Access for Special Borrowers

Print collections

While the ULS provides reasonable access to the collections for all categories of users, the ULS does make a distinction between access (library use) and borrowing (home use) privileges. In general, guests may request items from the Thomas Blvd location for use on-site at the Archives Service Center or use the collections at ULS locations, but cannot borrow materials for use at home without a Special Borrower's Card. 

Please note that priority is given to the University's faculty, students, and staff, and services for other visitors are subject to some restrictions on their use. Visitors may not find the same kinds of information or resources that they encounter in a neighborhood library or at their own academic institution.

  • If you are not affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, you may purchase a Special Borrower's Card at Hillman Library. The cost of the card is $20 for Pitt alumni lifetime (membership card required), $25 for Pitt alumni (confirmed via Pitt Alumni Office Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-4 p.m.), and $100 for all others. Please present a valid photo ID. 
  • The card is valid for a period of one year but DOES NOT permit access to library-licensed online resources.
  • Non-Pitt patrons without a ULS Special Borrower card may request to view up to five items from the Thomas Blvd location by emailing us with your request. Please note: requests for materials may take 3-4 business days to be fulfilled and materials will be made available for access in the Archives Service Center Reading Room or in the Special Collections Reading Room (under certain circumstances, as needed), or contact local libraries to inquire about available Inter-Library Loan services.
  • Archives, manuscripts, and rare book collections are available through Archives & Special Collections. Contact us for more information. 
  • Certain library resources are available to the public, including special digital collections, any open access electronic books and journals, and PittCat, the online library catalog
  • Information on reciprocal borrowing service for Carnegie Mellon University faculty, students, and staff can be found here.
  • If you are affiliated with an institution that participates in PALCI/EZBorrow you can place requests for ULS materials through your home institution. Faculty affiliated with PALCI/EZBorrow institutions may be able to borrow direct. Please check with your institution for eligibility. 

Online Services

  • Assistance is available in using PittCat, the online library catalog. Questions? Ask Us!
  • For services available through Archives & Special Collections, please see our web site or Ask an Archivist
  • Brief answers to user reference queries will be provided virtually. For queries that require extensive research, visitors should consult their own institutions' libraries or their public libraries, where further services may be available. Users from Allegheny County, for example, can take advantage of the resources and services of the EIN and the Carnegie Public Library
  • Access to Pitt’s licensed electronic resources is available upon request. Visitors from the community and visiting academics may ask for a temporary guest computer account password at any ULS library. Valid photo ID is required. The temporary guest password may be used at any ULS public device. Please note that there is no printing service associated with access to our electronic resources and the ability to download content may be restricted by certain content providers. Your access will expire at the end of the day (11:00 p.m.) you received the password.
  • Information on other types of guest options can be found through University of Pittsburgh IT.
  • Questions? Ask us!