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Borrowing: Borrowing

1. How do I get a library card?

Your UCSC photo ID card is your library card. You can activate the barcode number on your ID card by going to either of the Circulation Desks with your ID card, filling out this online form, or calling either of the desks.

McHenry (831) 459-5185
S&E (831) 459-5300

Once your card is activated the barcode becomes your login for access to electronic journals and article databases from off campus.

For more information about getting a library card, please refer to the Patron Borrowing Categories website.

2. How long is my library card good for?

  • A currently registered student ID card is valid until the beginning of the following quarter.
  • Your library card is considered valid through the summer if you were registered during the Spring Quarter.
  • Library borrowing privileges for gradutating students expire at the end of the quarter when you graduate.
  • All other borrowers' cards expire annually according to their patron category.

3. Having trouble with Off Campus Access?

Q. I’m trying to use the libraries databases from home but every time I type my number in, it says:

  1. Unrecognized card.
  2. Your library card has expired.
  3. Your library account is blocked.


  1. You must first activate your library barcode number with the library to use Off-Campus Access (OCA).  We recommend using the campus VPN to access library resources off-campus. Call or come in to either of the circulation desks to activate your library card:
    McHenry (831) 459-5185
    S&E (831) 459-5300

  2. If you are not registered for the quarter your library card will expire. Many library cards are set to expire on a yearly basis (faculty, staff, courtesy) and must be renewed annually. This can be done sometimes by phone or in person.
  3. Library accounts are blocked if the contact information is outdated, there is an overdue recalled item on the account, fines on the account exceed $24.00 (undergrads, courtesy) or $49.00 (grad, faculty, staff), or if fines are not paid within 90 days. You can call or come in to either circulation desk to pay fines and remove account blocks.

4. I have recently graduated from UCSC. Can I still check out books and use the databases from my home?

Once you graduate, your library privileges as a registered student will go away. You have the option of joining the Alumni Association which allows you courtesy borrowing privileges. You will have access to the Proquest Library, an electronic journal library with hundreds of journals to choose from. You will no longer have remote access to the libraries databases but you are welcome to come into either library and use any of the services in house. Another option is to purchase a Friends of the Library card. Friends of the Library also have courtesy borrowing privileges and access to the Proquest Library.

5. I’m retiring from the university. Do I still have library privileges?

Retired staff can get a university ID card that says retired on it.  You receive courtesy borrowing privileges with this card. You can set up your card at either of the circulation desk in the librarys.  The card is good for 1 year and is renewable.

Retired faculty (faculty emeritus) retain full borrowing privileges.

6. As a UCSC student, what other library services am I eligible for?

Your UCSC library account allows you to check out the following items at the circulation desks:

  • textbooks
  • PC laptops (S&E), Macbooks (McHenry), and Macbook chargers
  • Chromebooks
  • video games and consoles (S&E)
  • graphing and scientific calculators
  • iPad chargers (iPhone 4)
  • DVD's


7. I lost my ID. How can I check out items or access the databases?

To check out items at the circulation desk without student ID, you will need another form of photo ID.

You will have to get a new student ID, and activate the new barcode number at either circulation desk, in order to access the databases from off campus.

8. How do I check out E-books?

For information on finding and accessing E-books, please check the E-Books at UCSC webpage.

9. How do I reserve a Group Study Room?

There are group study rooms available at both libraries, which can be reserved online. There are 20 rooms at McHenry Library and 8 rooms at the Science & Engineering Library. Some rooms at McHenry are equipped with technology and media resources.

To find out room specs and to reserve online, please refer to the Study Rooms page.

10. My professor put a book on a reserve for my class. How do I find it?

Reserve books are housed behind the circulation desk at both libraries. In order to check out reserve materials:

  • From the library home page, search under the Reserves tab by Course Number or Professor.
  • Check the reserves listing for the item call number and correct library location.
  • Bring the call number for the item you want to the respective circulation desk.
  • Have your student ID or picture ID with you in order to check out Reserves.

I'm taking a leave of aabsence, can I still borrow books and use the databases remotely?

  • Undergraduate privileges expire quarterly. If you're not registered for the quarter, your borrowing privileges and remote access to the databases will expire in that quarter.
  • Graduate students have extended expiration dates. If your card expires in the quarter you plan on taking the leave of absence, you will lose library privileges. If your expiration date extends past that quarter, your borrowing privileges and remote access to the databases will not change.

Contact Us

By Phone:

McHenry Circulation Desk
(831) 459-5185

S&E Circulation Desk
(831) 459-5300

By Mail:

University Library
Circulation Desk
(specify McHenry or S&E)
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA  95064

By E-Mail:

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