UC Berkeley Library

Need a book from the UC Berkeley Library during the shelter-in-place order? Check here first.

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.

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 artbeatbayarea 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.

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.

  • UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff may want to add the EZproxy bookmarklet to their browser so they are prompted to authenticate via CalNet or PIN login when going to a journal article or other licensed resource via Melvyl.
  • Those who are connecting with the Virtual Private Network (VPN) system, and those whose computers are on the campus network (including AirBears 2) 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 EZproxy bookmarklet 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.

How do I download a book from HathiTrust?

HathiTrust contains over 2.7 million fully viewable digital volumes, including books and journals important for student and faculty research. Some volumes in the HathiTrust Digital Library, however, are only available to search and are not available for download or to view in full.

Downloading PDFs from HathiTrust

  1. Go to https://www.hathitrust.org/
  2. To limit your search to fully viewable items, check the box for Full view only from Catalog Search
  3. Select the full view link next to any item from your search results
  4. From the record view, select Download whole book (PDF) from the left column
  5. Click Login from the pop-up window.
  6. Choose the University of California, Berkeley from the drop down list and click Login
  7. Enter your CalNet ID and passphrase
  8. You will return to the full view record of the book. Select, once again, the Download whole book (PDF) link from the left column to download the PDF to your computer.

You can also find HathiTrust volumes that are available for download through OskiCat or Melvyl.