UC Berkeley Library

Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQ v2.0

Questions? Ask Us!

The item I'm looking for isn't on the shelf. What do I do now?

The OskiCat or Melvyl catalogs will tell you whether the item in question is currently checked out to another person. If so, you can recall it online by clicking the "Request" button in OskiCat.

If the catalog indicates that the item is "available," you might want to check again to make sure it is not shelved in a special location. Books may be kept in reference areas, locked cases, reserves, etc. Recent issues of journals and magazines may be located in a current periodicals area.

You can also look on booktrucks, shelving carts, and temporary shelving areas in the library in question - these are where recently checked in materials are sorted (in call number order) before being put on the shelf.

If you cannot locate a book that should be available on the shelf, you may ask us to search for it. To request a search, present the title or call number of the item at the Circulation Desk of the library that owns the book. When the item is available, you will be notified by e-mail.

You can also  search the catalogs for different editions of the book or ask the library staff about other alternatives, such as requesting the item from another UC using Melvyl, or from another university by submitting an interlibrary borrowing request.

The book I searched for isn't available here. Can I get books and articles from outside the UC Berkeley libraries?

Yes, there are several ways to do this.

If the item you need is not owned by the UC Berkeley libraries but is owned by one of the other UC libraries, then UC Berkeley faculty, students, and staff may ask for it via the Request button in the Melvyl catalog.

If it is not owned by any of the UC libraries, then UC Berkeley faculty, students, and staff may submit Interlibrary borrowing requests, which allows you to check out materials delivered from other universities.

You will be notified by email when print Interlibrary materials arrive, and you can pick your items up in the Interlibrary Services office in 133 Doe Library.

Where do I study?

There are many places to study throughout the libraries. See Find a Study Space for more information.

Does my library have a mailing address?

Yes. Mailing addresses are included on library homepages.

Can I get access to the Main stacks as a visitor?

Yes, but we ask that you come with a research need, such as a Main (Gardner) Stacks call number or an appropriate topic of interest.

You can request access online for a single day.  On weekdays, you can submit your request by 10am for same-day access. If your request is granted, we will email you a confirmation.  Please note that you will need to print out the pass that is attached to the email, and bring it when you visit.

At other times, or to make a request for multiple days as described below, come to the Reference Desk (second floor, Doe Library) with a current photo ID to request access in-person.  For hours of this desk, see the Doe Library web page.

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Doe Library Reference Desk

Researchers whose projects will require repeated visits may come to the Reference Desk and request a "Reference Card".

Both the one-day pass and the Reference Card provide access to the Main (Gardner) Stacks. Neither includes borrowing privileges, off-campus database access, the ability to request items through the OskiCat catalog, or delivery of materials from the Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF ).

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