New guide helps patrons re-create the library experience from anywhere

October 19, 2020

Patrons missing the sounds and spaces of VCU Libraries as they study, write and research can now re-create the feeling of the libraries wherever they are—whether at home, in a dorm or in a park, enjoying the fresh air—using a new guide authored by librarians in the Teaching and Learning department:

The guide links to photos of the library buildings and some of the best-loved spaces; recordings of the library announcements about building closure and COVID-19 guidelines compliance; ambient sound from the Bleecker St. coffee shop in Snead Hall at VCU and famous libraries, even the fictional Hogwarts library from the Harry Potter series; tips for good study habits; and more.

Although it might seem fanciful, the guide was crafted in response to users’ actual struggles to find equilibrium in work and life and continue to feel connected to campus during the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, we took our buildings for granted in many ways,” says Megan Hodge, head of Teaching and Learning. “People came here every day to work or study or meet up with friends or just find a quiet place for alone time with a book. But right now, people feel trapped in their homes and dorms, often with roommates or children or pets, and even when they’re working on campus, it can be hard to really get comfortable while wearing a face covering and there’s concern about COVID-19. This guide is an attempt to help people find creative ways of tuning out distractions and, in general, improving their mental wellbeing.”

The guide is a part of VCU Libraries’ Study Safer campaign that promotes safer study habits during the pandemic. “We’re so glad to be available for those who need access to our physical spaces and materials,” says Laura W. Gariepy, associate dean for Research and Learning, “but with so many of our collections and services available remotely and many library users in the Richmond area right now, we’re glad to bring some of the sights and sounds of the libraries to you. We want to help people feel comfortable and productive at home as much as possible without physically being on campus.”

The guide is a work in progress, and more resources will be added over the course of the semester. Programming possibilities, including virtual “study hall” sessions, are also being explored.

Explore the guide.

Thoughts about the guide? Or something you’d like to see added? Please contact Megan Hodge at or let us know through chat, text, etc. We’d love to hear from you.

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