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Distance Learning Assistance

As part of its mission to be a distinctive and global university, American University offers a variety of options to support its study abroad programs and services for online learners. In addition to services and resources supplied specifically by the University Library, other sources of information about online learning can be found on the AU Online Learning website.

Research Assistance

Research specialists are available to you wherever you are through IM and email from our Ask A Librarian page. Our Information Literacy Instruction page contains links to Credo Instruct information literacy tutorials, videos on how to use the library, and more.

Catalog and Databases

The Library Catalog and 550+ databases are available to you anywhere you have internet access. Many articles are available in full text from our databases. If you have a technical problem with a resource, please Report a Problem to let us know about the issue.

The Library's catalog includes thousands of e-books from various publishers covering many subject areas. For more information, see our E-Book subject guide.

Interlibrary Loan

Students and faculty in online programs may request that we send you up to 5 books through the mail (you may only have 5 books on your account at a time), from either AU's collection or a WRLC library. Unfortunately, we do not send books internationally. Please be aware of the following policies when requesting books be sent via mail:

  • Books will be checked out to your account.
  • Standard due dates will apply.
  • Renewals will follow the standard policy (3 online renewals as long as no holds or recalls are placed on the book and fines do no exceed $25.00. After the renewal limit has been reached the books must be returned.
  • The library will pay for shipping with signature confirmation when the books are sent.
  • Returns will be considered as "on time" as long as the postmark is on or before the due date.
  • Return postage with tracking is the responsibility of the user.

Please contact our staff at to request books be sent via mail or to inquire about our shipping policies. Students and faculty in online programs or researching abroad may request journal articles, book chapters, table of contents, definitions and more be delivered as web docs to your Library Account. Please visit our Interlibrary Loan page for more information on this service.

Media Services

Over 60,000 streaming videos in the collection are searchable through the library catalog. To limit your search to only streaming videos, you can use the search box on the streaming video collections page. Most streaming videos in the collection are restricted to current AU students, faculty and staff. Off campus users will be prompted to authenticate with their AU username and password.

My Library Account

You can renew books online, pick up articles that you ordered through the Consortium Loan Service, and even set up text alerts for books coming due and other notices through My Library Account. If you need help, a video tutorial is available that outlines the features of this service.

Login to My Account