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Our Organization: Accessibility

Accessibility

The Caltech Library is committed to serving all of our patrons and is actively working on improving the accessibility of our materials, services, and facilities. This webpage describes the current accessibility of Caltech Library locations, including physical accessibility, noise level, lighting, and restrooms, plus other information.

Quick links

Jump to accessibility information for:

Library Contact Information

  • Email: library@caltech.edu 
  • Phone: (626) 395-3405
  • In-person: Assistance is available at the Information Desk on the first floor of Sherman Fairchild Library
  • Chat: The Library maintains a chat reference service during business hours, Monday through Friday. Start chatting with us today!

For assistance, questions, or comments about Library accessibility, please email accessibility@library.caltech.edu. Students can also contact Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS) for support at cass@caltech.edu.

For physical accessibility of other buildings on campus, please see the Caltech campus accessibility map.

Library Services

Borrowing Materials

  • Patrons may request to have items pulled from the shelf for them from any library location by selecting “Place Request” on the item in the Library catalog, LibSearch. You will receive an email when the item is ready to be picked up at the first floor Information Desk at Sherman Fairchild Library.
  • The Caltech Library provides campus delivery of eligible materials to Caltech faculty and staff. Graduate students and post-docs are also eligible for the service if they have an office address on campus. Undergraduate students are not eligible for the service. More information is available on the Campus Delivery page.
  • Patrons may designate a “proxy borrower,” who is allowed to check out materials on their behalf. Please contact the library (see Contact section above) to set up a proxy borrower. More information is available on the Lending Code & Borrowing Policy page.

Service Animals

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are welcome and permitted in all Caltech Library locations. The Library’s policy on service animals is on the Institute Policies page.

Book Returns

  • Book returns are available at all Caltech Library locations, described under the accessibility information for each Library location, as well as:
    • Beckman Institute: inside the building by the Southwest door
    • Broad: inside the building across from the East door
    • Church: inside the building across from the North door
    • Avery House: in the courtyard outside of the building
    • Lloyd House: on Olive Walk outside of the South side of the building

Sherman Fairchild Library

Location: The Library occupies all four floors (basement through the third floor) of the Sherman Fairchild building.

Sherman Fairchild Library hours and floor plan images.

Physical Accessibility

  • Both entrances to Sherman Fairchild Library (East and West) are accessible by ramp and are equipped with power-assisted doors.
  • Building floors may be accessed using an elevator in the Southwest corner of the Library, stairs in the middle of the Library, or stairs on the North end of the Library.

Book Return

  • A book return is available at all times just outside the West entrance of Sherman Fairchild Library.
  • A book return is also available inside the Library at the service desk next to the West entrance to the Library.

Restrooms

  • Gender-neutral, single-stall restrooms are available on the North end of all four floors of Sherman Fairchild Library.

Seating and Whiteboards

  • There are individual study carrels on the South side of the second floor and on the third floor.
  • There is a beanbag chair in the basement of Sherman Fairchild Library.
  • There are moveable whiteboards on the first and third floors of Sherman Fairchild Library.
  • Group study rooms on the second floor have TV monitors and whiteboards mounted to the walls.

Quiet Spaces

  • Sherman Fairchild Library has silent study spaces in the open areas of the basement and on the second and third floors.
  • The first floor of Sherman Fairchild Library is for quiet study, meaning patrons may have quiet conversations or use headphones.
  • Sherman Fairchild Library has four closed group study rooms for group study on the second floor, which may be reserved on the Find a Study Space page.

Lighting

  • All floors of the library are lit with overhead fluorescent lights.
  • The best areas of the Sherman Fairchild Library for natural light are the closed, reservable group study rooms on the second floor (each room has windows and the overhead lights in each room may be turned off) and in the open study area on the third floor (the area has a high ceiling with overhead lights and lots of windows).

Cahill Library

Location: The Cahill Library is located in the Southeast corner of the first floor in the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Cahill Library hours and floor plan images.

Physical Accessibility

  • The main door to the Cahill building (off California Blvd near the entrance to the California Parking Structure) is equipped with a power-assisted door. The pathway from the door to Cahill Library is flat. The door to the Cahill Library does not have power-assist for opening. During normal business hours the door is wedged open with a doorstop. 

Book Return

  • There is a book return inside the Cahill building, just outside and to the left of the entrance to the Cahill Library.

Restrooms

  • Multi-stall mens’ and womens’ restrooms are available in the Cahill building, down the hall/to the North of the entrance to the Library.

Quiet Spaces

  • The entire Cahill Library is designated for quiet study, meaning occasional discussion is allowed, phones should be set to vibrate or silent, and headphones must be at low volume.
  • The Library shares physical space with a kitchenette supporting the Cahill’s Hameetman Auditorium, which may result in some noise.

Lighting

The Cahill Library has high ceilings with fluorescent lights and large windows along the entire South wall of the Library.

Caltech Hall

Location: The Library occupies the entirety of the basement (Library collections), first floor (TechHub), second floor (Library administration), and ninth floor (study space) of Caltech Hall.

Caltech Hall hours and floor plan images.

Physical Accessibility

  • The ramp to Caltech Hall’s entrance is on the Northwest corner of the building.
  • Library spaces in the basement and on the ninth floor of Caltech Hall can be accessed via elevators in the center of the building or via stairs on the West end of the building.

Book Return

  • A book return is available at all times just outside the Southwest entrance of Caltech Hall.

Restrooms

  • Two single-stall, gender-neutral restrooms are available on the ninth floor of Caltech Hall.

