Request and Retrieval FAQs

In light of the developing COVID-19 situation and the recommendations from health professionals, Pitts has made significant changes to library services, in coordination with Candler Administration. Effective August 24th, and extending through the Fall semester, Pitts will shift to a Request and Retrieval only model for access to the circulating collection. This means that patrons will not have physical access to the library space, but all Emory patrons (faculty, student, and staff) can make requests for circulating books through discoverE. Those items will be pulled by Pitts staff, held at the circulation desk, and patrons can come and pick up their materials at the entrance to the library. Below are questions you may have about this service model.

Why is Pitts implementing this new service model?

The CDC has recommended that all should avoid gatherings of 50 or more people. The White House has recommended against gatherings of 10 or more. In an effort to ensure and support necessary social distancing protocols, knowing that the library is a commonly used study space, Pitts has made the difficult decision to limit access to its physical spaces. At the same time, access to physical collections is essential for some, particularly those writing theses, dissertations, articles, books, etc. So, Pitts is attempting to keep its patrons and staff as safe as possible, while guaranteeing needed access to the physical collection.

I need a Pitts book. How do I get it?

You should first locate the book in discoverE ( or a link at Open the record for the book, sign in with your Emory credentials (top right), click on the “Locate/Request Item” table, and click “Request” on the top left. Choose “Pitts Theology Library” as your Pickup Location and click the orange “Request” button. This will trigger the Pitts retrieval service. You will receive an email notice at your Emory email address when the item is ready to be picked up at Pitts. You can then come to the library between 9am and 4:30pm, Monday through Thursday, to pick up your items.

Requesting Books Video Tutorial

How long should I expect to wait for my requested book to be available to pick up?

Once you place a request, you can expect to receive notification that it is available within 2 business days. While Pitts staff will process requests as soon as we can, we are unsure of what the demand and our staffing capacity will be.

How will I know when I can pick up the items I requested?

When your items have been retrieved and are ready to be picked up, you will receive an email from the library system at your Emory email address. You should only come to pick up the materials once you have received that email.

How do I pick up the materials I have requested?

When you have received the email that your items are available, you will need to visit the entrance to Pitts Library between 9am and 4:30pm, Monday through Thursday. Once there, please enter and provide your Emory NetID to the staff there. A staff person will bring you the items, which will have already been checked out to you.

When does this new service model begin?

The new service model begins Monday, August 24th.

When does this new service model end?

Like everyone, we are eager to return to normalcy. This new situation will continue at least through the Fall semester, and we will continuously evaluate the ongoing need for these changes.

Can I enter the library?

The library is available as study space by reservation only, to current  Emory faculty, students, and staff who have been cleared to return to campus. Reservations are available 9am to 4:30pm, Monday through Thursday. To make a reservation, visit  

What if I need access to materials in the Reference collection?

Because the materials in our Reference and Ready Reference sections can’t be checked out, these items will not be requestable. Pitts Reference Librarians can direct you to digital versions of many of these works and may be able to scan sections of certain works. Please reach out to them with your request (

What if I need access to materials in Pitts’ Special Collections?

While access to Pitts’ Special Collections is extremely limited at this time, we are able to provide digitized versions of items in many circumstances. Please reach out to our special collections staff ( with any requests. Appointments to visit special collections can be made at 

I know that several of us will need access to the same book. What should I do?

Please reach out to our Reference Librarians ( immediately, and they can find or purchase alternative access to the book.

Can items on Physical Course Reserves be checked out?

No, Pitts will not be circulating physical reserves. Staff may be able to scan sections of reserve items and place them on electronic reserve, or we may be able to purchase electronic versions of physical reserves. Please contact the Pitts circulation desk ( about any physical reserve items you need to access.

The book I need is checked out by someone else. What should I do?

You can recall a book from the patron who has it, and he or she will be asked to return the items in 10 days. For details, visit

I need a book from another Emory library. How do I get it?

All Emory libraries are reconsidering and updating their procedures in this challenging time. Please visit for the most recent updates from other Emory libraries.

Whom can I contact with questions or feedback about this new service model?

Bo Adams, Director of the Library ( or 404.727.4165)