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Services: Online Learners

American University offers a variety of online learning and study abroad options. Part of its mission is to continue to increase services for these programs, especially study abroad, in order to create a “distinctive, global university.” The library supports this mission by providing academic support for study abroad and other online learning programs. Other sources of information about online learning are AU Online Learning website and the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning (CTRL).

Research Assistance:

  • Research specialists are available to you wherever you are through IM and email from our Ask A Librarian page.
  • Our Library Research Tutorial gets you started with searching for books and articles on your topic. You can complete the whole tutorial in about an hour or select sections as needed.
  • Other tutorials are available in the Classes / Tutorials section of our website.
  • Recommended websites for research on any discipline covered by the AU curriculum may be found using our Subject Guides.

Catalog and Databases:

The Library Catalog and 400+ databases are available to you anywhere you have Internet access.

  1. From the expandable menu to the left, click on the Research tab.
  2. Choose "Search the Catalog" for books, videos or music.
  3. Choose "Search Databases" for articles.
  4. If prompted for a login, enter your AU username and password. (Your username does not include
Many articles are available in full text from our databases. Upon finding an article you want, you click on a "Find It" button to be directed to the full text either online or in print. For more information about how "Find It" works, click here.

If you have a technical problem with a database, get help here.

Electronic Books:

Thousands of e-books can be found in the Library's Catalog from various publishers covering many subject areas. For more information, see our E-Book subject guide.

Interlibrary Loan:

For students and faculty in the following programs:

  • Weekend degree programs
  • American Encounters program
  • AU/NTL (National Training Laboratory)
  • Executive Master of Public Administration
  • Key Executive Program
  • AU/OPM
  • Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation (ISIPPI)
  • Federal Managers Practicum
  • Summer Online Learning Courses
  • Ph.D. students or AU Faculty who are located outside of a 100 mile radius, but inside the continental United States
  • Freddie Mac MS in Finance

You 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. You may request that we send you articles via the web. You may also request that we send you the Table of Contents of a book and up to 15% of the book through the web instead of sending the book through the mail. The electronic option is faster.

For students in the following programs:

  • AU Abroad
  • WCL International Dual Degree Program
  • NRSD Dual Degree program at the University of Peace in Costa Rica
  • AU Faculty or Ph.D. students who are located outside of the continental United States
  • Summer study abroad programs

You may request that we send you up to 2 articles from a single journal issue, table of contents and up to 15% of a book via the web. Unfortunately we DO NOT send books internationally.

To place a request, please use this webform.

Things to Know:

  • 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
  • We will consider it “on time” as long as the postmark is on or before the due date
  • Return postage is the responsibility of the user
  • We will limit the number of materials a user can have at a time: there can only be 5 books checked out at a time

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our staff at

Citation Help:

My Library Account:

  • My Library Account is a portal for information about your 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.
  • A video tutorial of the features of My Library Account is available on this page.