Please review these frequently asked questions and answers to learn more about the library. More information is also available in the 'Services' section on this page. If a question is not answered here, please use our help page.

Where is the library located and how can I get there?

The library is located on the first floor of Building 30 at San Francisco General Hospital; go to the SFDPH Patient and Visitor Information page for a campus map, driving and transportation information.

Free Shuttles to ZSFG are available. For current schedules, visit the UCSF Transportation website.

What are your hours?

Monday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm

The library is closed on state and federal holidays. Reference librarians are available to assist you during business hours.

Who can use the library?

  • ZSFG and UCSF staff
  • Students from UCSF and other schools and programs
  • Faculty from UCSF and other institutions
  • Patients and their families
  • Members of the public

All are welcome to use the library and its resources, both print and electronic materials. Public access computers are available free of charge for the public to use to research health topics; however, members of the public are asked to limit their computer time to one hour per day.

ZSFG and UCSF staff members have specially designated computers for their use. Please ask at the desk for more information.

Reference librarians are usually available to assist you during regular business hours.

I'm a DPH employee. What library services can I access?

All patrons, including UCSF and DPH employees and members of the public, can check out books from the ZSFG Reads collection. No library card or ID is required; we operate on a free library model.

DPH employees are eligible for UCSF borrowing accounts and can borrow books from the UCSF Libraries at Parnassus and Mission Bay. DPH employees cannot request interlibrary loan books.

DPH employees can reserve conference rooms, use staff computers in the library, and request journal articles with our online form or by emailing ZSFGLibraryInterlibraryLoan@ucsf.edu.

Some UCSF Library resources are only available on UCSF computers, so DPH employees must come to the library to access them. This includes ebooks and some databases.

How do I contact the library staff?


General information: (415) 206-3114

Interlibrary loan: (415) 206-2893



How do I reserve a library meeting room?

The library offers two conference rooms for UCSF staff and ZSFG staff to use. See Conference Rooms for details about the facilities available. (PLEASE NOTE: one of the rooms, Room 3208, will not be available for booking for some time after October 2018 due to a long-term booking currently scheduled through 2020.)

Do you have photocopying and printing capabilities?

The Library's combined photocopier/printer is located on the first floor of the library. It is available for free copying or printing out of any medically-related texts or materials; no other materials can be copied or printed out. Access to copying and printing is handled by desk staff.

Reproduction and redistribution of copyrighted documents may be restricted by Federal law (Title 17, US Code). The Library provides copying services for your convenience but does not assume responsibility for copyright issues.

For information concerning copyright issues, visit the UC Copyright Education Web Site.

How do I get started?

Library staff are always available to help you with your information needs and may be able to save you some valuable time. Although all staff members are trained to handle basic requests, it's best to speak to a reference librarian if you need in-depth research help or have a complicated medical question. You may make an appointment with a reference librarian by calling (415) 206-6639 or (415) 206-6638.

Where's the restroom?

There are restrooms for public use near the library entrance. Please ask for the key at the Circulation Desk. Please follow all policy and information signs.

Who can use the computers at the library?

Anyone can use the public computers in the library. Public access computers are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Members of the public are asked to register at the Circulation Desk and to limit their computer time to one hour per day. All the other computers are reserved for use by ZSFG and UCSF personnel; DPH and/or ZSFG ID cards are required to use these computers, and must be displayed by these patrons.

More information can be found on our computers page. All users are asked to comply with the library policies.

Can I send email and look up topics on the Internet?

Yes. The Library uses the Google Chrome, Internet Explorer® and FireFox® web browsers. Double-click on the desktop icon to access the Internet and conduct web searches. You can also use web-based email accounts (UCSF Outlook Web, yahoo, gmail, etc.) to send and receive email messages.

What else can I access on the library computers?

The computers in the Library provide access to not only the electronic resources purchased by the ZSFG Library, but also to the electronic books, journals, and databases licensed by the UCSF library. Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Excel, Powerpoint is installed on all library computers. 

Can I access library resources from my home computer?

The ZSFG Library website, publicly available databases (PubMed), and publicly available online journals are available from your home computer.

ZSFG Library licensed databases and online journals are only available on ZSFG/DPH networked computers, UCSF networked compters located at ZSFG, and computers in the Library. There is currently no remote access.

UCSF licensed databases and online journals are accessible on all UCSF-networked computers, in the ZSFG library,and from your home computer using UCSF Remote Access VPN. VPN is only available to UCSF, staff students and faculty.

Can I borrow library materials?

  • All patrons are welcome to check out materials in our ZSFG Reads collection. See the ZSFG Reads page for more information.
  • Books in the Consumer Health and Cultural Diversity sections are non-circulating.
  • Books in the UCSF Library collection can be borrowed by UCSF and ZSFG staff, faculty, and students who are eligible for a UCSF borrowing account. These books can be delivered to ZSFG via interlibrary loan and picked up at the ZSFG Library.

How do I find books here or in the general UCSF Library collection?

  • At present ZSFG Reads books aren't catalogued -- feel free to come in and browse!  
  • To find books, videos, and other library materials in the UCSF Library collection, search the UCSF catalog. Some books are also available online in the library, from any computer on the UCSF network, or via UCSF Remote Access VPN.
  • UCSF users with a UCSF Borrowing account can borrow books from the UCSF library or any other UC libraries and have them delivered to the ZSFG Library. You can sign up for a UCSF borrowing account at the ZSFG Library if you bring in your UCSF ID card.
  • If you don't find what you are looking for in the catalog and you are a ZSFG or UCSF staff, student or faculty member you can request books through the ZSFG interlibrary borrowing service.
  • To request book delivery:
    • Find books in the UCSF Catalog.
    • Go to the catalog entry for the book(s) you want order and click on “Request Item” at the top of the page.
    • Enter your name and your 14 digit library borrowing number beginning with 21378 on your UCSF campus-wide picture identification card.
    • Select SFGH Library as your pick -up location.
  • Books are usually delivered within 5-7 days and you will be notified when your items are ready to be picked up at the ZSFG Library.

How do I find journals?

ZSFG and UCSF subsidize access to many online journals. You can look up journals by title on the following lists. It’s sometimes easiest to find a specific journal article by searching a database like PubMed and finding out if it’s available full text to you online free of charge. We offer classes on searching for articles and you can always use our form if you need help locating articles.

Most of the free online journals from the sources listed below are also available when you search PubMed.

Will the library borrow materials from other libraries for me?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services are available to UCSF/ZSFG faculty, staff and students on the ZSFG campus for journal articles and books not available in the library's collection or via online subscriptions. See our ILL page to order online.

Can I request a book from the Parnassus library or the Mission Bay library and pick it up at the ZSFG Library?

Yes, please follow these steps to borrow books from the UCSF library and have them delivered to the ZSFG Library. You must have a UCSF borrowing account to use this service.