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Our Organization: Visitor Information

Visitor Information

The Caltech Library is committed to serving the teaching, research, and academic needs of its students, faculty, and staff. Access to collections, borrowing privileges, and use of computers are limited to those affiliated with Caltech. 

Access Privileges for Visitors

The Caltech Library has heavily used, highly specialized collections that can be largely unsuitable for access to general information. In addition, due to our licensing agreements, off-campus access to electronic resources to non-Caltech individuals is restricted. For these services, we highly recommend visiting other local libraries. 

Building Access

The Caltech Library is primarily for the Caltech community (including Caltech Affiliates) but external researchers may have limited access to Sherman Fairchild Library between 8:00 am–5:00 pm Monday through Friday. A Caltech ID card is required for access after 5:00 pm during the week and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. The other Library locations on campus are primarily for Caltech students, faculty, and staff. Visiting scholars are encouraged to contact the Library about access to another library on campus. 

Building access does not include access to computers, printers, scanners, bookable study rooms, or TechLab spaces and equipment. Laptops and e-devices carried in by visitors may be connected to the Internet by applying for access to the Visitor wireless network maintained by Caltech IMSS. The visitor wireless network is not intended to provide access to Library licensed resources. Incidental access to library-licenses resources is not controlled by the Caltech Library but by our vendors who have been provided the correct Internet address ranges for authorized Caltech users. Reference service and research assistance is not available to visitors. We reserve the right to decline requests for research or technology assistance.

For more information, please visit our Rules of Access

Borrowing Privileges

Borrowing of Caltech materials is limited to members of the Caltech community and affiliates of the Institute. Please visit our borrowing privileges page for more information. 

Access Privileges for Alumni

Caltech Alumni by default have the same access and user privileges as other public visitors, described above. All Caltech Alumni have the option to purchase annual Alumni Library Affiliate cards to gain additional library benefits. The cost of this card is $55/year (with a card replacement fee of $15). Fees may be paid at the circulation desk of Sherman Fairchild Library during weekday business hours from 8:00 am–4:30 pm. Benefits of being an Alumni Library Affiliate include:

  1. SFL building access during weekday hours 8:00 am–5:00 pm, as described above for visitors.

  2. SFL building access after hours (5:00 pm–12:00 am weekdays and 9:00 am–12:00 am on Saturdays and Sundays)

  3. Check out of up to ten print books concurrently.

  4. Check out of "Affiliate" laptops for use inside Sherman Fairchild Library for up to three hours per check out. These laptops may access licensed Library resources as permitted by vendor contracts.

Caltech Lifetime Alumni who secured their status before May 2018 are automatically granted Alumni Library Affiliate status, as described above. Benefits for Caltech Lifetime Alumni are the same as for the annual Alumni Library Affiliates.