Seating and Whiteboards

  • Most of the seating and tables on the ninth floor of Caltech Hall are moveable. There are also moveable privacy screens.
  • There are moveable whiteboards on the ninth floor of Caltech Hall.

Quiet Spaces

  • The ninth floor of Caltech Hall is for group study, meaning that discussion is allowed. Please be courteous to nearby patrons.

Lighting

  • The Caltech Hall basement is lit with overhead fluorescent lights and has no exterior windows.
  • The ninth floor of Caltech Hall has windows to the North and South, which let in natural light. There are also overhead fluorescent lights.

Dabney Library

Location: The Dabney Library is located at the North end first floor and basement (no entrance) of Dabney Hall.

Dabney Library hours and floor plan images.

Physical Accessibility

  • Dabney Library has a short set of stairs at its South entrance (inside Dabney Hall) and steps into its North Entrance (outside door). Stairs from the first floor to the basement of Dabney Library are located in the Southwest corner of the Library.
  • For patrons who cannot use stairs, access to Dabney Library (both first floor and basement) is mediated via a locked elevator, for which the HSS Librarian has a key. Please contact the Library for assistance.
  • The Library is happy to page books from the Dabney Library and make them available for pick up at Sherman Fairchild Library.

Book Return

  • The book return is located inside Dabney Library, just next to the South (interior) entrance to the Library.

Restrooms

  • Multi-stall mens’ and womens’ restrooms are available in the Dabney building, down the hall from the Library toward the South entrance of the building.

Quiet Spaces

  • The first floor and the audiovisual materials room in the basement of Dabney Library are designated for quiet study. This means that occasional discussion is allowed, phones should be set to vibrate or silent, and headphones must be at low volume.

Lighting

  • The first floor of Dabney Library has overhead windows on three walls of the Library, which let in some natural light. There are also overhead fluorescent lights.
  • Dabney Library basement is lit with overhead fluorescent lights and has no exterior windows.

Geology Library and Map Room in North Mudd

Location: The Library is located in the West end of the second floor of the Seeley W. Mudd Laboratory of the Geological Sciences (North Mudd).

Geology Library hours and floor plan images.

Physical Accessibility

  • From the North entrance of North Mudd, there is a short set of steps to get into the building. Once in the building, there’s an elevator to the second floor as well as a set of stairs.
  • For patrons who cannot use stairs, enter the library through the South Building (South Mudd). There is a ramp alongside the driveway between North and South Mudd buildings. Take this ramp up, then turn right at the double glass doors into South Mudd. Down the hallway there is an elevator to your left. Take the elevator to the third floor, exit the elevator and turn right, travel through an outdoor space connecting the buildings (the third floor space is exposed to the elements), go through double doors to enter North Mudd, go right once in the building and the elevator will be on your right. Take the elevator in North Mudd down to the second floor. When you exit the elevator, turn left and you’ll see the Geology Library.
  • The monograph room (Room I) is a part of South Mudd; it is connected to the Library. There are five steps to access that room. For patrons who cannot use the steps, return to the main (North) entrance and take the elevator on your right up to the third floor. Turn left upon exiting the elevator, travel through the outdoor space connecting the buildings, go through the double doors to enter South Mudd, then the elevator is on your left. Take the elevator to the second floor, turn right and proceed down the hall. You will see the double glass doors, which enters South Mudd.
  • The Library is happy to page books from the Geology Library and Map Room and make them available for pick up at Sherman Fairchild Library.

Book Return

  • A book return is available at all times just outside the North entrance of North Mudd. Another book return is available inside on the second floor of North Mudd near the library entrance.
  • Books may also be returned inside the library on the designated book return cart.

Restrooms

  • Non-accessible gendered restrooms are located on the second floor of North Mudd just outside of the Geology library. Accessible restrooms are located in the sub-basement of North Mudd. Exit the library into North Mudd and the elevators will be on your right. Once down in the sub-basement, exit the elevators to your right to find accessible gender-neutral restrooms.

Quiet Spaces

  • The Geology Library is a quiet study space: occasional discussion is allowed, phones should be set to vibrate or silent, headphones should be set at low volume.
  • Because the Geology library connects North and South Mudd, there can be an increase in volume when people are passing through.

Lighting

  • Lighting in the entrance to the library and throughout the stacks is fluorescent. However, the lighting in the study area is incandescent but very dim. There is natural light from two large windows to the West and two large windows from the North. There are four study carrels with directed over-desk LED lighting.

Archives Accessibility

The Caltech Archives and Special Collections, a department of the Caltech Library, is committed to serving all of our patrons and is actively working on improving the accessibility of our materials, services, and facilities. As we continue our efforts, this page will be updated with information that will make in-person and virtual experiences as accessible as possible.

For assistance, questions, or comments, please email accessibility@library.caltech.edu. Students can also contact Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS) for support at cass@caltech.edu.

Beckman Institute Accessibility

  • Every entrance in the inner courtyard of Beckman Institute is accessible by a ramp.
  • The North East entrance on the building exterior, facing the W. M. Keck Center (home of the Keck Institute for Space Studies), is equipped with a power-assisted door.
  • The Archives may be accessed using the elevator located on the North East entrance; stairs are next to it.

For more information on campus accessibility, see the Caltech Accessibility Map. Accessibility features are highlighted on the map's Accessibility Information Legend at the bottom of the map:

  • Accessible parking spaces.
  • Accessible path-of-travel.
  • Ramps and automatic doors.
  • Power assisted building entry (37 buildings with power-assisted door openers).
  • Accessible elevators.
  • Accessible gender-neutral restrooms (34 major buildings with gender-neutral restrooms).

The map is designed in consideration of those with color vision deficiency.