Tours of the Historic State Library Building

Gillis Hall, Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building Welcome to the California State Library in the historic Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building.

The State Library, older than the state itself, began with several books donated on December 22, 1849 by Colonel J.D. Stevenson. Colonel Stevenson presented the books to the State Legislature in San Jose to establish a state library. California was admitted to the Union on September 9, 1850 becoming the 31st state in the Nation.

The Library was located in different locations before finding its permanent home in the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building, which was completed in 1928. Recent renovations of the building have brought it back to its original splendor.


Docent-led tour – If you are interested in a tour of the State Library, led by a knowledgeable docent, here's some information. Tours are scheduled Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, by appointment. The limit per tour group is 15. After filling out the online form, or calling the tour scheduler phone line at 916-653-1440, allow two full business days for a response.

Self-guided tour – You can explore the public areas of the Library without a docent during regular business hours 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You can simply download a brochure from our website or pick up one in the Memorial Vestibule (lobby).

Virtual tours – Another way to find out more about the Library is to take one of our virtual tours. You can check out the Historic Library and Courts Building: An Architectural Treasure, which focuses on historical photographs and contemporary images of the library and its architectural features. You can also take our interactive virtual tour of the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Renovation, which highlights images before, during and after the renovation.

Thank you for visiting. Explore the history and architecture and wonder of the California State Library by scheduling a tour today.