That book you need is at the UC Berkeley Library, but it’s tucked away behind locked doors.
You’re out of luck, right? Not so fast.
Thanks to a newly launched, recently expanded contactless pickup service, members of the UC Berkeley community can safely get their hands on materials they otherwise wouldn’t have access to during the pandemic. The service, called Oski Xpress, draws on collections from 14 libraries on campus, making materials available at a convenient pickup spot outside of Moffitt Library.
Oski Xpress is not the only recent addition to the Library’s slate of new services. The Bancroft Library is offering limited in-person research appointments for faculty members and students. And with fall instruction continuing online, the Library is providing students with free electronic versions of course readings and videos, lifting a financial burden off students’ shoulders amid hardship.
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.
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.)
And the Northern Regional Library Facility, or NRLF, in Richmond, has resumed its electronic article delivery service for UC faculty members, researchers (including postdocs) and other staff members, and students.
Need access to our microform collections? Book a special research appointment at Moffitt Library.
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. The service — the first of its kind for the Library — connects patrons with materials from the circulating collections of 14 libraries on campus: Anthropology, Bioscience, Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Map, East Asian, Engineering, Environmental Design, Institute for Governmental Studies, Main (Gardner) Stacks, Mathematics Statistics, Morrison, Music, Physics-Astronomy, and Social Research.
The service is 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.
How can I get my hands on class readings and other course materials through the Library?
Students: Are you concerned about the high costs of course materials — whether they’re books, articles, or videos? The Library can help! Before registering for a course, you can ask the instructor whether the material will be available via e-reserves. After you register, you can look this up in bCourses, if the class has a bCourse site. You can also contact the Library’s e-reserves team at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.
Instructors: Are you teaching a course in spring semester 2021? Want to participate in the Library’s program that provides students with free digital versions of course materials? Submit your lists of required books, articles, and videos to email@example.com. For spring 2021, the Library is prioritizing all required readings, and recommended readings will be provided as time allows. After Dec. 4, requests will be processed as they come in, without a guarantee that they’ll be available by a certain date or in time for the start of the spring semester.
The Library has been providing students with free electronic versions of course readings and videos, digitizing print materials and — in what might be a first for a program of its kind — sharing them nationally. So far this fall, the program is serving nearly 100 departments, from African American studies to vision science, improving the educational experience of more than 18,000 students in around 380 courses.
The Library also has a guide that 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. (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?
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 one library location to provide students with a low-density on-campus study space. 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.
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?
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.