A person doing research on the computer


The California State Library offers a wealth of resources and information to assist your research on family history, patents, California history and law, state symbols and much more. Through its California Research Bureau, the State Library also provides nonpartisan research and expedited reference help to staff and members of the Legislature and Governor’s Office.

Our librarians have spent hundreds of hours developing research guides to help you find information and materials in our collection for specific California topics, such as railroads in California, California Native Americans, land grants, mining, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, and much more.
Since 1991, the California Research Bureau has provided independent, nonpartisan, timely and confidential policy research or analysis to the Legislature, the Governor’s Office and other Constitutional Officers. The Research Bureau also provides expedited reference help to the Governor and Legislature.
To augment the collections of the California State Library, we provide access to third party online resources such as California demographic and law databases, newspaper articles, academic journals and much more. The State Library’s online resources are available to all state government officials and employees at their worksite or remotely with a State Library card, as well as to members of the general public who visit the State Library reading rooms.
Access our genealogy toolkit to start your family history research with helpful links and a chart creator. Visit one of our reading rooms open to the public to access California county genealogy indexes, files that contain information on people in California history or third party genealogy databases.
As a designated Patent and Trademark Resource Center, the California State Library can provide free access to electronic and print patent and trademark resources, and our staff can assist with general questions and provide assistance and instruction in the use of patent and trademark resources.
Our skilled librarians can assist you in locating library materials. Submit requests online at Ask A Librarian, by email at, or by phone at 916-323-9843. Members and staff of the state Legislature and Governor's Office may contact the California Research Bureau for reference help.
Learn about California’s state symbols, which are set by law. While most people know the state animal is the California grizzly bear, did you know there is a state dinosaur (Augustynolophus morrisi), a state insect (California dogface butterfly), a state dance (West Coast swing) or that the state has 40 symbols?
To augment its collection of information and resources, California State Library staff have selected and organized links to websites containing information on federal statistics and data, California history, local California government agencies, selected federal and state agencies, and much more.