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F. W. Olin Library


Reference and Information Desk
Telephone number 510.430.2385. This line is answered by reference staff during library hours. Please note that, although the library is open, this line may transfer to voicemail if the staff is assisting other patrons in the library. Please leave a message and your call will be returned.

This is the starting point for your explorations in the Olin Library. Ask your questions here—from simple locational directions to help in planning a research project.

General Information

The Library is open 88 hours per week during the semester. Reference librarians are available until 9:00 pm weekdays and until 6:00 pm Sundays to help students organize their research efforts and make the best use of their library resources. Library staff also teaches students how to find and use bibliographic resources pertinent to specific needs or assignments.

The traditional card catalog has been replaced with MINERVA, our Online Public Access web-based catalog which is accessible throughout the library. In addition, students can have access to the library catalog from any location on- or off- campus if they have an Internet connection. 

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Request a Book through ILL

Request a Journal Article through ILL

Please note that all ILL items are subject to recall and recalled items must be brought back to the library immediately.

Patrons are responsible for any overdue or replacement fees charged by the lending library.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a cooperative agreement among participating libraries to provide materials such as books, journal articles, etc. to other libraries upon request. Interlibrary loan services are available to current Mills students, faculty and staff. ILL generally takes about 2 weeks to obtain an item. Due to the costs involved in interlibrary loan, the Library may limit the number of requests per user. Currently, there is a limit of 30 ILL requests per academic year.  The maximum number of active requests is 5 items at a time.

Always check the Mills catalog, Minerva, as well as fulltext databases, before submitting a request. Librarians are always available to help. Please phone 510.430.2385, or stop by in person at the Reference Desk.

The Mills Library will try to borrow almost any item that is requested. However, some materials may be difficult, or sometimes impossible, to obtain. These include: rare books, manuscripts, reference books, theses and dissertations, audio-visual materials, and whole issues of periodicals. 

The loan period for materials borrowed on ILL is set by the lending library. It is usually two to four weeks from the date of mailing. Often materials lent on ILL may not be renewed. We will contact you by phone or email when the item arrives at the Mills Library. Please be sure to pick it up promptly. The borrower is financially responsible for any damage or loss of materials from the time an item is picked up until it is returned.

Books and other materials borrowed on ILL should be promptly returned to the Mills Library Circulation Desk on or before the due date. A paper band on the outside of the book usually indicates the due date. This band should not be removed. Please be aware that different items will usually have different due dates. Failure to return items on time or in good condition may jeopardize this service for you and others.

Use the "Request a Book" form to initiate an interlibrary loan for a book, score or other non-periodical item. It is important to provide complete and accurate information about the book that you need. Complete information makes it easier to fill the request quickly. The lending library is under no obligation to decipher missing information.

Many articles are available through library online subscriptions in a fulltext format. Click here to check for ejournal availability. Also, check Minerva to determine if Mills has a print subscription to the journal you need.

If you need to request a journal article via ILL please remember the following:

Provide complete journal title information. Many journals may have similar titles. Give the title exactly as it appears in your citation, even if it is an abbreviation.

The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is the most accurate way to identify a journal. Always provide it if you can.

Volume and issue numbers are crucial. A volume may have many issues and it is important to be as specific as possible. Publication date and page numbers of the article are also very important.

Reference Books

With few exceptions, reference books are shelved on the long diagonal stacks in call number order. Just as history books in the circulating stacks are cataloged as 900, so, for example, are the history reference books in REF 900. General encyclopedias are REF 030. MINERVA indicates when a book is in Reference.

Services for Disabled Students

Reference librarians are the primary "interpreters" of services for the disabled in the sense that they will help the student take advantage of what is available. To the extent that they are able, reference librarians will give individualized assistance, including retrieving reference books from shelves. Phone for an appointment if you are working on a large project. The Circulation Department staff will assist in retrieving materials from the general stacks and help with photocopying.

The Library, in cooperation with the Dean of Students Office, will provide readers from the student body to assist the visually impaired with study in the Library.

Using other Libraries

Obtaining UC Library Card 

Mills students may buy a UC Berkeley Library borrower's card for $100, valid for the academic year. Show your current Mills ID and a California drivers license (or official California ID) and pay by check at the Doe (Main) Library Service Desk during regular business hours. The card confers borrowing privileges. At many UCB libraries, you may use materials in the building without purchasing a card. 




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P: 510.430.2196
E: askalib@mills.edu

Last Updated: 9/11/17