California Room - Local History Collection

Clipping of the 1891 Sanborn Map for San Jose, California, one of the many maps found in the California Room. California Room logo: silhouette of the state animal, a grizzly bear

Welcome to the California Room

The California Room collects materials on California history with an emphasis on San Jose and Santa Clara Valley.

Our collections are non-circulating and may not be removed from the room. Many materials are unique and fragile. Special rules for handling are required for their preservation.

Due to staffing and the time involved, staff are unable to provide research assistance beyond simple lookups of indexed materials.

More Details on Visiting and Using the California Room


150 E. San Fernando St., San José, CA 95112

Shane Curtin
Shane Curtin


Monday 1 PM - 6 PM
Tuesday 11 AM - 6 PM
Wednesday 11 AM - 6 PM
Thursday 11 AM - 6 PM
Friday 11 AM - 6 PM
Saturday 1 PM - 6 PM
Sunday Closed

  Holiday Closures

California Room Index

This source indexes materials not found in the library catalog including maps, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and research collections that pertain to people, places, and events in California, San Jose, and Santa Clara County history. The A-Z index is helpful if you are not sure of spelling. More about the Index

House and Property Research

A guide to resources for property research

Genealogy Tips

A guide to genealogy resources in the area

Obituary Searching

Obituary-searching tips and resources.

Santa Clara County History Organizations

Institutions that have a mission of preserving Santa Clara County history.

Timeline of San José History

A timeline of significant dates in San José history

Media Archive

Browse our audiovisual collection, including documentaries, radio spots, TV news features, and more.

Top Collections

Aerial Photography

The aerial collection includes oblique and flyover aerials.

Building Permits

San Jose building permits in print, digitized, and on microfilm.

Directories, City of San Jose and Vicinity

This collection includes city directories for San José, San Francisco, and other cities in print, on microfilm, or online as well as Haines Criss Cross directories and phone books.

Newspapers and Clippings

This collection includes clipping files, scrapbooks and microfilm of area newspapers.


The Historic Photograph Collection includes over 2,500 historical images focused on San Jose and Santa Clara County.

School Yearbooks

This collection includes yearbooks from high schools, middle schools and universities within Santa Clara County.

Latest Blogs

Looking Back: The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

Ralph's 100th blog post looks back at the storied life of a Santa Clara Valley rancher.

Ralph Pearce
12/22/2022 - 5:30 PM

Dedication to a Librarian Who Lived and Breathed Library Service: Margaret Fitch

Late librarian Margaret Fitch was a truly dedicated librarian and Friend of the Library who left an indelible mark in her community.

Ila Langner
11/23/2022 - 10:00 PM

Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving - Native American Heritage Month

Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving: It's Complicated.

Lisa Mejia
11/17/2022 - 8:09 AM