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Off-Campus Access: Library Operations Summer 2020

Guide to off-campus access for current Caltech students, faculty, and staff.

Message from the University Librarian

Updated July 6, 2020

Dear Caltech Community,

Supporting the research and teaching mission of the Institute is the top priority of the Caltech Library. We are working to develop new services and expand current ones to meet your needs for teaching and research going forward. Below we have detailed updates to our current services, and we encourage you to review our offerings and use them to benefit your work. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have additional needs or concerns, but please also understand that our services are dependent on external partners, including other libraries, many of which are in great flux just as we are.

All Caltech Library locations are currently closed. This means no access to our study spaces and no unmediated access to our print collections. Campus delivery services are suspended until the campus more fully reopens.

We are happy to announce that all physical Library collections are now available for check-out to the Caltech community ONLY via placing a HOLD in the Caltech Library Catalog (books, DVDs, maps, etc), or making an equipment reservation. Any Library materials or equipment that are requested may be picked up by appointment at Sherman Fairchild Library via the westside service window. Once your request is confirmed, you will be contacted regarding making an appointment to pick up your request and the procedures you must follow. Information about postal delivery will be provided. Library materials may also be returned at Sherman Fairchild Library via the bookdrop (books only) or the service window (for media and equipment) by appointment. For those not able to visit campus, library materials may also be returned via USPS prepaid shipping. Contact for more information.

DocuServe services are available. All document delivery and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests will be fulfilled in digital form wherever possible. DocuServe will scan articles and book chapters from items currently in the collection if requested but will not scan whole volumes. Members of the Caltech community may still request items other than journal articles and electronic book chapters (such as whole print books) to be filled via Interlibrary Loan. However, please be aware that our ILL service relies on other libraries. If these libraries are not providing lending services, our ability to provide interlibrary loan, even of digital materials, will also be affected. In the case of items being unavailable via ILL, the request will be referred to Subject Librarians for evaluation for purchase for the collection.

All of the Caltech Library's numerous online services remain fully available, including reference and research consultations (email:, and access to all electronic resources (Library Guides, electronic books and journals, databases, etc.).

We are preparing Course Reserves for the Fall Term and will announce plans to support Fall instruction in the near future.

We are offering our instructional program for Summer 2020, and our currently scheduled classes are listed here. All instruction, including carpentry workshops on programming and data skills, is available online this term. To request an instruction session for your class, please email

Most acquisitions, cataloging and repository services are continuing normally. To request items for our collection, please use our request form. For information about our Caltech repository services, please visit Caltech Research Online.

Wishing you well,
Kara Whatley, University Librarian
Caltech Library