Tours of the Historic State Library Building

Gillis Hall, California State Library

Welcome to the California State Library in the historic Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building.

The State Library, older than the state itself, began with several books donated on December 22, 1849 by Colonel J.D. Stevenson. Colonel Stevenson presented the books to the State Legislature in San José to establish a state library. California was admitted to the Union on September 9, 1850, becoming the 31st state in the nation.

The State Library’s location changed several times before it found a permanent home in the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building, which was completed in 1928. Recent renovations of the building have brought it back to its original splendor.

Fragment of the mural in the Memorial Vestibule, California State Library Fragment of the ceiling in the Circulation Foom, California State Library Memorial Vestibule, California State Library Ceiling in the Memorial Vestibule, California State Library Elevated bronze statue by Edward Field Sanford, Jr., flank side of the Circulation and Catalog Room. This male figure is called Wisdom.


Docent-led Tours

If you are interested in a tour of the State Library, led by a knowledgeable docent, here's some information. Tours are scheduled Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, by appointment. The limit per tour group is 15. Please email your request to, or call the tour scheduler phone line at 916-653-1440. Allow two full business days for a response. Tours are available between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please include your name, email, phone number, preferred date and time, along with your second and third choices, and the number in your group.

Self-guided Tours

Tour Brochure cover

You can explore the public areas of the Library without a docent during regular business hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You can simply download a brochure from our website or pick up one in the Memorial Vestibule (lobby).

Virtual Tours

Experience the State Library in 360°. View every part of this architectural gem, from its ornate ceilings and marble columns to the paintings and murals.

You can also check out the Historic Library and Courts Building: An Architectural Treasure, which focuses on historical photographs and contemporary images of the library and its architectural features.

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