When should I return my books? Here’s what you need to know about the UC Berkeley Library’s closure.

UC Berkeley’s libraries, along with many other institutions and businesses, are closed — part of the sweeping effort to flatten the coronavirus curve.

But the Library is still here to help.

Members of the Library’s staff have been receiving an influx of questions from patrons as they navigate this new, albeit temporary, way of life.

Here are answers to some of the questions we’ve gotten — plus a few extra tidbits that might make life a little easier.

When should I return my books (and the other materials I’ve borrowed)?

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?

Later this summer, the Library plans to provide access to enhanced research consultations for special collections materials at The Bancroft Library, part of the Library’s next step in the gradual return of in-person services.

After this step, plans include an eventual opening of Moffitt Library, which will 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.

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.

And the Library’s Interlibrary Services department is still up and running, working to fill patron’s 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 I be able to get my hands on the Library’s physical materials?

The Library plans to kick off a contactless pickup service (our version of curbside pickup, minus the curb) later this summer. More details will be announced as they are available.

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?

The Library’s in-person events have been canceled, postponed, or moved online. Check out the Library’s events calendar 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. Stay updated on Library News and on Twitter and Facebook.

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