COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

General Information and Hours

The Libraries supports the Mason community through a variety of in-person and virtual offerings, with extensive electronic resources, including virtual workshops, instruction sessions, research consultations, and virtual reference service. As with the rest of the university, the Libraries has adjusted to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and services may change at any time as needed.

Library Facilities

Access: Check Mason's current Face Covering Level to determine if a mask is required for your visit. Signage is posted to indicate the university's Safe Return to Campus guidelines, and those who do not adhere to the university's policies and guidelines may be asked to leave and may be subject to disciplinary action. Visitors to the Libraries should be prepared to show the results of their daily COVID health check.

Stacks: The stacks are currently open for in-person browsing, though patrons are still welcome to utilize our online request system if they prefer. Circulation requests may be made via your Library Account. If you encounter difficulty placing your request, please email fencirc@gmu.edu.

Study Spaces and Computers: To promote physical distancing and follow university guidelines, some tables, carrels, workstations, and chairs may be removed or marked out-of-use in each library as conditions warrant, and building capacity may be limited. We continue to offer individual study rooms for use by reservation, and some group study rooms are open for reservation as well. For those who prefer a distanced space, please visit Fenwick Library's 5th floor study space which has been designated for this purpose.

Furniture: The furniture in each library location may be moved or spaced to allow for appropriate distancing as conditions warrant. We ask that you not move or rearrange the furniture.

Food and Drink: No food and beverages are allowed in library locations, with the exception of water in a closed container. Please help us maintain clean and safe spaces by not bringing in food or drink. Face coverings should be worn at all times, unless actively drinking.

Current Status Information

The Libraries will follow university and state guidelines. FAQs will be updated as plans are developed. Responses are based on Mason’s Safe Return plan and current information. Responses and available services are subject to change.

Check our hours page for the most up-to-date information, holidays, and exceptions for each library location (Fenwick, Arlington, and Mercer) before coming to campus.

 

Note: Hours subject to change, as conditions warrant.

Argo Tea is currently closed. For retail dining location updates, hours, and safety protocols, visit the dining facilities page of Mason's Safe Return to Campus site.

Spaces and Safety

Mason Libraries are open to Mason students, faculty and staff, and community members.

As of Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the Libraries once again welcomes Passport Program participants and other community members to resume in-person visits to library facilities.

Users who do not adhere to the university's polices and guidelines may be asked to leave and may be subject to disciplinary action. Signs are posted to indicate the university's Safe Return to Campus guidelines and other protocols.

Check Mason's current Face Covering Level to determine if a mask is required for your visit. See Mason's Face Coverings guidelines and current status here.

The university can provide face coverings to employees and students if they need one.

  • Students can go to the Student Involvement Office in the HUB, Suite 2300, or to the Information Desk in SUB 1 to get a mask.
  • Employees should contact Environmental Health and Safety to request a face covering.
  • Masks are also available for purchase in Mason Bookstores and in vending machines on campus.

See face covering guidelines here.

Yes. As of September 7, 2021, our Passport Program has restarted, and participants are welcome to resume in-person visits to the Libraries.

The stacks in Fenwick Library, Arlington Campus Library, and Mercer Library are currently open for in-person browsing. If you prefer, you may submit borrowing requests via your Library Account and have the item retrieved for you. If you have difficulty placing your request, please email fencirc@gmu.edu. Requests for access to some collections (such as the Special Collections Research Center) may have alternate access guidelines.

Check our website for Hours and Operational Status before visiting a Libraries location.

Single-occupancy and group study rooms are available for reservation.

To allow for appropriate distancing and safety protocols, the Reservable Graduate Writing Spaces program is currently suspended in Fenwick Library. The study carrels on the fifth floor of Fenwick have been designated for those who prefer a distanced study space and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Study rooms remain available for short-term reservation.

Dissertation Writing Rooms are available in the Arlington Campus Library - interested applicants must fill out a request form.

Maintaining clean and safe spaces is a priority - please do your part to help: No food and beverages are allowed in any library location, with the exception of water in a closed container.

Check Mason's current Face Covering Level to determine if a face covering is required for your visit.

Enhanced cleaning protocols have been put in place across the university. The protocols and cleaning schedule for campus buildings, including library locations, are available on the Safe Return to Campus website.

Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are available in each library. Patrons are encouraged to use the sanitizing wipes to clean table surfaces before and after use.

Circulation and Returns

Our library locations are currently open, and you are welcome to browse the stacks in-person and check out books.

If you prefer, you may continue to utilize our request system and have items retrieved for you. To checkout a book or other physical item:

  • Use the library catalog to locate the item.
  • Login to your library account to place your request.
  • Library staff will pull the item, and you will receive an email when the item is ready to be picked up at the Information Desk or other designated area.
  • If you encounter difficulty placing your request, email fencirc@gmu.edu for assistance.

