Spring 2021 Library Spaces and Operations

Library staff working in the Rockefeller Library while observing health guidelines.

Welcome back!

Welcome back to your Brown University Library! We hope you enjoyed a safe, restful, and rejuvenating Winter Break.

From January 4 – 26, 2021, distant circulation will be available at the Rockefeller Library. Following the Quiet Period, seats for individual study will be available by reservation starting on January 27 at the Rock, SciLi, and John Hay Library. Reservations can be made up to one week in advance, beginning January 20.

During the Spring 2021 term, the Library will work to meet critical student and faculty needs in the same manner in which we operated during the Fall 2020 term. We are:

  • Opening space for individual student work on a reservation basis
  • Providing enhanced digital access to materials for courses and scholarship
  • Circulating physical materials on a pickup basis
  • Supporting education and research through remote consultation with the Library’s experts

These services are described in more detail below.  We will continue to adapt as circumstances change, and provide updates to the campus community accordingly.

Safety Is Everyone’s Priority

Operations are founded on the most up-to-date, reliable safety protocols to ensure a healthy environment for our patrons and staff. It is up to all of us to keep each other healthy and safe.

When you come to the Library, please:

  • Wear a mask over your mouth and nose at all times
  • Maintain social distance
  • Sit in your reserved seat only
  • Sanitize your study space when you arrive and before you leave 

Please follow all other Healthy Brown steps to keep yourself and our community well. If you aren’t feeling well, please make use of our robust slate of digital resources.

We extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to everyone for following these steps!

What You Need to Know

This list highlights important information, with links to additional details.


  • Select study spaces in the Rockefeller Library, Sciences Library, and John Hay Library are open on a reserved seating basis.
  • Orwig Music Library will be closed to users until further notice. Orwig materials will continue to be available by request.
  • The cafés in the Rock and SciLi are closed for health and safety reasons. You may bring a personal water bottle. We ask that no food is brought into the libraries unless medically necessary.


  • Library spaces open to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students on Wednesday, January 27
  • Hours vary by location. See Library Study Spaces below for details.

How do I reserve a seat?

  • To enter a library, students are asked to first make a reservation for a seat using LibCal.
  • Reservations can be made for two hour time slots with a half hour in between for self “Clean in / Clean out” with provided sanitizing wipes. Four hour reservations can be made in the Absolute Quiet Room and Foyer on Level A of the Rock.
  • Four-hour time slots can be reserved for designated areas at the Rock. 
  • Watch the LibCal video tutorial below.
  • Reservations can be made up to one week in advance.
  • Graduate and medical students may reserve carrels on a monthly basis. Alternating sides of each carrel will be used on different days of the week. To apply, fill out the Library Carrel Request for Graduate Students form.
  • To maximize the availability of limited library seating for students, we ask that faculty and staff continue making use of online services and pickup circulation and leave seats and carrels available for the students.


  • Requests for materials will continue to be made through Josiah, the online catalog, for general collections, and through Aeon for special collections materials.
  • All requested materials will be retrieved by staff for contactless pickup
  • For everyone’s safety, we ask that patrons do not enter the stacks. 
  • If materials are available digitally, they will be delivered to you via email.

Contactless Pickup

Based on current research, the Library will no longer be quarantining materials (with the exception of returned materials).

Materials requested for pickup will be placed in bags on carts for contactless pickup in bins arranged by last name in the Rockefeller Library lobby. You will be notified by email when the materials are available, usually within 24 hours. You may retrieve this material any time the Rock is open – no reservation required.

Please do not clean or disinfect library materials. It could damage the item(s) and is not necessary given the precautions Library staff are taking.


  • Library staff are standing by online to help students and faculty. Please use the Ask a Librarian service for questions and to get research support. You can also email [email protected] (general) and [email protected] (special collections) with questions.
  • Staff onsite will be primarily engaged in helping to keep our study spaces safe and healthy. They will not be providing in-person Library services.


Library Study Spaces



  • Monday – Thursday 12:30 – 10 p.m.
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 12:30 – 5 p.m.

