Update: UC Berkeley Library launches contactless pickup service

You can’t find it anywhere.

You’ve scoured the internet, and you’re about to give up tracking down that one book you need.

The UC Berkeley Library has a copy, but it seems just out of reach, on the other side of locked doors, languishing on the shelf as the library buildings remain shuttered.

But wait — you might be in luck.

The UC Berkeley Library has launched its new contactless pickup service, called Oski Xpress. The service — the first of its kind for the Library — allows members of the UC Berkeley community to safely get their hands on materials they otherwise wouldn’t have access to as the library buildings remain closed to the public.

Oski Xpress is not the only recent addition to the Library’s slate of new services. Starting the same week Oski Xpress launched, The Bancroft Library began offering limited in-person research appointments for faculty members and students.

For a rundown on the many ways the Library is serving its community during this ever-changing time, check out the list of frequently asked questions below.


Library services and resources during COVID-19

While UC Berkeley’s library buildings are closed, Library users can still access a wealth of resources, including e-books, videos, databases, 24/7 help from librarians, and LinkedIn Learning courses. Learn more about how the Library can help.


Is this book available online? How can I access materials for my research?

The Library has launched its COVID-19 portal, which compiles many of our online offerings, including e-books, databases, and other materials, as well as information on how to connect to Library resources while you’re not on campus.

A new emergency service provided by HathiTrust, the massive nonprofit digital repository, allows current UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff to access digital versions of millions of the physical volumes held by libraries across the University of California system while library buildings are closed. Watch a quick video on how to use the service.

And the Library’s Interlibrary Services department is still up and running, working to fill patrons’ requests for digital copies of articles. (Place a request online.)

If there’s something you can’t find, send requests through the purchase recommendation form. The Library is prioritizing digital versions of materials, which can be delivered more quickly.

When will physical materials be available for checkout?


As of Sept. 8, Oski Xpress, the Library’s contactless pickup service, is live. The service allows Cal 1 Card holders and borrowers with a UC Berkeley Library card to request materials on the Library’s online catalog, OskiCat, and schedule a time to safely retrieve the items at a pickup station outside of Moffitt Library. For now, the service applies only to the circulating collections in Main Stacks and Morrison Library, but other collections are expected to be added later. The service is also restricted to Library materials that are not available on the online repository HathiTrust, in keeping with the terms of the HathiTrust emergency service. (If a user requests an item available via HathiTrust, a Library staff member will cancel the request and refer the user to the HathiTrust catalog.) Learn more about Oski Xpress.

When should I return my books and the other materials I’ve borrowed before the UC Berkeley’s library buildings closed?

The Library has pushed back due dates to provide relief to borrowers. Materials due March 1 and beyond will now be due Feb. 1, 2021. The Library will be checking in these materials and quarantining them along with the rest of the items that have been returned since library buildings closed in March. (Due dates may change as the situation develops. Check here for the latest information.)

Books can be returned via the book drops on the north and south sides of Doe Library. Most other book drops on campus remain closed.

If you have materials other than books you need to return or if you have any other questions about returning materials, please contact privdesk@library.berkeley.edu. (Please don’t put electronic devices or DVDs in the book drops.)

In the meantime, you can renew items proactively through My OskiCat.

When will the libraries open again?

As of Sept. 10, the The Bancroft Library is offering limited research appointments, allowing faculty members and students to access Bancroft materials that aren’t available online. Learn how to make a special research appointment at Bancroft.

Down the road, plans include reopening Moffitt Library, which will provide students with a low-density on-campus study space. (In compliance with public health guidelines, Moffitt will not open at the beginning of the fall semester, as originally hoped.) Hours are expected to be limited, with strict social distancing protocols in place and no snacks and drinks allowed.

I’m not a UC Berkeley student (or faculty or staff member). Can you point me to some free resources I can use for my research?

If you are not affiliated with UC Berkeley and don’t have a CalNet ID, check out the Library’s guide to free online resources for researchers.

With classes now online, is there any way I can access digital versions of my textbooks or course materials?

Take a look at this guide, which helps connect students and instructors with online versions of their textbooks and other course materials.

For access to feature films and documentaries, please see our streaming video guide.

Can I still get help from a librarian?


If you need research help, you can email or chat with a librarian 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is staffed by Berkeley librarians, but during off-hours (or if our librarians are busy), you might be connected with a librarian from another academic library. Schedule an online consultation with a subject librarian (see a list here) by email or through the appointment link. Instructors can also arrange for a librarian to provide remote instruction for their courses.

Is (event name) still happening?

Check out the Library’s slate of virtual events here.

What can I do for fun while sheltering in place?

We’ve got you covered there, too — and the choices are aplenty.

Want to pick up a new hobby, learn a new craft, or brush up on your skills? Head to LinkedIn Learning. The online learning platform offers courses in design, photography, computer programming, filmmaking, and much more — and UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff have free access.

You can also immerse yourself in a story through OverDrive, which provides access to bestselling works you can read or listen to from anywhere. (All you need is a CalNet ID.)

Berkeley librarians have suggested some books to read while self-isolating (all of which are freely available online). Along with their reading recommendations, they’ve offered some words of wisdom, encouragement, and support for this challenging time.

Where can I find the latest information on how the university and the Library are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Keep up with how the university is responding to the coronavirus on its coronavirus information page.

The Library is monitoring the situation closely. Get the latest updates on Twitter and Facebook.

Have a question that hasn’t been answered here? Send it to eref@library.berkeley.edu.

More information