Moffitt Library entrance policy prompts access concerns

Jihoon Park/Staff

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The campus implemented new rules for non-UC Berkeley student access to Moffitt Library earlier this month in an effort to limit overcrowding in the recently reopened fourth and fifth floors.

People with blue library cards available for purchase by California residents — are no longer permitted to enter Moffitt Library through either third- or fourth-floor entrances. Some community members have found, however, that without the third-floor entrance to Moffitt, adjacent to Free Speech Movement Café, they are no longer able to reach Gardner Main Stacks.

Anne Finger, an Oakland resident and blue library card holder who uses a wheelchair, said she has relied on the lower Moffitt Library entrance for years to reach Gardner Main Stacks and that both entrances through Doe Library are on too steep of a slope for her to access.

“I said I have no choice, you can call security if you want,” she said, recounting her discussion with the front desk. “Using the library is really important to me.”

Both entrances to Doe Library are ADA accessible, according to handouts available at Moffitt Library detailing the policy change.

The change is intended to ensure the newly reopened floors of Moffitt Library are primarily used by the campus community.

“Moffitt Library services are designed with the Berkeley campus community as the primary audience,” said University Library spokesperson Tiffany Grandstaff in an email. “We want to continue to meet that population’s need as much as possible.”

The handout noted that beyond access to the space itself, these services entail lending laptops and chargers, a student tech help desk, a computing lab, lockers, a wellness room, campus classrooms and a media center.

Students have packed the study spaces on the fourth and fifth floors at Moffitt since it reopened after more than a year of renovations.

“Every time I’ve been here it’s been crowded, so I’m on my way to Main Stacks,” said UC Berkeley junior Jack Egber in Moffitt.

While blue library card holders still have access to Gardner Main Stacks during Doe Library hours, which end at 9 p.m., library staff could not confirm whether this affected their access to Gardner Main Stacks, which along with Moffitt Library remains open until 2 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday.

“It’s odd, because, once in the stacks I can exit through the Moffitt lobby – so why prevent me from entering through that way in the first place?,” said Lowell Moorcroft, who purchased his blue card through the Cal Alumni Association, in an email.

Other non-UC Berkeley groups have access to Main Gardner Stacks and borrowing privileges, including affiliates of other UC campuses, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University.

Alexander Barreira is the university news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @abarreira_dc.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Lowell Moorcroft is a UC Berkeley alumnus. In fact, he purchased a blue library card through the Cal Alumni Association but did not graduate from UC Berkeley.