Subject to staff availability and copyright limitations, we will scan journal articles, book chapters, microforms, etc., from the Libraries’ collection and send them electronically to students and faculty as requested. Please log-in to ILLiad to place any requests for physical items, chapters, articles, and scans. Check out our Media guide for multimedia materials.

To ensure accessibility for both our on-campus and online learners, Course Reserves has shifted to an electronic-first service that now operates on the Leganto platform. Faculty may request materials and organize their reading lists via Leganto. All scanning services are subject to copyright limitations. Copyright permission will be sought where feasible in cases where the excerpt falls outside of fair use guidelines. Please contact ereserve@gmu.edu with any questions or concerns.

After pausing our TextSelect program for the 2021-21 academic year, we have resumed services for 2021-22 on a reduced basis.

Currently, visitors may access the Fenwick Library stacks, including the physical Government Documents collection.

Visit our U.S. Government InfoGuide for resources on finding items available electronically or e-mail Kim MacVaugh, Policy and Government Librarian, with questions.

Returns may be made at any library location during our posted hours, or at our external book drops at any time:

*The Fenwick Library exterior, drive-up drop box is located behind the library (building #22 on the campus map), on Chesapeake River Lane off of Patriot Circle. The drop box is in a turn-around area past the One Stop Shop in Blue Ridge Hall (4599 Chesapeake River Ln) and near the Dunkin' Donuts in Tidewater Hall.

 

If you are unable to visit us one of our locations, items can be mailed to the following address:

Access Services
Fenwick Library
4400 University Drive, MSN 2FL
Fairfax, VA 22030

 

If you have a concern about your library account, please contact fencirc@gmu.edu for assistance.

Interlibrary Loan is able to request physical books, periodicals, newspapers as well as scans of articles, chapters, and sections. In some instances, we can request e-books but please note that not all libraries are able to share e-books at this time.

To place a request, please fill out the Interlibrary Loan request form. If you have a desired format, please indicate so in the request form. Electronic materials will be delivered to patrons’ ILLiad accounts.

The Interlibrary Loan Department will pursue all options in an attempt to secure requested materials. If there are any issues with a request, we will contact you to explore access options. We appreciate your consideration if our fulfillment service is delayed as a result.

Faculty, students, and staff are encouraged to contact the ILL/Document Delivery department at illloan@gmu.edu with questions or concerns.

On-site access privileges at WRLC institutions varies by institution. Please check the WRLC Library Status page for updates. If you need an item from one of these locations, please explore our interlibrary loan options.

Due Dates and Fines

If you are unable to return your items or if you have any questions about your account, due dates, or potential fines, please contact fencirc@gmu.edu.

Questions about your library account, including any preexisting fines or fees, should be directed to fencirc@gmu.edu.

Electronic Resources and Technology

You can access your library account and other resources with your Mason NetID and password. For more information, visit our Off-Campus Access Guide.

Explore the Libraries A-Z Database List to find journals, newspapers, books, music, media and more. Also, try the Mason Libraries Search (e-Books, articles, etc.) or the Mason Libraries e-Books guide. Have more questions or can't find something? Ask a Librarian.

 

Consult the DiSC calendar for current operating hours, procedures, and in-person options. If you are concerned about using the lab in-person, or are unable to visit campus, there are many virtual options. Contact datahelp@gmu.edu for assistance or visit https://dsc.gmu.edu/virtual for more information.

The Libraries has a small number of public computer stations available on site. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to bring a personal computer/device to ensure access.   

The Libraries does not have a laptop lending program at this time.

Faculty and Instruction

Both asynchronous and synchronous online instruction is available. Face-to-face instruction is at the discretion of individual librarian-faculty partnerships.

You can request instruction at https://library.gmu.edu/instruction/request.

Note for SCRC: If you are interested in Special Collections Research Center instruction options, please contact Brittney Falter instead of using the form above.

Note for DiSC: If you are interested in Digital Scholarship Center instruction options, please contact datahelp@gmu.edu instead of using the form above.

To ensure accessibility for both our on-campus and online learners, Course Reserves has shifted to an electronic-first service that now operates on the Leganto platform. Faculty may request materials and organize their reading lists via Leganto. All scanning services are subject to copyright limitations. Copyright permission will be sought where feasible in cases where the excerpt falls outside of fair use guidelines. Please contact ereserve@gmu.edu with any questions or concerns.

Find OERs from a number of sources using the Mason OER Metafinder tool. For additional information on OERs, check out the Libraries' OER overview.

We have a robust website with on-demand video and static tutorials ready for you to embed or use in your Blackboard courses. If you don't find what you are looking for or would like to request a new tutorial, send an e-mail to delib@gmu.edu.

