Visiting the California History Room
Anyone is welcome to visit the California History Room to use the resources. Appointments are not necessary. However, if you expect to be using a quantity of special materials, it can speed retrieval if you let us know ahead of time when you will visit and what you will want to see.
Before you arrive, you may want to read one or more of our research guides.
The California History Room is in the California State Library building located at 900 N Street between 9 th and 10 th Streets in downtown Sacramento. The Reading Room is on the second floor in Room 200.
Hours are Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m., excluding California state holidays.
When you arrive
All bags and boxes-including purses, fanny packs, laptop cases, backpacks, file boxes, etc.-must be stored in a locker before entering the California History Room. To protect the collection, no food or drink is allowed in the Reading Room. Also, we ask that you use pencils instead of pens. We have a pencil vending machine; pencils cost 25 cents each.
To preserve the research atmosphere, cell phone ringers must be turned off, and any necessary calls must be conducted outside of the Reading Room.
If you wish to use materials from the closed stacks or special collections, you must first register as an in-house patron. This requires completing a short form and showing us a drivers license or other photo ID. Registration is valid for two years.
Materials from our special collections-including photographs, manuscript materials, maps, vertical file materials, ephemera, and rare books-must be viewed in our Rare Materials Reading Room. This room is climate controlled to protect the collections housed there, and it can be chilly. If you expect to be working with special collection materials, you may want to bring a sweater or jacket, regardless of the season.
If you plan on making copies from our microfilm collection, we suggest that you bring rolls of quarters. Each print from the microfilm reader/printers costs a quarter, and we have very limited change available. We are able to provide only $5.00 in change per patron, and we cannot accept any denomination larger than a $10 bill.
The photocopy machine costs 15 cents per exposure and takes $1 bills and all coins except pennies. Much of the material in the California History Room is considered rare and may not be photocopied by patrons. Some material may be copied by staff on preservation photocopy machines for a fee, and some material may not be photocopied under any circumstances due to its condition. More information is available at Photocopy Services.
Cameras may be used, without flash, to make reference copies of items in the California History Room collection. The use of personal scanners to capture images of items in the collection is not allowed.
We also have book and microform scanners. These scanners do not print copies but you can email scans to yourself or copy scans to a flashdrive free of charge. You may wish to bring a flashdrive with you for these machines.