Services to the Community

Welcome to the UC San Diego Library. This world-renowned academic library offers a rich array of scholarly resources that support the university's goals of excellence in research and teaching. From the outset, the UC San Diego Library was intended to be a resource for all of San Diego. We welcome visitors and are proud to provide the San Diego community with access to a major research library.

Because our collections are selected and funded to support the instructional and research needs of the UC San Diego academic community, visitors may not find the same kinds of information or resources that they encounter in a neighborhood library.

And because our primary mission is to serve the university community, priority is given to UC San Diego faculty, students, and staff. This means that services to the general public are provided subject to availability of staff and resources.

All Library users, university and public, are required to observe the UC San Diego Library’s Use and Conduct Code. In addition, members of the public are subject to other restrictions on their use of the Library. While it is the policy of the UC San Diego Library to provide reasonable access to the collections for all categories of users, we make a distinction between access (library use) and borrowing (home use) privileges.

Using the Print Collections: In general, visitors may use the collections within the Library’s buildings, but cannot borrow materials for use at home without a library privilege card. Borrowing privileges are accorded to visitors only by policy or by specific arrangement. Residents of California, 18 years of age or older, may apply for a library privilege card.

Using Licensed Databases: UC San Diego has entered into license agreements with the producers of various copyrighted databases, many of which limit use of their services to the university's faculty, staff, and students. Visitor use is either prohibited or limited to incidental, on-site use for non-commercial purposes. Remote access to licensed databases is not available to the public. Information about access restrictions is posted on the opening screens of all databases. Ask at a Library service desk for additional information on license restrictions.

Services Available to Visitors:

  • Assistance using online catalogs
  • Access to many library resources on a self-help basis
  • Brief answers to reference queries (see suggestions below for queries requiring extensive research).
  • Assistance locating appropriate collections and services
  • Limited phone and email assistance. Phone, email, and in-person requests are handled in the order received.

For more extensive service than UC San Diego Library staff can provide, visitors should consult a public library or the library at their own institution.

The UC San Diego Library does not provide document delivery services (providing copies of materials in our collections) for community users. Commercial document delivery services with differing prices and areas of specialization are available. For a selective list, go to (list provided as a courtesy; the UC San Diego Library neither endorses nor recommends any of these services). Contact these services directly to learn more. 

Last revised D. Tweedy, 10/13/16