Frequently Asked Questions


How can I use the Library from my office or home?
Use the Library's web site to access online peer-reviewed journals, search scholarly databases, request services, chat with a librarian, and much more. Please view this short video introduction to our web site.
How extensive is Cal Poly's book collection? What about access to journals?
Cal Poly has a collection of approximately 600K books, over 11,000 electronic journals, 2000 print journals, and an annual collections budget of approximately $1.5 million. Cal Poly's participation in major electronic resource purchases made through CSU-wide licenses helps provide access to major research journals from publishers such as Springer, Elsevier, IEEE, ACM, and Sage.
How can I suggest a purchase to the Library?
Use our online form.
We encourage you also to email or talk to your College Librarian, who selects resources in print and electronic format for your college.
What are my borrowing privileges?

Your Cal Poly ID is your borrower's card. The barcode / ID number is also used to access your personal borrowing account (My Account/My PolyCat). The Cal Poly Portal Library tab will summarize your borrowing activity and link to My Polycat.

The faculty borrowing period for most Cal Poly-owned materials (books) is 90 days. You have unlimited renewals, unless another patron has requested the book. You'll be responsible for lost materials but will not be charged late fees.

How can I get books or articles that Cal Poly doesn't have?

We offer an active interlibrary borrowing service. You can directly request any of the 7+ million books available through a regional network, Link +, that includes many other CSU campuses as well as several major public libraries. Link+ items are on loan for 21 days and must be renewed 2 days before their due date. You'll get a courtesy email two days before the due date, at which point you can request a renewal for 10 days online via My PolyCat.

If the item you want is an article, a standard, or a book not available through Link+, submit your interlibrary loan request online.

Most articles will be delivered electronically to you via email.

How can I put things on course reserve?

Library staff will digitize course readings you've selected to supplement required textbooks. Once we've placed your readings within your course PolyLearn site, you have full control over the organization and presentation of your digital reserves.

Print course reserves services are also provided for Library materials or items loaned by faculty from personal collections.

Go to our Course Reserves page to learn how to submit and provide access to print and electronic course reserve materials.

What services does the library offer students?
  • Friendly help with course reserves and class assignments
  • Expert help and one-on-one consultation for students working on their senior projects.
  • 24 hour study space after the main library closes
  • Main library opens at 7 am Mon-Friday and doesn't close till 2 am Sun-Thurs.
  • 300 computers
  • 40 check-out laptops
  • Adaptive Technology Lab for students working with the Disability Resource Center
  • 19 group study rooms
  • Tutoring and group study space for students working with Academic Skills Center
  • A special group study room for graduate students
  • On-site coffee/food
  • On-site standard and specialty copying and printing service (Cal Poly Print & Copy)
I hear the Library has computer labs. Can I schedule them for my class?
There are four labs available through University Scheduling. You may also email to discuss your space needs. To check the lab schedule and learn more about the labs go to our Computing page.
What is "DigitalCommons@CalPoly" and how can it help me?

DigitalCommons is a free Library service that will increase visibility and access of your research and contribute to the growing culture of sharing research findings with the world. DigitalCommons@Cal Poly launched in fall 2008 and today features 8,000 items downloaded over 285,000 times.
» Visit the DigitalCommons web site

If you would like to contribute your content to the DigitalCommons@CalPoly, contact Michele Wyngard, Digital Repository Coordinator.

DigitalCommons@Cal Poly was recently expanded to provide digital copies of Cal Poly graduate student theses and senior projects.

Interested in scholarly communication, digital scholarship, or author rights? Copyright and scholarly communication in the digital age present both choices and challenges. The Kennedy Library offers guidance on copyright and fair use, and can help you make informed publishing choices. See our web site for more information.

What are the Library's plans for the future?
Cal Poly is working now to plan a major addition to the Library, with 21st century spaces to support campus academic activities.
» Read more about the exciting plans for the new Academic Center and Library