancing, study rooms will have limited capacity. The online reservation system will specify the maximum number of people allowed in the room. Users are expected to observe the restriction and maintain distance from others. Face coverings are required in study rooms. 
  • EVENTS AND PROGRAMMING: No large public events will be held in libraries buildings during the fall semester. Refer to the website to enjoy online exhibits and participate in Zoom workshops or free programs
  • STARBUCKS:  When visiting Starbucks at Cabell Library, follow distancing rules and keep your distance from others in line. Face coverings should remain on unless you are eating and drinking, and food and drink cannot be consumed in library areas outside of Starbucks.
  • WATER ONLY: Drinking fountains are not available. Water bottle refilling stations are available. Water is allowed in library buildings. Replace your mask after sipping. 
  • STUDY SOLO: Minimize your risk. Find a quiet place to study on your own and tap libraries’ resources online. Research guides can point you in the right direction. 
  • STAY HOME IF SICK: If you have a fever, symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days, you should stay home. Touch-free temperature scanning kiosks are located in both libraries to help you monitor your daily health."VCU Libraries offers robust online resources to assist you if you are working from your home or residence hall. Be well.  
  • ASK A STAFF MEMBER: If you have questions while in library buildings or while working remotely, reach out for help. We’re all in this together. 

We know these are extraordinary times, and we care about how changes in VCU Libraries operations affect you. If you’re unable to get your schoolwork or research done because of COVID-19-related changes, please email so we can look for a solution together.


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