Coming Soon! Look for a new and improved!

California History Section Services

Rob doing research

Reference and Research Assistance

Library staff is on hand to offer guidance to researchers who visit the California History Room and to assist in the use of the catalogs, information files, and other finding aids. We may also be able to direct you to individuals and institutions that have additional information.

Librarians can provide short answers to questions about California history. You can ask questions by telephone, e-mail, mail, or fax.

Unfortunately, the California History Section does not have the staff resources to provide the following services:

  • Look-ups in death or marriage indexes
  • Look-ups in city directories or telephone directories
  • Obituary searches
  • Copies of articles from newspaper microfilm.
  • In-depth research

We can provide you with a list of private researchers who may be able to help you for a fee.


Current State employees may borrow circulating materials directly from the library. For more information see Services to State Government. A borrowing card can also be obtained by joining the California State Library Foundation at the contributor level or above.

If you are not a current State employee or a CSL Foundation member, you may borrow circulating materials though interlibrary loan. To initiate an interlibrary loan request, tell your local library (public, academic, or organization library) the title and date of the item that you need, and ask them to send the request to us. We do not charge for this service, but there may be a charge from your local library. (Interlibrary loan departments should review our interlibrary loan instructions.)

Please note that some materials-including all rare materials, materials in special collections such as photographs and prints, and materials labeled "NC" (non-circulating)-do not circulate and must be viewed on site. (A catalog status of "Available" does not indicate that an item circulates; it only indicates that the item is available for use.)

Photocopy services

Photographic Reproduction Services