Welcome to the UC Berkeley Library! Here’s what you need to know.

For an incoming student, life can be a whirlwind — a flurry of new people, new classes, and new ideas.

Being catapulted into a brand-new experience can be difficult, but navigating this transition amid a global pandemic — one that has changed our lives in just about every way — is another thing altogether.

But through thick and thin, the UC Berkeley Library is here for you.

To help support your experience as a new student, we’ve gathered some of the things you’ll need to know about the Library all in one place.

The Library at a glance

The UC Berkeley Library is actually made up of 24 libraries. When the world is right-side-up, they are a-flutter with activity, serving as important spaces where you can discover information, unleash your creativity, meet friends, get help with research, learn from some of the world’s greatest minds, and more.

Moffitt Library, located in the heart of campus, is a hub for undergraduates that fosters collaboration and innovation, with spaces to create, study, and even nap.

Doe, located in the shadow of the iconic Campanile (the campus’s beloved clock tower), is home to several libraries and is connected to the vast underground Main Stacks.

Morrison Library, known as “the university’s living room,” is a frozen-in-time space within Doe where you can cozy up with a book or magazine or browse a selection of new releases.

On the eastern side of Doe, The Bancroft Library, Berkeley’s main special collections library, holds many one-of-a-kind treasures, including rich documentation of the West.

Some of Berkeley’s libraries collect materials devoted to specific fields, from anthropology and art history to music and mathematics. Others, such as the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, collect materials in languages from around the world. Check out the complete list of libraries (and their locations) here.

For now, most of Berkeley’s library buildings remain closed, part of the far-reaching effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. But the Library is very much open (virtually), offering a broad range of services and resources. Learn more about the resources and services that are available remotely.

Students fill the window seats at Moffitt Library last year.
Students fill the window seats at Moffitt Library. (Photo by J. Pierre Carrillo for the UC Berkeley Library)

When will I be able to study at the Library again?

Now!

For the first time since the pandemic started, UC Berkeley students are once again able to study at Moffitt Library. The new service will provide a productive, dedicated space for solo study sessions while emphasizing the well-being of all who enter the library’s doors, with safeguards such as low-density seating and mandatory mask-wearing. Reservations are required, and spots will be available weekdays from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.

Students can also visit a digital rendition of Doe Library for a weekly virtual study hall.

How can I access the Library’s collections remotely?

With more than 13 million volumes, the Library is overflowing with information.

And even while most of Berkeley’s library buildings are closed, you can still access much of its bountiful collection.

The Library’s COVID-19 portal highlights 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.

And the launch of an emergency service provided by HathiTrust, the nonprofit digital repository, means you can access digital versions of millions of the physical volumes held by libraries across the University of California system while physical libraries are closed to the public.

Can I still get my hands on the Library’s physical materials?

Yes.

Oski Xpress, the Library’s new contactless pickup service, allows members of the UC Berkeley community (with current Cal 1 or Library cards) 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.

How can I get help with research?

The Library makes it easy for you to get help with your research, no matter what the topic. You can email or chat with a librarian 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also schedule an online consultation with a subject librarian (see a list here) by email or through the appointment link.

Student worker in stacks
Student employee Connor Brady shelves books in Main Stacks. (Photo by Cade Johnson for the UC Berkeley Library)

Does the Library have jobs for students?

Yes. The Library has a variety of jobs, even during the pandemic. Work hours and locations vary. Browse student jobs here.

What other services and perks does the Library offer?

There are too many to list here, but here are a few:

  • Streaming video: The Library offers streaming access to tens of thousands of movies and documentaries.
  • LinkedIn Learning: This online learning platform offers courses in web development, photography, business, computer programming, and more.
  • Free e-books and audiobooks: Read and listen to best-selling works on your computer or device through OverDrive.
  • Art for your apartment (or dorm): Through the Graphic Arts Loan Collection, or GALC, Berkeley students, faculty, and staff can check out and take home stunning framed artworks, including original lithographs, etchings, and woodblock prints. Because of the pandemic, GALC will be closed during the spring 2021 semester, with plans to start circulating art in time for the fall semester, as conditions allow.

Keep in touch

Keep up with the Library on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Tag and mention us in your posts, and reach out if you have any questions — or just to say hello. Check here for the latest updates on how the Library is serving students amid the pandemic.

Stay safe, happy learning, and Fiat Lux!