UC Berkeley Library

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Using the Library during COVID-19

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are now open. To stay up to date on the Library’s policies and services during the pandemic, visit the Library’s COVID-19 webpage.

Plan a Visit

Content section: 

The Bancroft Library is currently providing Special Research Appointments.

The Bancroft Library welcomes researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, from California, and from around the world. We are a non-circulating library and archives, so all materials must be consulted in the Heller Reading Room.

If you are planning a visit to our gallery and exhibition spaces, please find more information on our exhibits page.




Accessing Collections

Request Materials in Advance

Reference and Research Queries

Reading Room Guidelines


All those wishing to use Bancroft materials must register as a researcher. Registration is free, and just takes a few minutes online using our Aeon system. The online registration form constitutes an agreement by the researcher to comply with the Library's stated policies for use of its materials. Your registration remains active for one year, and can be renewed from your Aeon account. Please visit the Aeon sign-in page at https://aeon.berkeley.edu to register in advance. For more information, see the Aeon guide at https://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/aeon/register.

Researchers will also need to bring a current government or academic-issued photo ID when visiting the Bancroft Library in person. For UC Berkeley affiliates, a current UC Berkeley photo identification is adequate.

CalNet Users: UC Berkeley requires “Two-Step Verification” when signing in to any CalNet connected account, this includes Aeon. Remember to bring your Two-Step authentication device or code(s) when you visit The Bancroft Library.  Library staff cannot register you or place requests on your behalf if you are unable to access your Aeon account while visiting The Bancroft Library.

Once registered and upon subsequent visits, you will be issued a Daily Reader Card. Please print your name on the card and keep it with you throughout your visit. You will return the card at the Registration Desk when exiting for the day.

Accessing Collections

The Bancroft Library provides access to numerous collections of archives, manuscripts, rare books, pictorial materials, and reference resources. (See other UC Berkeley libraries and archives with collections of potential interest.) Access to our collections is provided in accordance with Reading Room Conditions of Use. Bancroft staff are available to explain our Conditions of Use and to assist you in using the collections.

Access to collections may be subject to restrictions defined by federal and state law, University of California, Berkeley administrative policies, gift and bequest agreements, and Bancroft Library preservation requirements. Some collections may be governed by specific restrictions or may not be available for immediate use. Such restrictions are noted in the catalog records in the University’s library catalog, UC Library Search. Please contact us with any inquiries you have regarding the availability of collections by sending an email to bancref@library.berkeley.edu.

Request Materials in Advance

We recommend requesting Bancroft materials in advance of your visit. Please submit your request(s) at least one week prior to your arrival. This will enable us to page materials stored off site (at NRLF) as well as those stored on site, and to have them ready in time for your visit. You must have an Aeon account to request materials. For more information please visit the Aeon guide at https://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/aeon/request.

To ensure that we serve all researchers’ needs in a fair and timely manner, there is currently a request limit of 7 active requests per researcher. After submitting 7 requests in Aeon, you will not be able to submit additional requests until you have finished with at least one existing request. The request limit does not apply to duplication orders or permissions requests. You may save requests to submit later by choosing the “Keep for My Review” option in the Aeon request form. These requests are saved in your Aeon web account (“Requests Kept for Review”).

If you are beginning your research and do not yet know which materials you would like to examine, send us a reference query.

We endeavor to prepare requested items by the first morning of your visit. The materials will remain available through the last day of your visit. You may place materials on hold, as needed, by asking the Circulation staff. Please check your Aeon account to confirm that the item is ready for your use before visiting our Reading Room. Email banccirc-library@berkeley.edu for any questions regarding your requests.

Reference and Research Queries

Bancroft staff are available to assist you with reference and basic research inquiries about our collections. You can reach us in these ways:

  • In person: Stop by our Reference Desk during open hours
  • Via email: Send your inquiry to bancref@library.berkeley.edu
  • Via web form
  • Via telephone: (510) 642-6481 (only answered during open hours—this number does not have voice mail)

Please note: Email and the web form are the best ways to reach us if you are not on site.

Reading Room Guidelines

The Bancroft Library’s Heller Reading Room is available to all registered researchers using our collections. Since many of the materials are unique or rare, and some are in fragile condition, researchers are expected to treat all materials with care to avoid loss or damage and to follow our Conditions of Use.

There is a limited number of seats in the Reading Room.  A waitlist will be enacted once capacity has been reached.