UC Berkeley Library

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Using the Library during COVID-19

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

Northern Regional Library Facility

Feb 24 - Mar 2




The Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF) is a cooperative library storage facility, the first of its kind in California. It is owned and operated by the University of California and is located on the grounds of UC Berkeley's Richmond Field Station.

The 98,000 square foot main building was completed in 1982; an 84,000 square foot stack annex was completed in 1990; and a 67,000 square foot storage module, as well as a new reading room were added in 2005. A fourth building expansion is currently under construction and expected to be completed in fall of 2020. The Facility offers high density, low cost housing for infrequently used library materials belonging to northern California libraries. At this time, depositors to NRLF are libraries on the University's Berkeley, Davis, Merced, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz campuses, and the California State Library. As of June 2019, the Facility held over 7.4 million items (mostly books and journal volumes, but also microfilm, maps, audio discs, manuscripts, archives, and other formats normally collected by research libraries). Staff at the Facility receive, process, and create machine-readable records for newly deposited materials, which normally amount to about 150,000 items per year, and provide circulation, interlibrary lending and document delivery services on approximately 75,000 items per year.

Building and Shelving

In addition to public service, administrative, and processing areas, the buildings have a total of eleven floors of shelving, with a total capacity of 7.5 million volumes, and specialized storage areas for microfilms and maps. To provide the best possible environment for the books, the stack area is climate controlled to maintain a constant temperature (60F) and relative humidity (50%). Materials are stored in the stacks by four size classifications in the order in which they are received by the Facility. This means that collections, and even runs of a single journal title, may not be shelved together. As an additional space-saving measure, books are placed two-deep on each shelf.

The NRLF building was built with the following special features:

  • Redundant chillers, boilers, and fans allow the HVAC system to maintain temperature and humidity within specified ranges in varying weather conditions. Loads are distributed between tandem pieces of equipment, minimizing wear and allowing down-time for maintenance. The system is monitored by microprocessor, reducing energy consumption. Alarms are issued when conditions exceed tolerances. The control system for all buildings is integrated.
  • Automatic wet-pipe sprinkler system and dry standpipe system.
  • Smoke detectors, air sampling smoke detection system, pull stations, and sprinkler flow detectors are connected to a continuously monitored addressable fire alarm system.
  • A continuously monitored intrusion alarm system.
  • Fluorescent lights in storage areas are filtered to eliminate ultraviolet wavelengths.

Services for Library Users

The Facility has a comfortable Reading Room for use of requested material and public service staff readily available to assist. Computers provide access to online Library collections and resources via UC Library Search, and to the Internet. A photocopy machine, networked printer, a microform reader/printer and microform scanner are also available. Please bring coins and small bills as the photocopy machine is not set up to accept credit cards or copy cards in payment. Food is not permitted in the building; drinks are allowed in covered containers. Upon request, a list of local restaurants is available at the circulation desk.

The Richmond Field Station and NRLF comply with UCB's "Tobacco-Free Campus" policy, prohibiting "smoking or vaping of any substance" on all Berkeley property.

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