UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Content section: 

FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

Can I check out a library laptop for a class presentation?

Yes, library laptops and iPads may be borrowed from Moffitt Library, Social Research Library and the Engineering Library. Display adapters are only available at the Media Resources Center. They may be checked out for four-hour loans.

Can I check out a laptop at the library?

UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students with a valid Cal ID or yellow library card can borrow Apple laptops and iPads from Moffitt Library, Social Research Library and the Engineering Library. Eligible students must be in good standing with the library (no fines, no overdue items, no recalls, and no blocks).

UC Berkeley staff and faculty are not eligible to borrow library laptops, nor are members of the public or other non-student users with library privileges.

Circulation details

  • Laptops and iPads are available for four-hour loans plus one renewal.
  • Laptops and iPads must be returned in-person to the library from which they were borrowed, and are not available for overnight check-out.
  • Laptops and iPads are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and are not available to reserve ahead of time. You can check current availability in OskiCat (iPad, MacBook Air with OSX, MacBook Air with Windows).
  • Only one device can be checked out at a time per patron.
  • Printing is available directly from library laptops or iPads via PrinterOn.

Technical details

  • MacBook Air 13” (256GB SSD, 8GB RAM) laptops are available, some with OSX and some with Windows OS. The following software is installed: Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Java, Flash, RealPlayer, QuickTime, Silverlight, etc.
  • 32GB iPad Airs are available, with apps for office editing and reading ebooks.

Fines and charges
Borrowers are responsible for loss, damage, and theft of a laptop or iPad while in their possession. Borrowers should verify the condition of the device at the time of check-out and upon check-in. Replacement charges are as followed:

  • MacBook Air laptop: $2000
  • iPad: $1200
  • Overdue fines: $20 per hour with the maximum fine being the replacement cost
  • Replacement charges and fines cannot be waived or forgiven.

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 it take to process my request?

Requests generally will be fulfilled within 1-3 business days, which allows one day for the request, one day for printing of the hold slip and pulling the item, and one day for mailroom delivery to the requested hold shelf location.  If you need an item sooner than three business days, you should go directly to the owning library and check it out in person.

Can I access online Library resources using my iPhone or iPad?

Yes, as well as on many other other smartphones and internet-enabled handhelds, but you will usually need to to configure your mobile browser to use the Library's Proxy Server. Note: You must be using Wi-Fi to connect to the Library Proxy Server and you must repeat these steps for each Wi-Fi network to which you connect. On the iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select Wi-Fi.
  3. Select the Wi-Fi Network to which you are connected.
  4. In the Wi-Fi Networks window, tap on the arrow to the right of your Wi-Fi network name.
  5. Your IP Address selection should be DHCP.
  6. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen to HTTP Proxy.
  7. Select Auto.
  8. In the URL text box, enter:

    Be sure to include "http://", and do not insert any empty spaces before or after the URL.

  9. If you're using an iPad, your software keyboard is probably still visible. Tap on the bottom right key to hide the keyboard and save the proxy URL setting.
  10. Go back to the home screen and open your web browser. When you come to a UC- or UCB-licensed resource, you will be asked for your CalNet login.

To configure your laptop off-campus or your desktop web browser, read our proxy setup instructions.

Note: If you connect to the Internet through CalVisitor, you will not be able to access licensed library resources, or use the Library Proxy Server to access licensed library resources.

What if I'm out of town and a book I have is recalled?

When you're out of town and one of your items is recalled (or overdue and not available to renew), you are still responsible for returning the item by the due date to avoid late fees. Mailing an item to the Library should be your last resort. Please return items in person, or have someone deliver it in person on your behalf, if at all possible.

If it's not possible to return your items in person, you can mail materials to the Library from which they were checked out, keeping in mind:

  • You will incur replacement fees for any item lost in the mail. The Library is not responsible for lost items.
  • You should use the most secure delivery method available to you, with tracking and delivery confirmation, as well as insurance.
  • Please pack the item securely, as you will be responsible for items damaged in the mail.
  • Library name, building and room numbers for each library are listed on the Library hours and maps page. Please add that information to the general UC Berkeley mailing address on your package:

    Library name
    Building and/or Room Number
    University of California
    Berkeley, CA  94720-6000

During holiday closures (see library hours), due dates will typically be extended to the first post-holiday business day. While requests can still be placed online via OskiCat at any time, the same closure policy will apply to holds for pickup.

Is there a maximum number of times I can renew my books?

Six-month loans are eligible for 7 renewals. All other loan periods are eligible for 11 renewals.

How to renew in OskiCat:

  1. Click the My OskiCat link (top right corner of screen).
  2. Log in with your Library/Cal 1 card number and PIN, or log in via CalNet.
  3. Select the items you wish to renew by checking the boxes in the RENEW column, then clicking the Renew Selected button.
  4. If you wish to renew all your items at once, click the Renew ALL button.

I heard there is a SFMOMA oral history project - where can I find this?

The Oral History Center at The Bancroft Library has partnered with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to create the SFMOMA Oral History Project, which documents the history of the museum on the occasion of its 75th anniversary in 2010. Founded in 1935, SFMOMA was the first museum on the West Coast devoted to exhibiting and collecting work by both modern masters and younger, less-established artists. Fifty-four individuals who have worked at, worked with, and/or closely observed SFMOMA tell the story of the institution's development.

Grace L. McCann Morley

Grace L. McCann Morley preparing for the museum's inaugural exhibitions of January 1935; photo courtesy the San Francisco Examiner via the SFMOMA site.

Can I send a fax from anywhere in the libraries?

Yes: from the Copy Center on the entrance level (3rd floor) of Moffitt Library:

For current hours, see our Library Hours page
phone: (510) 643-7427
fax:  (510) 643-4321
e-mail: copycenter@library.berkeley.edu

I want to see a newspaper from 1902. According to OskiCat, the Bancroft Library has an "archival negative" which is "restricted." Can the public come in and view the archival negative?

All archival and master negatives are indeed restricted and not for public use. However, the Library has positive copies of most negatives, and those are available to the public and also eligible for Interlibrary Loan with other institutions. The OskiCat record for Guatemala tidings, for example, shows the Library has two generations of negative film (with the status ASK REFERENCE , i.e., restricted) and also a positive service copy covering the same date range and having call number NEWSFILM-1 (with the status AVAILABLE).

But the Library also holds a large number of negatives for California newspapers with no positive copies. Even though OskiCat has records for these newspapers the negatives belong to UC Riverside and UC Berkeley doesn't hold matching positives (they are held by California State Library). As a good example, refer to the OskiCat record for Fall River Tidings: it says that the Library has a Bancroft negative BANC NMP 8064:17, the matching positive copy of which is available in Doe Library's Newspapers & Microforms as MICROFILM 78779; and two CNP negatives with call number 01-168 and with no matching positive. To get a hold of a positive film copy of the latter, contact CSL or CNP Microfilm Archive.