General Information

The California State Library at your service

The California State Library, a California public research institution, provides its customers with the accurate, up-to-date information they need to do their jobs easily, quickly, and confidently. Whether you are an elected official, a state employee, a representative of one of California's libraries, a person with special reading needs or a member of the general public, the California State Library is here for you. Our staff, including librarians, researchers, and consultants are at your service.

What We Do

The California State Library serves the people of California in several ways:

  • It is the central reference and research library for state government and the Legislature.
  • It provides non-partisan research to the Legislature and the Governor.
  • It collects, preserves, generates and disseminates information ranging from California's priceless historical items to today's online texts.
  • It consults with and provides technical assistance to California's public libraries, and it directs state and federal funds to support local public libraries, as well as statewide library programs and services.

For specific information on all of the exciting work that took place last year, please check out our Annual Report.

Some History

In 1850, California's new legislature, seeing that the state's facts, figures, and documents needed to be in a central location, established the California State Library in the State Capitol. By 1910, the collection had grown too large to fit the space. The present State Library broke ground in 1922 and was completed in 1928. In 1917, the California State Library established the Sutro Library in San Francisco from the private library of Adolph Sutro. Today, the State Library holds over 4 million titles in its collection.

Get informed online with the California State Library

Today's customers increasingly turn to the California State Library's website for research reports, circulation services, grant information, photos, statistics, helpful links, digital books for the visually-impaired. State employees can also access news articles from major news outlets on their computers at work or at home. We invite you to explore our newly updated website, and discover the perfect page for your information needs.

As we continue to streamline our online services, we welcome your feedback. Please send us an email and let us know how we can make it easier for you to get what you need.