Here For You: Burns Library, Fall 2021

Welcome back, Boston College! While we saw many of you (masked!) last year, we’re excited to see even more students, faculty, staff and members of the wider community in our classrooms and Reading Room. As we embrace BC Forward, here’s an update on what’s changed- and what safety protocols are still in place- in our reading room.


With the start of a new semester, we’ll be expanding our reading room hours. Beginning today, August 30, 2021, our fall semester hours will be:

  • Monday 1pm-5pm
  • Tuesday-Friday 9:30am-5pm

There may be occasional changes to our hours, based on building construction (see below) and space and staff needs for BC classes, so check for up to date information.

Exterior of Burns Library, with two sections of scaffolding and a construction sign to the right of the front door

Our building is having a minor facelift, so book an appointment to check that your book wasn’t in one of the scaffolded areas before you arrive!

Appointments and Safety Guidelines

As classes resume, Boston College students, faculty and staff will not be required to make appointments, though we still highly encourage you to do so. Guest researchers are still required to make an appointment one business day in advance.

Sign reading "Please Wear A Mask Unless You are Fully Vaccinated." Smaller text underneath reads "The Massachusetts Department of Public Health lifted the mask mandate on May 29th. However, visitors who are not fully vaccinated are still required to wear a mask on campus when physical distancing cannot be maintained."

Signs around our building will remind you of our safety procedures. If you prefer to wear a mask while vaccinated, please feel welcome to!

With reduced seating, many materials offsite, and others currently unavailable with the on-going construction, scheduling your visit in advance is the best way we can make sure you aren’t wasting a trip—even if the trip is only from the dorms down the street!

Burns Library follows Boston College’s policies in regards to masks. As of the time of writing, anyone who is not fully vaccinated must wear a mask while researching in Burns Library. We strongly encourage you to be fully vaccinated before visiting Burns Library for research. We encourage all researchers to follow the CDC recommendation that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask while indoors in a public setting. As policies evolve, check the confirmation email for your appointment for our most up to date safety information.

With the current construction around our building, some doors may be temporarily inaccessible. Check your appointment confirmation email for the best way to access our reading room for your visit.

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- 1:30 pm), an afternoon (1:30pm-5:00pm) 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 to confirm your appointment date and time, give you the latest access and safety information, and let you know if any materials are currently unavailable due to construction.

Reference and Scanning Requests

Having trouble locating the material for your visit, or unable to come into our reading room yourself? Burns Public Services is happy to provide reference assistance! While we’re unable to do in-depth research, we can offer searching advice or check specific references for you. Just fill out our contact form and one of our team will get back to you.

Unable to travel but you’d still like to see some material? Burns Public Services provides limited reference-quality copy services free of charge. Check our website for details on this service.

You can request copies through your Burns Library Account. As you identify what you would like to see from our library catalog, click the “Request scans from Burns Library” link.
When prompted to sign-in, either use the Boston College sign-in box to register as a researcher using your BC username and password or use the Guest Researcher box to create an account without a BC username.

Once you’ve reviewed our registration policies and filled out the registration form, you’ll return to the Copy Request form

To complete the form:

  • For published material: Review item information and add details on the specific volume or copy (if needed)
  • For archival material: Review collection information and enter the box number and folder number. Refer to the finding aid in order to identify the box (found at the end of the catalog record under Links)
  • Enter a brief description of your request under “Describe Copy Request”.
  • Choose the file format.
    1. Reference PDF (one week)
    2. Reference JPG (one week)
    3. High-res Tiff (<5 images, 3-5 weeks)
  • Leave more details or any notes on your request in the Special Requests/Questions field (optional)
  • Press “Accept Terms and Submit Request”

If we have any questions, Burns Public Services will contact you. When the request is completed, you’ll receive an email prompting you to log into your Burns Library Account and download the scans

To see our up to date safety procedures and policies, see our website. If you have any questions, let Public Services know. We look forward to seeing you in our reading room!

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

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