We are currently updating our website. Please see our COVID-19 Reopening Plans for updated access policies.

These updated policies currently supercede this page as of July 1, 2021.

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

The Caltech Library has heavily used, highly specialized collections which 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. 

The Caltech Library is primarily for the Caltech community (including Caltech Affilates) but external researchers may have limited access to Sherman Fairchild Library between 8am-5pm Monday through Friday. A Caltech ID card is required for access after 5pm 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 are limited to members of the Caltech community and affiliates of the Institute.  Please visit our Borrowing page for more information. 


Caltech Alumni by default have the same access and user privileges as other public visitors, described above. All Caltech Alumni have the option of purchasing annual Alumni Library Affiliate cards to gain additional library benefits. The cost of this card is $55/year (with a card replacement fee of $15.00). Fees may be paid at the Circulation Desk of SFL during weekday business hours from 8AM-4:30PM. Benefits of being an Alumni Library Affiliate include:

  1. SFL building access during weekday hours 8 am - 5 pm, as described above for visitors.
  2. SFL building access after hours (5 pm - 12 am weekdays, and 9 am - 12 am on Saturdays & Sundays)
  3. Check out of up to 10 print books concurrently.
  4. Check out of "Affiliate" laptops for use inside SFL for up to 3 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.

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