Frequently Asked Questions

Content section: 

FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

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?

Whenever you are out of town and one of your items is recalled, you're responsible for returning it by the new due date listed on the recall notice.

If you have the item with you, an option would be to mail or ship it back to the library from which is was checked out. Mailing addresses are included on each library's homepage. We recommend using the most secure method available to you, with tracking and delivery confirmation.

If you don't have the item with you, an option would be to ask someone to deliver it on your behalf.

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

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.

Why is Melvyl asking me to log in?

Melvyl, the discovery tool of the UC libraries, now includes millions of licensed journal articles. As a result, some off-campus users will now encounter login prompts when starting a search in Melvyl.  Anyone can still use Melvyl as a UC-wide and worldwide library catalog, but the licensed items are available only to those with UC Berkeley access privileges.

  • Those who use the library proxy server may see the same CalNet or PIN login prompt they normally see when going to a journal article or other licensed resource. This prompt will only appear if you haven't already used the proxy server in the current browser session. After logging in, you should be able to access journal articles and other licensed resources without further prompts.
  • Those who are connecting with the Virtual Private Network (VPN) system, and those whose computers are on the campus network (including AirBears2) do not get a login prompt when using Melvyl, and can continue to access journal articles and other licensed resources.
  • Off-campus users who are not using either the proxy server or VPN will see a login window when doing a search in Melvyl.

My book is late. How much am I being charged per day?

Like many things in the UCB Library, this all depends on the item in question and on the borrowing policies of the library you checked it out from (some charge daily fees, some don't). Please see the Pay Fines page for details.

You can renew items online in OskiCat to avoid overdue charges. If your item is damaged or lost, a borrower may replace lost or damaged materials with copies acceptable to the lending library. Arrangements should be made with the lending library before a replacement is purchased. The Library offers advice on how to find replacements for lost library books and serials.

Replacement costs ($150 default/book or the actual cost of the item, which ever is higher) and processing fees are charged for overdue materials that are not returned. Unpaid bills are forwarded to a collection agency. Direct all questions about bills, and blocked or revoked privileges to the Privileges Desk (Doe Library, floor 1).

May I use public computers in the library to pay my fines/fees?

Library computers have standard security settings. To avoid identity theft or other malicious activity, take precaution when sharing personal and confidential information (such as date of birth, address, telephone, credit card or social security numbers) online. For enhanced security, the Library recommends using your personal devices to pay library fees and fines.