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, 8 pm - 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 patrons are asked to use the computers in the library’s computer lab. Library staff can help you locate specific information and explain how to use the resources.

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

How do I contact the library staff?


General information: (415) 206-3114

Interlibrary loan: (415) 206-2893

Fax: (415) 206-6102



Specific staff information can be found at our LibGuides page under 'Subjects and Librarians.'

How do I reserve a library meeting room?

The library offers two conference rooms for UCSF staff and ZSFG staff to use. For room availability and scheduling, please contact the library circulation desk at (415) 206-3114. See Conference Rooms for details about the facilities available.

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 copying non-circulating library materials, including journal articles, and printing from the computers. Copy and printing price is $0.35 per page.

All computer printing requires either payment by cash or via departmental copy codes. For more information, please ask library staff at the front desk.

The photocopier accepts both money (bills up to $5 and coins) or departmental copy codes. Please check with your administrative contact for information about your departmental code.

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 computers in the library. Public access computers near the front of the library 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 in the library including the workstations in and outside of the computer lab are reserved for use by ZSFG and UCSF personnel.

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 accoucts, ( 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 SFGH 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?

ZSFG and UCSF staff, students and faculty may check out books, videos and other circulating library material for a two-week period and may request renewals by calling (415) 206-3114.

How do I find books?

To find books, videos, and other library materials located in the ZSFG Library search the UCSF catalog. Some reference and textbooks books are also available online. For detailed search tips see: Help using the UCSF catalog.

  • Look for ZSFG books under LOCATION.
  • If you see "Click on the following to access the electronic resource" the book will be available electronically in the library, from any computer on the UCSF network, or via UCSF Remote Access VPN.

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.

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.

To request book delivery:

  1. Find books in the MELVYL catalog
  2. Put a check in the box next to the book(s) you want order and click on "Request"
  3. Enter your 14 digit library borrowing number beginning with 21378 on your UCSF campus-wide picture identification card.
  4. Be sure to select UCSF ZSFG 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 SFGH Library.

How do I find journals?

ZSFG and UCSF subsidize access to many online journals. Some print journals go back as far as 1981. Although many journal subscriptions have been cancelled because of online availability, we are still receiving approximately 75 titles in paper format. 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.