UC Berkeley Library

You can still access the UC Berkeley Library’s services and resources during the closure. Here’s how.

Using the Library during COVID-19

During the pandemic, many of our services are being offered in new ways. To find the latest information on course reserves, book returns, 24/7 online help, and more, visit our COVID-19 portal, which provides more up-to-date information than the text below.


Content section: 


While our physical exhibition spaces are closed, please visit our online exhibits: 



EXHIBITION: Object Lessons: The Egyptian Collections at the University of California, Berkeley

Through May 22, 2020
Open Monday-Friday, 10AM - 4PM
The Bancroft Library Gallery and Corridor Cases

Object Lessons brings together ancient and modern Egyptian artifacts from the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in an exhibition in The Bancroft Library Gallery and Corridor. In the gallery, we invite you to explore how items from everyday life were created and discarded, excavated and conserved, from antiquity to the present day. The corridor showcases the innovative research being carried out on the Egyptian collections at UC Berkeley, work that continues to push scholarship forward in the twenty-first century. The things humans create often last beyond a single lifetime. Join us in considering the new lessons we can learn from the past lives of objects. Beginning February 10, the exhibition will feature a rich array of newly installed, previously undisplayed objects that impart an entirely new set of lessons.





ROUNDTABLE:  Brown, Behind the Scenes: Contending with Governor Jerry Brown and his Oral History

February 20th
12:00 PM
Lewis-Latimer Room, The Faculty Club

Presented by Martin Meeker, Director, and Todd Holmes, Historian, Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library

When Jerry Brown walked away from the Governor’s Mansion in January 2019, he was also wrapping up a lifetime of public service. In addition to four terms as California governor, he served terms as secretary of state and attorney general and two terms as Oakland’s mayor. Over the past year, the Oral History Center, in partnership with KQED and the California State Archives, conducted a life history interview with Brown. Running about 40 hours of recordings, the lightly-edited transcript of this interview was released in January 2020 alongside the KQED podcast series Political Mind of Jerry Brown. In this presentation, OHC historians Martin Meeker and Todd Holmes will provide the behind-the-scenes story of a remarkable interview with a singular Californian and offer an initial perspective on how this oral history might influence our understanding of California and its political culture.





EXHIBITION: A Storied Campus: Cal in Fiction

Through December 2020
Open during the operating hours of the Doe Library
Rowell Cases, 2nd floor corridor between The Bancroft Library and Doe Library

Mention of the name University of California, Berkeley, evokes a range of images: a celebrated institution, a seat of innovation, protests and activism, iconic architecture, colorful traditions, and … literary muse? The campus has long sparked the creativity of fiction writers, inspiring them to use it as a backdrop, a key player, or a barely disguised character within their tales. This exhibition highlights examples of these portrayals through book covers, excerpts, illustrations, photographs, and other materials largely selected from the University Archives and general collections of The Bancroft Library.


ROUNDTABLE: More Than a Centennial Celebration: California Women and the Vote

March 19th CANCELLED: Online version available here!

Presented by Lee Anne Titangos, Information and Instruction Specialist, The Bancroft Library

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, Californians can be proud that within the Golden State, woman suffrage was achieved nine years earlier. This talk, richly illustrated with campaign ephemera from the Bancroft collections, will explore the hard-won victory of 1911.


SEMINAR: Karanis Papyri in Boxes and Bags: Ancient Document Storage, Security, Trash

March 31st EVENT POSTPONED: Please check back for updates!
2:00 - 4:00 PM
The Bancroft Library

Presented by Arthur Verhoogt, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Papyrology and Greek, University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Excavations at Karanis (1924- 1935) yielded thousands of papyri, most of which have a specific find location in the archaeological record. In a small number of cases, papyri were found in ancient storage containers, such as leather or linen pouches, boxes, and pots. This seminar will discuss a number of these Karanis papyri and their manner of storage to try and establish whether they are examples of ancient document storage or trash disposal.





