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COVID-19: Updates on library services & operations

Visit this page regularly for updates on library service changes due to COVID-19.   

See also:  Get help from the Libraries for online teaching, learning and research
For students  |  For instructors  |  For researchers

Updated January 14, 2021

NEW! Some students cannot continue their academic programs without access to computer hardware and stable wifi because they don't have it at home. For this reason, we are providing essential resources within the regulations set out by the Government of Ontario. This includes very limited staff on-site – largely security and retrieval/Curbside Pickup staff – and significantly reduced seating for wifi and computer access for students who otherwise would not be able to complete their work. We are providing this access in compliance with public health guidelines. See full details of library health and safety information.


As of September 10, 2020, some Robarts Library and Gerstein Science Information Centre facilities and services were partially re-opened for University of Toronto current students, staff and faculty only.  However, due to the current COVID-19 situation, both library buildings were closed from January 4–10, 2021.

Library staff are available online to support remote research, teaching and learning. For availability at other UTL libraries, please visit their websites.

The following services are available as of Monday January 11, 2021.

  • Limited access to computers and wifi
  • Copy, print, scan
  • Robarts Library hours for 2020/2021
  • Starbucks is open for users with access to the building only 
  • Entrance/exit to Robarts is via the St. George Street-side 1st floor doors only
  • TCards are required to access Robarts and Gerstein: however, if you are a new student who has not yet obtained their TCard, please bring proof of registration – e.g. invoice, schedule – for now

While there is no in-person reference and research assistance this term, remote help services such as AskChat, virtual consultations, and email help is available.

Access to collections / Book returns & due dates

  • Curbside Pickup Service and HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service continue to be offered. Check the Curbside page for participating libraries, pickup locations, types of formats that can be borrowed, and instructions on what to do. This service is available to current U of T students, staff, and faculty.

  • Scan & Deliver Service for articles from print journals at Robarts, Gerstein, OISE, UTM, UTSC, East Asian, and Music libraries, as well as Downsview, is available as of October 21

  • Retrievals from libraries who are not offering a curbside service is not possible

  • No stacks access is available.

  • About loan periods:  All loans are extended to April 30, 2021, including Curbside Pickup Loans and Interlibrary Loan items. No late fines are being applied

  • Renewals are not applicable at this time

  • About book returns:  There is no need to return your books at this time: however, the following are options:

    • St George campus: Use the outside book return slot at Robarts Library

    • Gerstein book drops: Open for Gerstein books only

    • UTSC Library: Contact UTSC Library Help

    • UTM Library: Use the UTM book drop

  • Interlibrary Loan is in operation for electronic resources only

  • Special collection consults paused:  In-person special collections consultations for the Fisher Library, University of Toronto Archives, East Asian Library, and the Canada-Hong Kong Library, as well as in-person consultations at the Map and Data Library have been paused – Nov 21, 2020.

Access to technology

  • Limited seating is available in Robarts Library for students to have essential access to technology, including desktop computers and robust WiFi and internet connection. The amount of seating has been reduced from what was available in the Fall 2020 term.

  • Group study rooms are not available

  • The RemoteLab service provides off-campus access to the specialized software on student computers in the Computer Access Facilities at Robarts Library

  • For UTSC students, access to the Bladen Wing labs and study space is available through the ARC Quad entrance. Space is limited

See also:   Library health & safety information |  Latest updates on COVID-19 and the University of Toronto ‘s response