September/October 2021Vol. XXXIV No. 1

Welcome Back: Library Locations Reopen for Fall 2021

Chris Bourg

From March 2020 through August 2021, the dedicated staff of the MIT Libraries were able to provide remote services and ongoing access to both digital and tangible content to support the research, teaching, and learning needs of the MIT community. With the fall return of more students, faculty, and staff to campus, the Libraries opened up our physical spaces to the MIT community on August 23. Library spaces play a critical role in the life of MIT and its campus, and we are happy to welcome MIT back to the physical libraries.

While the MIT Libraries have always provided exceptional remote services and access to digital content, we honed and expanded those skills and services over the past 18 months. We also know that there are library experiences at MIT that cannot be meaningfully replicated digitally or online. A core principle of our vision for libraries in a digital-first future is that we aim to make our portfolio of physical collections, services, and spaces of exceptional quality and singular relevance to Institute research and teaching. The newly renovated Hayden Library expresses and supports that vision through a design that is beautiful, flexible, and inspiring.

Here is a brief overview of current MIT Libraries’ remote and in-person services; more details are available on our website at

Library Access
All library locations are open to the MIT community in Covid Pass, and Institute policies regarding indoor spaces will apply for all spaces. The Distinctive Collections Reading Room is open by appointment only, and virtual consultations are also available. With the reopening of Hayden Library, we’re pleased to be able to offer significantly more campus study space available 24/7 to MIT ID holders.

Hayden Library and Building 14 Courtyard
We invite all MIT community members to explore these newly renovated spaces, conceived as an “intellectual crossroads” for the whole community. In Hayden Library, you’ll find natural light and expansive views, a variety of study spaces, a dedicated event and teaching space, curated collections displays, and a new cafe. The redesigned spaces set a new standard for healthy and inclusive campus space and were designed with the well-being of our community and sustainability in mind. We hope the new Hayden will inspire new ways of using the Libraries and our collections and will be a catalyst for new ways of connecting with library experts and with each other.

The courtyard in the middle of Building 14 has also been renovated, with beautiful new landscaping, a new curved bench, and an accessible pathway and entrances.

A covered indoor “porch” between the Lewis Music Library and the courtyard provides additional casual seating options, as well as a new entrance to Hayden Library.

Discovering, Borrowing, and Requesting
Discover our rich resources with both open stacks access for browsing and a new library search platform launched in July. Our new search interface provides our community with a more intuitive and seamless experience searching and accessing our collections. Our users will appreciate new features such as content alerts, advanced search functions, and the ability to search and request materials beyond MIT’s collections and subscriptions.

Course Support and Expert Help
Whether you come to Hayden’s new Consultation Suite, visit the Distinctive Collections Reading Room, or schedule a Zoom, our staff is here to help – research consultations are available in person or virtually, and the answer to a quick question is just an email or chat away with Ask Us ( The Libraries will also offer a full course reserves service for the fall. The service includes access to article and chapter scans through our Scan & Deliver service, which instructors may post to their Canvas site for student use, as well as access to numerous e-books and databases. Additionally, print reserves for required textbooks are available.

Like all of you, we at the MIT Libraries have learned to respond quickly to changing circumstances so that we can continue to prioritize community safety and the MIT mission. Please check the MIT Libraries website for changes and updates, and don’t hesitate to ask us if you have any questions about how we can partner with you in your research or teaching.