Welcome Back to Burns Library

It’s the start of a new semester here at Boston College. And while this semester will certainly be different then past fall semesters, we’re still excited to work with students, faculty, and the wider public in our reading room and in instruction sessions.

While our reading room has been open to researchers with appointments since June, we’re expanding our hours as the new semester begins.

Our reading room will be open Wednesday-Fridays from 9:30am-1:00pm and from 2:00pm-4:30pm. We’ll be closed from 1:00pm-2:00pm each day to sanitize tables and allow for staff lunch breaks.


Our socially distanced reading room has been our research space since we re-opened in June

For Boston College ID Holders

While you do not need an appointment prior to coming to the reading room, we highly encourage you to make one to secure a seat. Our reading room will have 4 seats available each morning and afternoon. Two of those are reserved for researchers with appointments, and two seats will be available for walk-ins.

Our front door will be locked to minimize foot traffic throughout the building. When you arrive, just call the number posted on the sign to be let in. Alternatively, if you enter through the Bapst side of the building, the door between Burns and Bapst will be closed but unlocked. You are welcome to enter to use the reading room.

For Guest Researchers:


Our door may be closed to passer-bys, but we’ll happily allow researchers to come on in!

All researchers unaffiliated with Boston College (i.e. without a current Boston College ID) are welcome to use our reading room but will need to make an appointment at least 24 hours prior to their preferred research time. You will not be granted access to the library without an appointment. Please do not travel to the library if you have not had your appointment confirmed via email from us.

Shortly before your scheduled visit, we will also ask you to confirm you are feeling well, are not exhibiting any symptoms associated with COVID-19, have observed Massachusetts state guidelines on travel and self quarantining, and do not believe you pose a health risk to others. Your appointment is not confirmed until you respond to this inquiry and we send you a confirmation email.

Our front door will be locked to minimize foot traffic throughout the building. When you arrive, just call the number posted on the sign to be let in.

How to make an appointment:

Searching the library catalog will let you find materials that you want to see for your visit.

As you identify what you would like to see, click the blue “Schedule Visit to Burns Library” link.

Appointments and requests for materials are completed through the Burns Library online request management system. When prompted to sign-in, use the “login or register” boxes to open or create your account.

Once you’ve reviewed our registration policies and completed the registration form, you’ll return to the request form.

To complete the form:

  • For published material: Review item information and add details on the specific volume or copy you wish to see (if needed)
  • For archival material: Review collection information and add the boxes you want to see in the Box field.
    • Materials are viewed at a box level, so you only need to list each box once
    • Refer to the finding aid in order to identify the boxes you would like to see in the reading room (found at the end of the catalog record under Links). For digital material, enter the Digital Content number from the finding aid in place of box number.
  • Use the Special Requests/Questions field to indicate whether you would like a morning (9:30am-12:30pm), an afternoon (1:30pm-4:30pm) appointment, or both. If needed, include any questions or accommodations needed for your visit.
  • Schedule the date you would like to visit the reading room at the end of the request form, and press submit.

You may place requests for as many materials as you’d like, but will be restricted to using 1 box or up to 3 volumes at a time. Please indicate your priority requests in the Special Requests field.

Staff will contact you about your appointment date/time and materials. Guest Researchers: Your appointment will not be confirmed until we have received a positive response to the Health Status email the day before your appointment.

The reading room staff will have the materials ready for your visit. You’ll simply need to show a school or government-issued ID and take a photograph to finish your registration process. You will not be asked to remove your mask for this photograph

No public computers are available. Please plan on bringing your own laptop or tablet

To see our complete safety procedures during your visit, see our website. If you have any questions, let our reference staff know. We look forward to seeing you in our reading room!


–Kathleen Monahan, Reference, Instruction & Digital Services Librarian, Burns Library

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