The California periodical collection features more than 4,000 magazine, journal, and newsletter titles. The collection ranges in date from the first issue of the state's first periodical, the Pioneer in 1856, to the latest issues of current magazines. Uncommon titles include Hutchings California Magazine, Grizzly Bear, the Wasp, the Argonaut, Overland Monthly, and Mining & Scientific Press.
The collection covers all aspects of life in California, from scholarly journals to popular culture. It is particularly strong in titles representative of business, industry, and social and cultural organizations. Periodicals from historical societies and genealogical societies throughout California are also included.
The majority of the newspapers are preserved on over 135,000 microfilm reels. Current subscriptions are complemented by the State Library's subscription to electronic versions of selected California newspapers through Newsbank Inc.
The State Library Catalog can be used to identify the periodical titles and holdings ranges in the collection. Articles in selected periodicals are indexed in the California Information File. This is supplemented by indexes to individual titles located in the California History Room.
All periodicals can be used for research by visiting the California History Room. Periodicals from the circulating collection can be borrowed. Sample and rare periodicals 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.) Cameras may be used, without flash, to make reference copies. The use of scanners is not allowed.
A self-service photocopier in the Reading Room can be used to make copies from periodicals that are not in the rare collection. Photocopies of sample periodicals can be made by library staff only. Rare periodicals cannot be photocopied and can be reproduced by photographic reproduction or microfilming only. Some rare periodicals are available on microfilm, and prints can be made from the film.
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.