Spaces with reserved seating available in 2 hour blocks:

  • Sorensen Family Reading Room (Level 1: Rooms 130, 130 A and B, 132)
  • Finn Reading Room (Level 1: Room 134)
  • Sidney E. Frank Digital Studio (Level 1: Room 155)
  • Window Seating (Level 1: Room 141A)
  • Landing Lounge (Level A: Room AS3)
  • Absolute Quiet Room Anteroom, between the AQR and restrooms (Level A: Room A17)
  • Table Seating adjacent to the Oversize Art Collection (Level A: Room A41)
  • Wernig Graduate Study Center (Level 2: Rooms 218 and 220) — Graduate and Medical students only
  • Corner Window Study Area (Level 2: Room 224)

Spaces with reserved seating available in 4 hour blocks:

  • Absolute Quiet Room
  • Lower Foyer (Level A: Rooms A07, A08)


Levels 3 and 4



  • Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.

Spaces with reserved seating available:

  • Friedman Study Center (Level A: Rooms A01, A01A and B, A04, A05, A08, A09, A18, A21, A24)
  • Mezzanine Level (Room 201)

Please note that upper Library floors will be closed to users until further notice.


The John Hay Library opens to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students January 27.  Visits by appointment through LibCal only.

  • Study in the Willis Reading Room (first floor) for a 2 hour block: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  
  • Research in the Gildor Family Special Collections Reading Room (first floor) for a 1 to 3 hour block: Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
  • Closed Saturday and Sunday

For study in the Special Collections Reading Room, please make a LibCal reservation and Aeon request. Reserve materials through Aeon one week (5 full business days) in advance of your appointment. Brown faculty may conduct research in the Special Collections Reading Room.


Orwig Music Library is currently closed. Orwig materials are available by request through Josiah.



The web-based LibCal reservation system will be available for reservations starting on January 20 for all students to reserve a seat for January 27. Reservations can be made up to one week in advance. 

Please make a reservation before going to a library. 

Please make only one reservation per day to allow for equitable access to the limited number of de-densified seats. Seat reservations are for two-hour blocks of time with a half hour in between.

Carrel reservations will be made on a monthly basis, using alternate sides of each carrel on different days of the week to ensure safe distancing.

Once you place a reservation, you will receive a confirmation email. When you go to the library for your confirmed time, please bring a printout of the confirmation or be able to show it on an electronic device. Queue up outside, maintaining six feet of space with others in line. A security staff member will check your reservation confirmation before you will be allowed to enter the building. 

We ask that patrons bring only a personal water bottle into Library buildings.


Graduate and medical students can make a reservation for a carrel using the Library Carrel Request for Graduate Students form. Reservations are for one month at a time. Carrel use will be on an alternating schedule to ensure safe distancing between carrels.


We ask that all patrons clean your designated area when you arrive and before you leave, using provided disinfectant wipes.


We ask that faculty and staff allow students only to reserve seating and carrels in the libraries. We will continue to provide digital delivery and distant circulation of materials for faculty and visiting scholars.

Faculty members with individual Faculty Studies will receive a Faculty Study Card via email. Please print the card, queue at the Rock, show the guard the card, and proceed to your study. You will need to bring the printout of this card with you each time you go to the Rock to access your study.


Graduate TA’s may also access a limited number of small study/collaboration rooms to conduct your online sections. Registration is required through 25Live. Please follow all safety protocols including Clean in / Clean out.


At this time, the only classes scheduled to be held in Library spaces will be on floors of the Sciences Library that are managed by other campus units. Students will be asked to identify themselves as members of the class upon entry to the building.

Library Materials and Services Requesting Library Materials


An array of research support is available to you.

While staff will not be available for in-person library assistance, Library experts are standing by online to help students and faculty. Staff onsite will be primarily engaged in helping to keep our study spaces safe and healthy. Please use the Ask a Librarian service for questions and to get research support. You can also email [email protected] (general) and [email protected] (special collections) with questions. 

Library Video Tutorials

There are a number of videos on the Library’s YouTube channel that provide information about how to use the Library, conduct various aspects of research, and more.

This Is Your Library

We look forward to welcoming you in person, without restriction, when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we are committed to providing the same standard of support and collaboration that is essential to the academic success of the Brown University community. We are doing all we can to make resources, materials, and expertise available to you. Please do not hesitate to make a connection with your Library. We are eager to support you and to be an integral part of your academic experience at Brown. You belong here. This is your Library.