Yes! We have a variety of modules on different research concepts and for different levels of study ready to go. Many of our subject librarians are also trained in using Blackboard and can work within your course to create new material. You can find your subject librarian and their contact information on our Subject Librarians page.

For the most part, yes! Certain exceptions apply, especially with the use of media (films/TV shows/etc.). Please see additional information at our Copyright Guide for Online Classes.

Records Management

Due to staffing and space shortages, please note the following updates for George Mason University Records Management. 

  • University Records Management is temporarily suspending consultation and records storage services. 
  • All University Records Management education courses are migrating to MasonLEAPS, as of December 2021. Please direct questions about the Records Coordinator or Infolinx training to recmgt@gmu.edu.
  • The following services are still available: 
  • Loan Requests
  • Processing Certificates of Records Destruction (RM3s)
  • Records Retention & Records Management Policy Inquiries
  • Intake & Disposition of Non-Records
  • Archive Box Delivery
  • Tote Delivery & Disposition of Records & Non-Records (Note: Users must complete Infolinx User Training for records appraisal/shredding requirements.)

Please visit the Records Management site for more information or e-mail recmgt@gmu.edu with any questions.

Reference Services and Research Consultations

Contact your subject librarian to request a research consultation or schedule an appointment. Virtual or in-person meetings may be determined at the discretion of the parties involved.

DiSC is available to assist Mason community members in-person and virtually. Visit Virtual DiSC to find out more about online consultations, software access, and more. Currently:

  • Please consult our calendar for the current hours. If you are concerned about visiting the lab in-person, there are many virtual options. Contact us at datahelp@gmu.edu and we will work with you to provide you with options.
  • DiSC staff will be available to visit your class virtually and may also offer in-person instruction depending on availability and staff preferences. Please email datahelp@gmu.edu describing your needs and we will make arrangements.
  • All DiSC workshops will be available virtually. Visit the workshop schedule to find out more.
  • DiSC staff will be available for virtual and in-person consultations. Consult our scheduling page to make an appointment.

SCRC offers a mix of in-person and virtual options for researchers.

CURRENT STATUS: SCRC is offering appointment-only hours for in-person visits. Please contact speccoll@gmu.edu to request an appointment time. Walk-in hours are currently on pause.

Appointments must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. To make an appointment to visit SCRC, please contact speccoll@gmu.edu.

Reading Room capacity may be limited to allow for adequate spacing. Check Mason's current Face Covering Level to determine if a mask is required for your visit.

SCRC staff are available to assist with off-site reference support via e-mail at speccoll@gmu.edu.

If you are interested in SCRC instruction for your classes, please contact Brittney Falter with questions about instruction options. SCRC staff will work with Mason faculty to assist in virtual instruction when possible for your classes.

Note: All policies are subject to change, as conditions warrant.

SP@RC is open to assist Mason community members through both virtual and in-person consultations and workshops. Consult the SP@RC website for current hours. In addition to synchronous in-class or online poster design workshops, SP@RC can provide and support a research poster design Blackboard module to be embedded in your course. For consultation requests, poster printing, or One Button Studio access, please email sparc@gmu.edu.

Note: Hours and policies subject to change, as conditions warrant.

University Dissertation & Thesis Services

UDTS can be reached via email at udts@gmu.edu. For more information, visit the UDTS website.

Yes. Please email UDTS Coordinator Sally Evans at udts@gmu.edu to set up a virtual/online appointment through your preferred platform (e.g. Skype, Webex, Zoom, etc.).

When your document is ready for the Format Review, please email it to UDTS Coordinator Sally Evans at udts@gmu.edu. She will respond with any changes you may need to make.

The Format Review and Final Submission deadlines are posted on the UDTS website.

Please contact UDTS Coordinator Sally Evans at udts@gmu.edu, and she will provide further information for submitting your materials electronically.

First, please check with your college/school/department to see if there are any existing protocols regarding the collection of electronic signatures from Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, etc. There may be internal procedures that can assist you.

UDTS will accept digital/electronic signatures as long as they look like actual signatures, as opposed to a box stating something to the effect of "I certify that I agree" or something similar.

The sign-scan-send (s-s-s) will also work, with this caveat: Signature Sheets can almost always withstand 1 round of s-s-s without issue. The second round may be fine, but after that, the chances that the Signature Sheet will warp and/or become "dirty" increase dramatically. Please use your judgment, and please be aware that UDTS will not accept a messy/unreadable signed Signature Sheet. S-s-s is usually fine for Embargo Request Forms, as only 2 people (at the most) will sign them. But, again, please use your judgment.

If you have any questions, please contact UDTS Coordinator Sally Evans at udts@gmu.edu.

Workshops and Events

Check our calendar and our news blog to find out what events are taking place.

Check out our workshop calendar to see what workshops and instruction sessions are currently being offered and in what venue.