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Off-Campus Access: Library Operations Spring Term 2020

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

Message from the University Librarian

March 19, 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 in a fully online environment for Spring Term 2020.  Below we have detailed our current services, and we encourage you to review our offerings and use them to benefit your work this spring. 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 direct access to our print collections. Mediated collection access is available via Docuserve. Campus delivery services are suspended until March 30th. We are not lending any computer equipment.  Loan periods on currently checked-out items will be extended through April 3rd. Please do not return library materials during this time.


To support online instruction for the Spring 2020 term, we are making an effort to ensure all required textbooks are available online through our new Digital Reserves service. Any textbooks requested via Adopt-a-Text will automatically be included. Your Divisional librarians are already in contact with instructors to mediate this service. The Library will provide digitization services as needed, and we may ask that you prioritize portions of textbooks for digitization as we are trying to provide timely service for all Caltech classes. No on-site physical Course Reserves will be available. For information on electronic resources, including textbooks, currently available for teaching, please see our updated Off-Campus Access Guide.


Our Docuserve services are currently available.  We have expanded our digitization services while reducing our physical borrowing of ILL materials, and Docuserve is running with reduced on-site staffing. All document delivery and ILL requests will be fulfilled in digital form wherever possible. The Library will digitize research resources held in print in the Caltech Library collections, but we will not provide ILL for print materials for the next two weeks.  Additionally, in preparation for spring instruction, we will prioritize the digitization of those resources needed for teaching. Please be aware that our ILL service relies on other libraries. If these libraries are not providing lending services, our ability to provide you with interlibrary loan, even digital materials, will also be affected.


All of the Caltech Library’s numerous online services are still fully available, including reference and research consultations (email:,, hold requests (but not recalls), ILL requests, and access to all electronic resources (Library Guides, electronic books and journals, databases, etc.). As previously mentioned, all document delivery, ILL, and hold requests will be fulfilled in digital form wherever possible.


Our ever-popular TechLab will reopen soon with modified service. It is currently closed for cleaning and transition to mediated service, and we will have additional details to share about this service very soon. 


We will be offering our instructional program for Spring 2020. All instruction, including carpentry workshops on programming and data skills, is transitioning online. Check back for more class and workshop information on our website beginning March 30th. 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 Services