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Coronavirus and the URI Libraries

A guide to the outbreak and its impact on library services

Here is a basic primer to library services on all three campuses, focusing on alterations in services in reaction to COVID-19. As always, we will do our best to support URI students, faculty, and staff during this challenging time. Please contact us if you experience any difficulties as you work or research.

Have suggestions or comments on services during the crisis? We want to hear from you!

Immediately, all student materials have had their due dates extended to 31 July 2020. Faculty and staff due dates have been extended to 11 September. If you have questions, contact Circulation at (401) 874-2672 or

All branches of the Libraries will be open to URI students, faculty, and staff, starting Monday 8/31. Unfortunately, the general public, including alumni, will not be able to use the collections during the Fall semester.

Are the University Libraries Open?

Effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020 all URI Libraries branches will be closed to the public, although services will still be available (see below for details). Should you have additional questions regarding the use of the library, please visit the libraries' website for contact information, changes to hours of operation, and resources available. Statement from the Dean of the Libraries

The current hours of operation are:

The Robert L. Carothers Library & Learning Commons (Kingston)

  • Sunday  -- CLOSED
  • Monday - Friday -- 8:00am to 4:30pm
  • Saturday -- CLOSED

The Feinstein Providence Campus Library (Providence) More information

  • Sunday  -- CLOSED
  • Monday - Friday -- 10:00am to 4:30pm
  • Saturday -- CLOSED

The Pell Marine Science Library (Narragansett) More information

  • Sunday  -- CLOSED
  • Monday - Friday -- 9:00am to 4:30pm
  • Saturday -- CLOSED

Individual offices and resources may not be open. See the complete Hours page for more details.

Distinctive Collections must be contacted by email.

Digital Collections are completely accessible.

Service Availability

URI Libraries Services Currently Available

  • Reference Services (see Box 1 below)
  • Instructional Services (see Box 5 below)
  • “Lobby-based” checkout and pick up of print materials, dvds, and technology at all branchest (see Box 3 below)
  • ILL at all branches -- ongoing
  • Ebook purchasing  and cataloging -- ongoing
  • Providing special free access to online collections -- ongoing
  • Scanning material -- limited access on request
  • Physical access to stacks by appointment -- for Faculty, Research Staff, and Graduate Students

All branches will physically reopen on 8/31

1. Research Help

The Kingston Information and Research Help Desk is closed until August 31.

You can still email us at Please allow 1 business day for an email response.

2. Finding Articles, Journals, and Magazines

Almost all of the Libraries’ holdings of journals and magazines published since 2000 - and many before that date - can be accessed online using the search tools in the Articles & Databases link on the Libraries' website, and using the URI Libraries Search to look for specific periodicals or articles.

If you use Google Scholar, see the instructions for connecting Google Scholar to the URI Libraries.

3. Books and other Physical Items

Books on all three campuses must be picked up at the library; there is no remote access to books, although we have been increasingly purchasing ebooks, which are available as normal. Materials that are near their return dates can be renewed online through the My Library Account link on the Libraries home page. More on renewingWe no longer charge overdue fines on most materials, and we will work with students in the unusual time to return materials when it is less problematic.Call the Kingston Circulation Desk (401) 874-2672 for more information.

If you would like to request a book for purchase, we will do our best to order it. We will get ebooks wherever possible. Please use your URI email; this service will not be available to alumni or Rhode Island Resident Card holders.

Lobby Service for picking up books

  1. Call or email the branch you plan to visit.
    1. Kingston - 401-874-2672 or
    2. Pell - 401-874-6161 or
    3. Providence - 401-277-5130 or
  2. Give the names and call numbers of the books you're requesting, the barcode number at the bottom of your university ID, and a phone number at which you can be reached.
  3. Allow a minimum of 2 hours for processing.
  4. Arrive at the front door of the branch - be prepared to call again if necessary. You must wear a mask.
  5. A staff member will bring the materials out to you.  Those materials will already be checked out to you.  Please respect the staff member's space during the transaction.
  6. The majority of our items will automatically renew for an additional time period.  If you checked out an item that does not automatically renew, such as a Reserves book, please call Circulation and they will renew it for you.

Physical Access to the Stacks -- for Faculty, Research Staff, and Graduate Students

Initially, this service is only offered to URI faculty and research staff. Students, including grad students, will not be able to use the service at this time. For the initial period, visits will be limited to Tuesday through Friday. Note that this is only to allow browsing in the stacks. Please do not come for long term reading, using computers, etc.
  1. Call Circulation (401) 874 2672 and schedule a 90 minute block. We will be using the traditional Tuesday/Thursday class slots (8-9:30am, 9:30-11am, etc). As only 5 people will be allowed in during any one block, calling at least a day in advance is advised.
  2. You will need to identify where you plan to spend most of the time (ie, Serials Stacks, 3rd Floor stacks).
  3. Show up at the entrance identified (usually the regular entrance) and call Circulation to be admitted.
  4. You must bring and wear a face mask and respect social distancing at all times while inside. The Library may be able to provide gloves.
  5. A small number of tables and restrooms will be available for your use. Do not use other spaces. One computer per floor will be identified for using the catalog.
  6. If you wish to extend your time, contact the circulation desk (preferably by phone) and request additional time. If there is space free, this will be granted.
  7. If you wish to check out material, you will do so at the Circulation desk, respecting "no contact" process.
  8. Photocopying will not be available. Articles can be scanned and sent by bringing materials to Circulation.
  9. When finished, alert Circulation to be escorted out.

This procedure will be revised and adapted as we work out details and problems. Thank you for your help in keeping everyone safe.

4. Access from Off-Campus

If you connect to resources via the Libraries home page, you will automatically be connected to materials via our proxy server, which authenticates you as a URI student, faculty, or staff member. See for more information. 

If a paywalled online information resource is set up to work with URI's proxy server, you can add before the URL to gain access, for example

5. Information Literacy Instruction for Online Classes

If your class could benefit from a librarian-led information literacy session, we can deliver sessions remotely. Contact Prof. Mary MacDonald, Information Literacy Librarian, at for more information.

Group Study Room -- replacement options

We know that students value the group study rooms as a place to interact with fellow students. Out of concern for student safety, we obviously cannot allow you to use the rooms at this time. However, there are online alternatives. Your campus Gmail accounts have Meet as an option -- video conferencing software for small groups. Additionally, the University offers access to Microsoft 365 which invludes both WebEx and Microsoft Teams, both of which help with distance collaboration for small and larger groups.

The Library does not directly support these tools, so, if you have questions about their use, please contact the ITS Support Desk at (401) 874-HELP or

Click on the black arrow to open the chat in a new window.

If we're not online, please email us at Please allow 1 business day for a response.

We will be adding to this page frequently as the situation changes, and as we develop better systems for providing you access to the materials you need for your research and studies. If you have suggestions, feel free to email us directly at

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.