To request a book or DVD, please email our librarian.
We have a large library that is now housed at the Millikan Library on campus. You may see what books are available using the Caltech Library catalog.
To search the Caltech Library catalog, do a subject search for "Caltech alpine club". The exact search tag is "Caltech Alpine Club collection". You may also search by title, author, etc. just as you would for any book at the library. The location of our books is listed as "Millikan 9 Alpine Collection". The books are physically located on the 9th floor of Millikan Library directly across from the elevator, and the shelf is well labeled. Because all the books are physically housed together, it is amenable to browsing. You can also browse the books in the library without checking them out; the photocopiers are on the first floor. If you don't have a Caltech ID that works with the photocopiers, you can talk to the librarians and get a copy card. The charge is reasonable, about 10 cents / page.
The checkout period system we're doing is unique. We're classifying our materials into three categories: DVDs, long-term, and short-term. DVDs are on the library's standard 3-day DVD rental system. Long-term books are on the library's standard checkout period, which is usually the length of the semester, and you may renew/recall online (please do not hesitate to recall an item if you want it).
Guidebooks are in the short-term checkout category, which should be 5 days (but this may change). The idea is that you have enough time to borrow them for a weekend, and still return them (and let them get processed) in time for someone else to use them next weekend. Guidebooks to out-of-state areas, as well as novels, are in the long-term category.
It's important to return books promptly, since they must be processed. If you return a guidebook on Friday morning, no one will be able to check it out in time for the weekend! It's easy to return books now, because there are library drop-off slots across campus (and perhaps even at JPL?).
Please return long-term checkout books when you're done with them, and don't assume they aren't in demand just because no one has recalled them, since many people are hesitant or too polite to recall books.
The general public cannot checkout books, but they can browse (between the hours of 9-5 on weekdays) and make photocopies. JPL employees can register for free to get a library card and then enjoy full privileges. The same is probably true for all Caltech affiliates, e.g. Hunting Library research staff.
If you have book requests (new books, or duplicate copies of very popular books), please contact the current club librarian (see Officers). We try to carry all the available guidebooks on local areas (and have 2 or more copies of very popular areas), and a good representation of other CA areas. We also add non-guide books, like instructional books and climbing related fiction. We'd like to add about 20 books per year. We also accept personal donations, so please consider this.
Our complete collection of Tom Harrison maps, along with all our equipment, is still at the Caltech Y.
- The Michael J. Ybarra Memorial Collection The family of Michael Ybarra has graciously donated over 50 books from Michael's collection to the Alpine Club library.
- The Drew Dembowski Collection Drew Dembowski has donated over 150 classic books to our collection. These are mostly hardcover first editions from authors like Bonnington, Hillary, Messner, Shipton, and more.
Book Reviews by Club Members
You can check out our book reviews here. Please email the club librarian if you'd like to add a review, or even if you have a favorite quote from an Alpine book you're reading.