UC Berkeley Library

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Frequently Asked Questions

Content section: 

FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Does the Library offer a prize for undergraduate research?

Yes, the Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research awards up to six annual prizes for the best lower-division ($750) and upper-division ($1000) papers from courses taught in departments across the campus.

May I save my work to a borrowed Library laptop?

No. Library devices use Deep Freeze to restrict data from being saved to the hard drive. All of your work will be lost when the device is shut down. You must save your work to cloud-based services or to an external drive.

Which libraries on campus have standing desks/workstations?

Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library:
5 standing fixed height counters with stools for public use and 2 standing counters without computers or stools.

Business Library:
Several high desks with high stools, or for standing, on the lower level.

Doe Library:
4 standing desk public access computers in the Reference Hall on floor 2, near the reference desk.

Earth Sciences & Map Library:
A couple of standing height tables at the windows in the south end of the stacks area.

East Asian Library:
8 standing workstations, two each floor. They are for library catalog search only.

Engineering Library:
2 standing-height desks with high stools, but people can also stand at them.

Environmental Design Library:
A standing bar by the bound periodicals. It's at a fixed standing height and has lots of electrical access. 2 accessible desks that can be raised or lowered. 1 of the desks has a computer.

Institute of Governmental Studies Library:
2 sit/stand desks with public PCs on them, and one with a research-only PC on it.

Mathematics Statistics Library:
2 standing public computer workstations.

Moffitt Library (open to those with a current UCB ID or gold UC Berkeley Library Card):
Standing work tables on the 4th and 5th floors.

Can I recommend a library purchase?

Yes! The Library welcomes suggestions from our students, faculty, instructors, staff, alumni and community patrons.

Please submit your suggestion for for books, periodicals, data sets and movies via the Purchase Recommendation Form.

NOTE: The Data Acquisition and Access Program provides a method for UC Berkeley faculty, students and staff to get access to data that requires purchase, licensing or is otherwise restricted.

Is it true that I can borrow art from The Library?

Yes, it's true! The Graphic Arts Loan Collection (GALC) is a collection of framed, original lithographs, etchings,and woodblock prints, that UCB students, faculty and staff may borrow for their dorm room, home or office. Please see the GALC website for more information.

Video throws an error message. What can I do?

Browser plug-ins or add-ons might be interferring with the playback of the video.

  • Open OskiCat and search for the name of the video
  • In the OskiCat record, click on the link to the video.
  • If you receive this error message: Error. Video Playback Was Aborted, disable browser plug-ins or add-ons that might be interfering with the playback of the video.
  • For Firefox hold down the Shift key, and click on the browser icon to open the browser in "Safe mode," which disables possibly interfering plug-ins.

See How to find Media for more information.

Is there one search box I can use to search all databases to find articles on my topic?

The Start your search tool on the Library homepage will search many library-licensed article databases as well as OskiCat and other important library collections. It doesn’t include everything though, and we encourage more advanced researchers to use the subject-specific databases that best represent their research topic.

Does the Library have a charger for my cell phone or tablet?

There are Android and Apple Lightning USB wall chargers with cables available for check-out to UC Berkeley students at Moffitt Library and the Engineering Library Circulation Desk.

  • The loan period is two hours with no renewal or overnight.
  • Students must present their Cal1 ID card to borrow.
  • See Library charges and fines for replacement and overdue charges.

Can I page a book for pick-up at the Circulation Desk? (Online Paging)

Yes, you can submit online requests for circulating items available at one campus library to be retrieved and held for pick-up at the Circulation Desk of that library or another campus library of your choice. 

What is online paging?
A "page" is a request for library staff to retrieve library items from our stacks and have them held for you at a Circulation Desk.

Who can place a page?
Anyone who can check out items from the UC Berkeley Libraries can place a page request (i.e., all current patrons with borrowing privileges).  Anyone with an active UCB Library borrowing card (UCB faculty, staff, and students with current IDs, but also alumni and others who have purchased cards) may request library materials.

How do I request a page from a UC Berkeley Library?
Click the Request button at the top of the item's record in OskiCat. Then log into MyOskiCat and follow the prompts.

What items can I have paged?
You may request non-reserve items that can be checked out of a library for more than two days.  Sorry, we cannot page items from Reference, Rare Books, Reserves or non-circulating items (such as items whose status reads "Missing," or  “Library Use Only"). You will know if an item can be paged by the presence or absence of a Request button on the OskiCat record or by the “No Requestable Items Are Available” message.

What if the item is checked out?
If the item is checked out, you can still use the Request link or button. We will recall the item from the patron who has it checked out, who will then have a week to return the item. When the item is returned, we will notify you that it is ready to be picked up. We will keep the item on hold at the Circulation Desk for you for 7 days.

You may also be able to request books that are checked-out or unavailable at UC Berkeley using Melvyl or our ILL Service.

How many items can I request to be paged?
UC Berkeley faculty, graduate students and staff can have up to 40 total holds/pages/recalls at a time; alumni and others who have purchased borrowing privileges can have up to 20 holds/pages/recalls. Undergraduates are allowed up to 20 holds/pages/recalls.  Additional requests are canceled by the system.

How long will it take to process my request?
Requests generally will be fulfilled within 3 business days.  If you need an item sooner than three business days, you should go directly to the owning library and check it out in person.

How will you notify me when my item is ready?
The library will send you an email notification when the item you requested is ready to be picked up at the Circulation Desk. We will also notify you if your request is canceled. Requests may be canceled for a variety of reasons, such as when the item can't be located in the library, the item cannot be checked out to you, or you have exceeded your item request limit. Communication is by email, so check your library record to make sure the email address we have on file for you is correct.

How long will the item be held for me?
Items are kept on hold shelves for seven days, beginning on the date you receive our email notice that it is ready for pickup. After seven days the item is returned to the stacks or made available to another patron who may have placed a hold on it.

Where do I pick up my item?
At the Circulation Desk of any one of 22 locations: Anthropology, Bioscience, Business, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, East Asian, Engineering, Environmental Design, Ethnic Studies, Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS), Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Main (Gardner) Stacks, Math/Statistics, Moffitt, Morrison, Music, Newspapers & Microforms, Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF), Optometry, Physics/Astronomy, and Social Research.  A UC Berkeley library card (Cal1) is required for all check-outs and ID privileges are non-transferable.

When can I pick up my item?
After you receive an email notification that the item you requested is ready to be picked up, you may retrieve it during the hours that the library's Circulation Desk is open. Please note that in most of the libraries, circulation services end 15 minutes prior to closing. So plan ahead and arrive at the Circulation Desk at least 15 minutes before the library closes.

Questions? Problems? Please contact Circulation Desk staff or use the “Contact us” form on the library’s website.