Library Services Update

As Boston College has moved entirely to online instruction for the remainder of the semester, the University Libraries are providing support to students and faculty in myriad ways.

Update 3/18/20: As of 5pm today, all Boston College Libraries will be closed until further notice. We will maintain a full suite of digital content and services. Periodic retrievals of print materials as per patron requests. Please see the BC Libraries Service Updates page for current information about and links to services.

As Boston College has moved entirely to online instruction for the remainder of the semester, the University Libraries are providing support to students and faculty in myriad ways.  For the most up-to-date information on hours and services, see this guide. Here are the key points:

Online Course Materials
The Libraries will continue all online course materials services. While already extensive, additional online and streaming materials will be purchased as required to meet needs and will be made available as soon as possible. 

Subject Liaisons Offering Heightened Online Consultation
In addition to our general reference services, our subject specialist liaisons are available to provide whatever assistance they can to students and faculty.  These services range from quick reference questions to extensive online consultations, but also just help in navigating information and services.

Print Materials for Coursework and Research
We will scan entire books when needed for research or instruction (discussions in the library community support this emergency-related copyright exception). Requests for scanning entire books will be processed in weekly increments. To facilitate this process, we ask that faculty submit their requests broken down by chapter and date needed. Please note that we cannot promise timely fulfillment for this service if demand for it increases dramatically. The first choice would be for faculty to find alternative online resources.

Burns Library Special Collections
We will work with faculty/students on individual bases to provide scans of historical/primary sources needed for instruction or research. Please place requests through

Extended Loan Periods
Loan periods for library owned materials will be extended to Sept. 1.  Similarly, fines for most materials will be waived until Sept. 1, 2020. Exceptions include materials in Course Reserves and items not owned by the Libraries, such as materials obtained through Interlibrary Loan. For questions about items in Course Reserves, please contact Course Reserves at or at 617-552-2297. For questions about items obtained through Interlibrary Loan, please contact  Interlibrary Loan at or 617-552-3209.

Returning Materials
For questions about mailing materials, please visit the Contact Us library webpage; or contact us at or 617-552-8038.

Interlibrary Loan Services
At the current time, Interlibrary Loan services are fully operational. Timelines for interlibrary loan requests may be affected by the availability of interlibrary loan services at other institutions. To access your interlibrary loan account, please visit the interlibrary loan webpage. If you need assistance, please contact us at or at 617-552-3209

Expanded Chat Reference Services
We have increased staffing for our Ask-A-Librarian Services, including 24/7 online chat and email reference.

The Physical Libraries
BC Libraries are closed until further notice. Please check the Libraries Update Services Update for current policies & services.

Manage Your Own Image Collections with JSTOR Forum

Boston College Libraries welcomes faculty to create image collections in Artstor with the help of the newly available JSTORForum tool. The Libraries have added their first digitized collection in the Forum, Japanese Prints Collection 1765-1964, from original prints held in Burns Library.

Katsushika, Hokusai, 1760-1849. circa 1830-1831. Dawn at Isawa in Kai Province from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, woodblock print, ink and color on paper. Prints. Place: John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

For over a decade Boston College has been subscribing to Artstor, a digital repository of images, designed to assist academic institutions in their teaching and research through the use of digital images and media. The Artstor Digital Library now provides access to more than 2.4 million curated images from reliable sources that have been rights-cleared for use in education and research. Images can be used in classroom instruction and handouts, presentations, student assignments, and other noncommercial educational and scholarly activities.

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African American Social Welfare Pioneers Exhibit in the Social Work Library

In celebration of Social Work Month, the Social Work library is displaying an exhibit called “Lifting As We Climb: African American Social Welfare Pioneers of the Progressive Era” through the end of March. Coordinated by Abby Heingartner, Social Work Library Supervisor, the exhibit is based on the book “African American Leadership: An Empowerment Tradition in Social Welfare History” edited by Iris B. Carlton-LaNey, and it includes profiles of 14 individuals.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, journalist and civil rights leader, in 1893 – from Wikimedia Commons.
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Where’s My Book?

There are two major shifting projects at O’Neill library that may impact how you locate items in the stacks on levels 4 and 5. Staff is hard at work making room for more items in the collection and for study spaces on level 5.

If you’ve been on O’Neill Library’s 4th or 5th floors lately, you might have noticed a few things out of place. Or a few thousand things.

An O’Neill Library staff member shifting books, as seen through empty rows of shelves on O’Neill level 5.

Can’t find a book? Until the shifting projects are finished later this year, follow the temporary call number ranges on the ends of the shelving units. (Also note: for now, the usually helpful shelf number provided by the catalog’s “locate” function may be inaccurate.)

Staff at O’Neill Library are working on two major projects to shift books in the collection, both to open space on the fifth floor for study areas, and to reduce the density of books to allow for more acquisitions. The empty ranges of shelves are temporary. On the fourth floor a dozen paces from the stairwell, the empty shelves mark one front in the library’s battle against overcrowding. The project on that floor has paused for several months to allow work on a more pressing front: space on the fifth floor needs to be cleared in time for construction crews arriving after this semester’s exam period.

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Photo Exhibit Captures the Middle Class Trap

The photo exhibit “Trapped in the Middle” illustrates the impact of growing wealth disparities on the middle class. It’s on display until the end of February in the Social Work Library and through March in the O’Neill Library reading room.

On display until the end of February in the Social Work Library and through March in the O’Neill Library reading room, the photo exhibit “Trapped in the Middle: The Effect of Income Inequality on the Middle Class in America” illustrates the impact of growing wealth disparities on the people we rarely expect to be struggling: the middle class.

 Photo of a man using measuring tape on ceiling while a woman watches from below. The room is under construction.
Image of a family reconstructing a house in Julian Fisher’s Trapped in the Middle exhibit
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