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

Access to the California Room is unavailable while libraries are closed due to COVID-19. The digital collection is always available online.

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

The California Room 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 care and protection.

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

California Room resources for researching the history of your house.

Genealogy Tips

Web resources about genealogy selected for you by librarians.

Obituary Searching

Obituary-searching tips and resources selected for you by librarians.

Santa Clara County History Organizations

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

Timeline of San José History

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

Aerial Photography

The aerial collection includes aerial and street level photographs from the City of San Jose Planning Division (1931, 1948, 1960, 1968, 1981) from Fairchild Aerial Photography and the U.S. Geological Survey. more details...

Building Permits

Building Permits

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

Directories, City of San Jose and Vicinity

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. more details...

Newspapers and Clippings

Newspapers and Clippings

This collection includes clipping files, scrapbooks and microfilm of area newspapers including the San Jose Mercury News. more details...

Historic Photographs


The Historic Photograph Collection includes over 2,500 contact prints, negatives, transparencies, and 35mm slides comprising diverse subjects including schools, churches, businesses, parades, valley views, theaters, street scenes, hotels, the 1906 earthquake, the Winchester House, and residents. more details...

School Yearbooks

School Yearbooks

This collection includes yearbooks from high schools, middle schools and universities within Santa Clara County. View a list of all yearbooks available: more details...

Latest Blogs

Looking Back: Remembering Almaden Road's Club Lanai

Ralph digs into the history of an unusual empty lot along the old Almaden Road.

Ralph Pearce
02/24/2021 - 8:00 AM

Celebrate Black History Month: Black in California

Part of a series of Black History Month Blogs.

Tiffany Bradford-Oldham
02/08/2021 - 6:28 PM

Celebrate Black History Month: Buffalo Soldiers

Part of a series of Black History Month Blogs.

Tiffany Bradford-Oldham
02/06/2021 - 3:30 PM