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York University Libraries: Supports for Graduate Students

York University Libraries: Supports for Graduate Students

York University Libraries play a vital role in helping graduate students achieve their academic goals. Although COVID-19 means that many things about our campuses have changed this year, academic librarians, archivists and library staff continue to work hard to make sure that you have uninterrupted access to the resources, collections, services and guidance you need for your coursework and research.

We’re here to help as you conduct research for papers; prepare literature reviews; compile lists and bibliographies for MRPs and comprehensive exams; access online and physical resources; negotiate your rights as an author; prepare research data management plans; as well as explore software packages, online tools, and other modalities related to advances in digital scholarship.

Introduce Yourself!

Did you know that most departments and programs have their own librarian responsible for working directly with graduate students and faculty? To find out the name of your contact in the Libraries, see our current list. You can also schedule Zoom consultation appointment with one of our librarians yourself using our website.

New Online Collections

Over the course of the summer, we added over 1 million online titles to our collections to prepare for the fall and winter terms. Some of the key resources and collections we’ve added most recently include the Loeb Classical Library (more than 500 volumes of ancient Greek and Latin texts with English translations), the Champlain Society Digital Collections (a huge repository of critical editions and annotated primary sources relating to Canadian history), as well as HathiTrust Digital Library (an online archive of millions of books). To find out what’s new in your discipline, or to submit a request for online access to a book that we do not have in our collections, contact your liaison librarian or our Collection Development and Analysis Department by writing to

Access to Physical Collections

We are now providing graduate students with access to physical books held in all our libraries through a new pickup program using book lockers to make picking up your books even more convenient. And, although we have suspended the accrual of all library fines while the pandemic continues, if you wish to return books after you have finished with them, we have installed a Book Return Bin for that purpose.

The reading room of the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections is open by appointment only. Appointments are available Tuesday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. To book an appointment, email at least three working days prior to your proposed visit. Please include a list of records or books you wish to consult. You will then receive an email confirming your appointment time. Only one researcher may access the reading room at a time. Please do not come to Scott Library without a confirmed appointment. You must show photo identification each time you access the reading room.

Access to Collections Beyond York

We recognize that there may be times when you need a resource that we don’t own and that we are unable to purchase. During COVID-19, we are continuing to accept requests through RACER for articles not held at York . This service is free so make sure you check it out. And if you find yourself trying to track down a rare book, personal papers, institutional records, manuscripts, or other primary sources for your research, make sure you reach out to the archivists in the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections by writing to Even if we don’t have the materials here, chances are our archivists will be able to tell you where and how you can find them.

Study Space

Although our Graduate Reading Room remains closed, you are able to book a desk in Scott Library for individual quiet study. Graduate students will also be able to book study rooms for individual use on the first floor in those cases where they may wish to have a greater degree of privacy or just want to spread out while they work. Stay tuned for more information soon.

Research Data Management

If you are collecting data as part of your research make sure you reach out to us to help you formulate a research data management plan. Such plans can help you get organized early on and are strongly encouraged for all scholars receiving funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). We can also help you find research data collected by others as well as publish or deposit your own data. It’s never too early to consult us! You can contact us or visit our website to learn more.

Digital Scholarship and Author Rights

Did you know you have rights as an author? Let us help you figure out how to work with publishers when you sign your first contract so that your work will end up being available to the greatest number of potential readers by adhering to Open Access principles. To understand more about your options please write to us at or visit our website.

In addition to support for open access, librarians in our Digital Scholarship Centre can help you understand and use research metrics, upload documents to our institutional repository YorkSpace, use digital authorship and exhibit platforms like Scalar and Omeka, as well as undertake digitization projects in a way that will ensure quality and ongoing access in the future. Reach out to us at for more information or to book a consultation appointment with one of our librarians or archivists. Please also take a moment to consult our Digital Scholarship and Digital Humanities Research Guide.

What We’re Still Working On

Health guidelines issued by both the province and the University mean that a few of our collections are still inaccessible. For the time being, we are not able to provide access to our physical DVD and music collections or our microfilm collections. We are working on plans to provide access to these collections and more so please keep an eye on our homepage for new developments!