State Spotlight:
California Department of Conservation's
California Geological Survey Library

The California Geological Survey Library (CGSL), a service of the Department of Conservation, is open to the public for reference and research. Established in 1880, the library houses over 20,000 books, reports, maps, photographs, journals, and periodicals pertaining to the earth sciences and California's geology. 

The CGSL is particularly concerned with the geology of California, the study of which demands mapping in diverse forms.  Items in the CGSL collection include scientific maps of the types, ages, and extents of different rock masses in California;  the locations and types of mineral deposits in the state, the locations and extent of potentially hazardous minerals in the state;  the locations of geologic hazards such as faults or landslides and the risks from earthquakes, landslides, or debris flows in specific areas of the state; listings of the effects of different climates in the state especially with respect to the geography in which they occur.   

According to the CGSLs Senior Librarian Pam Ryan, the CGSL has a customer base that extends beyond CGSL staff, and state and federal agency employees. Anyone interested in Californias diverse physical or business environments from teachers, students, and parents to attorneys, historians, miners, genealogists, contractors, developers, consultants, and even tourists, can enjoy the CGSLs specialized library services. 

The CGSLs diverse customers come to the library seeking information on a wide variety of topics. Ryan reports that many customers contact the CGSL for information for real estate investment purposes. These people want to know about earthquake or landslide risks and mineral resource or mineral hazards particularly. 

Like earthquake data, mining is also a popular topic at this California state agency library. Ryan says she and her staff receive mining questions on claims, on historic mines and mining, on types of mining operations, on family genealogy related to specific mines, on how to find gold and other precious metals, and on the value of old mining stocks.  Other customers inquire about historic photographs of mines, mining equipment, and publications and maps that the CGSL sells.

Staff in California libraries may request CGSL materials through interlibrary loan channels at the California State Library or local public libraries. For more information about the California Geological Survey Library please visit 




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