Visiting the California Room

Service desk in the California Room surrounded by historic photos.

Special Conditions for Use & Handling

The California Room does not check out any materials. California Room collections are non-circulating and may not be removed from the room.

Our collection is available in person during open hours and online through our digital collection 24/7.

The California Room contains unique and fragile materials documenting California and local history that require special care and protection. Researchers should be aware of our Use Policies prior to using the collection:

  • No food or drinks - leave water bottles by the door.
    Materials are very old and easily damaged by water or other liquids, food can attract pests.
  • Pencils only.
    Pens can leak and stain, damaging materials permanently.
  • Be gentle with materials.
    Many of the books and maps are old and fragile; pages can be delicate and tear easily.
  • Place your bags on the floor next to you while researching.
    Materials can be accidentally crushed or damaged.
  • Take cell phone conversations outside of the room.
    This is a quiet study space.
  • Yes, photocopying of some materials is permitted.
  • Yes, you are welcome to take pictures. Remember to turn the flash off.

When requesting items from our storage vault, an agreement form must be signed and a driver’s license, or other ID left at the California Room reference desk. Some vault items require an appointment in order for materials to be available. All vault items will be brought out one at a time.

Reproduction Requests

All of the images in our digital collections can be downloaded, click on the print button in the upper right corner when searching our digital collections. Larger images for publication fall under the San Jose Public Library Digital Image Usage Policy which includes sections on conditions of use, copyright information, and a fee schedule. All requests for digital image use can be directed to the California Room. Permission to use SJPL digital images is contingent upon payment of a fee and signed agreement form.


The California Room collection exists in great part due to generous donations from people like you. If you have material which you think would be of historical interest to our growing community, please contact the California Room.