University Library continues to supply Iowa State with resources


Even though the physical locations of the University Library are closed, a wealth of knowledge is still available for the Iowa State community to access.

Logan Metzger

Though all of the University Library’s facilities are currently closed, the staff is still doing a lot to provide for Iowa State’s community.

Like the rest of Iowa State’s campus, all libraries will be closed until further notice. This includes Parks Library, the College of Veterinary Medicine Library and the Design Reading Room. Even though these buildings are closed, it does not mean people cannot access the wealth of knowledge and resources the University Library provides. 

For those who have questions

For immediate or general questions, the library’s staff has multiple options for the Iowa State community.

To support any off-campus needs, the library’s “Ask Us! Live Chat” hours are now from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Whether someone has a general question or needs help with research, the live chat allows librarians to assist as soon as possible.

“Comparing the first week of March 2020 with the first week of April 2020, we saw a 256 percent increase in chats,” said Nacuya Rucker, external relations director for the University Library. “Whether you have a general question or need help with research, our chat service is a quick way to get connected with an expert librarian.”

Another feature that exists for people who have questions is “find your librarian.” With more than 30 librarians, the University Library has experts in every discipline available at Iowa State that are ready to assist people with their information needs.

“A lot of students don’t know that they have their very own librarian,” Rucker said. “That’s right, there’s a librarian who is knowledgeable about their area of study.”

If students need help with a research project, locating a database or finding notable sources for a paper, their librarian can help. Rucker said the librarians usually hold in-person meetings with students and faculty, but now they’ve gone virtual. 

24/7 remote access to resources

Though the buildings are closed, the library’s electronic resources are still readily available to Iowa State students, faculty and staff regardless of location.

To help the Iowa State community with accessing materials digitally, the staff has created “Distance Learning Library Support,” which is a guide that provides information about accessing library databases and collections remotely.

“Our goal is to provide you with Library resources and services when you need them, regardless of your location,” according to the University Library website. “Most of our article indexes and databases can be accessed remotely.” 

The library has more than 400 research databases ranging from encyclopedias and newspapers to e-book collections and dissertations that can all be accessed by Iowa State faculty, staff and students through the University Library website. The list can be filtered down by subject area and database type.

To help people beyond just databases, librarians have created an extensive collection of research guides to support student learning and faculty research. The guides fall into two main categories: guides for general disciplinary support and guides that support specific classes.

“Our librarians have created nearly 300 guides to assist the coursework and research endeavors of the campus community, and they offer expertise in all Iowa State University subject areas,” according to the University Library website. “There is even a guide to support distance learning.”

Though it may not be “24/7 remote access” Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is still operational at this time. 

Here’s a rundown of what can and can’t be ordered according to the University Library website:


  • Yes, but ILL is no longer borrowing physical items, as many libraries are closed or unable to lend them.

“We are trying to borrow e-books when possible, otherwise, requests for physical items may be delayed or canceled,” according to the University Library website. “If you are a faculty member and need a physical item to support your class, please email [email protected].”

Book Chapters:

  • Yes, both from Iowa State libraries and from other libraries. 


  • Yes, both from Iowa State libraries and from other libraries.

Multimedia, such as DVD or microfiche:

  • No, as many libraries are closed or unable to lend.

If someone has received a notice that an ILL item has arrived and they wish to have it mailed to them, they should email [email protected].

ILL books with due dates coming up do not need to be returned at this time. People may renew them if they want to, but the library is suspending overdue notices and fines, as are the libraries they have borrowed from. Once ILL operations are running normally, the library will ask for items to be returned.