LECTURE: Back to Bancroft: Revisiting the Tebtunis Papyri

April 2nd EVENT POSTPONED: Please check back for updates!
5:30 - 8:00 PM

Morrison Library

Presented by Arthur Verhoogt, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Professor of Papyrology and Greek, University of Michigan

Almost thirty years ago, Professor Verhoogt first had the opportunity to work with the Tebtunis papyri in The Bancroft Library. The twentieth anniversary of the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri is a great opportunity to revisit the collection and discuss how these objects, and Professor Verhoogt’s lessons from them, have changed in the intervening years. Are there more classics from crocodiles? Does it really matter if papyri are found bundled together? Is there anything to be gained by studying papyri in context? What context, anyhow? The talk will address these and other questions.


ROUNDTABLE: Aĝasaaĝux and Empire

April 16th EVENT POSTPONED: Please check back for updates!
12:00 PM
Lewis-Latimer Room, The Faculty Club

Presented by Alexander Arroyo, graduate student, Department of Geography and Kenneth E. and Dorothy V. Hill Fellowship recipient

George Davidson, head of the U.S. Coast Survey for the Pacific, president of the California Academy of Sciences, and the first professor of geography at Berkeley, spent nearly his entire career charting the location and transformation of the Bering Sea’s stratovolcano, Aĝasaaĝux (or "Bogoslof," as renamed by Russian sailors) — from his first Alaska survey in 1867 until his death in 1911. Utilizing historical information from Unangan informants, navigational charts of failed forays through the Northwest Passage, and military-scientific expeditions in the Aleutian Islands, Davidson’s extensive research into the centurial life of Aĝasaaĝux/Bogoslof refracts the complex relations between multiple modes of geographic knowing deployed in the United States’ fin de siècle imperial project. Drawing on The Bancroft Library’s voluminous collection of Davidson’s papers, Arroyo will utilize unpublished notes, drawings, and correspondence to discuss the historical conditions through which "an island rising from the sea" could be said to "annex itself" for empire.


SYMPOSIUM: Tebtunis: The Next Twenty Years

April 27th and 28th EVENT POSTPONED: Please check back for updates!
Anthony Hall, UC Berkeley

This symposium will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri. At the same time, and more crucially — given that over 90 percent of the Berkeley papyri have yet to receive proper study, and that Tebtunis has continued to yield material to archaeological missions (and, regrettably, looters) until the present day — the symposium will bring together specialists from around the world to coordinate scholarly activity on this at-risk site and its remains, and to plot new and innovative directions for inquiry. Email friends@library.berkeley.edu for times and to register your attendance.


SYMPOSIUM KEYNOTE LECTURE: Tebtunis: Past, Present, and Future

April 27th EVENT POSTPONED: Please check back for updates!
5:30 - 8:00 PM
Morrison Library

Presented by Dr. Dorothy Thompson, Newton Trust Lecturer in Ancient History, retired, Fellow of Girton College, University of Cambridge

On January 16, 1900, in a cemetery area of Tebtunis in the South Fayum, Egypt, a crocodile mummy was smashed apart and papyri brought to light. This discovery and associated finds marked a major landmark in papyrology, as texts from this site were deciphered and studied. Now housed in the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri at The Bancroft Library, papyri from the site have provided and continue to provide important insights and new information for the history of Hellenistic and Roman Egypt. They illuminate the life and times of the inhabitants of Tebtunis over an extended period of time. The results of significant archaeological work in the area can be contextualized as the two disciplines interact. The questions posed by this rich material, and the answers it provides, have changed over time and will continue to do so in the future. The nature of these changes — past, present and future — is the central concern of this lecture.





ROUNDTABLE: Eastern Mediterranean Fiscal Evolution: Object Lessons from Tebtunis and Beyond

May 21st EVENT POSTPONED: Please check back for updates!
12:00 PM

Lewis-Latimer Room, The Faculty Club

Presented by Andrew Hogan, postdoctoral fellow, the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, The Bancroft Library

Center for the Tebtunis Papyri postdoctoral scholar Andrew Hogan will present his research on the evolution of fiscal complexity in the Eastern Mediterranean during the First Millennium BC. During this period of imperial development, states sought innovative strategies for managing wealth and extracting resources from their populations. Hogan identifies a battery of related fiscal developments that evolved in tandem during this time, many of which were used by states until the early modern period and beyond (e.g. coinage, banking, auctioning tax farming concessions, etc.). Hogan will explore the evolution of these institutions in the Near East, Greece, and Egypt, and will highlight a number of Ptolemaic papyri in the CTP collection that are crucial for illuminating these phenomena.