Somewhat by accident I found this fantastic resource. I was doing some research on a Civil War project I've been working on, and checking references on the University of California (UC) Berkeley's online library catalog (http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/). I found what I was looking for, by name and author in the university's library, but the volume I wanted was listed as off-site at the "NRLF." Interestingly enough, volumes on either side of what I needed where at the library, but what I was looking for wasn't...it was listed as at the NRLF, or what I later learned was the university's Northern Regional Library Facility in Richmond California, just about 10 miles north of the main campus. I did some online digging around and found the web presence for the NRLF (http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/nrlf). From what I read, I would be able to view the item, in this case a journal, at the NRLF. I called to conform. Yes, just walk in, fill out a slip and they will pull what I needed. I put everything into my Research Log and got ready. I would pair my visit with other research I already had planned at the main university library.
The NRLF is a little off the beaten path. It is located in a commercial section of Richmond, near the
Berkeley Marina. San Francisco is clearly seen across the bay. Their website has very good directions, although there is no given address that could be used for GPS navigation. Generally, they are at Meade Street and South 47th Street in Richmond, 94804. Meade is off of Bayview Ave., on the bay side of the 508 Freeway. I highly suggest going there on Google Maps and street view first. I did, and still drove past it! Look for the big blue sign that says Berkeley Global Campus.
Once inside, I found a very helpful college student working behind the reception counter. She took the information on the journal and within a few minutes I had the bound book. There is a very nice Reading Room at the facility. They also have computers, a copy machine, and even a microfilm viewer. Restrooms down the hall.
I had the place to myself. I got the impression most students from the main campus don't visit there much. University students and researchers connected to the school can request a PDF of whatever they want emailed to them. For the solo, and otherwise unattached genealogist this wasn't an option. Likewise, unless you have a university library card, nothing is leaving the building. Onsite research only.
I took the requisite photos of what I found and was done. Well worth the visit.
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