Visiting the Archives
The archival collections held by the Southern California Library are open to the public and available for research during business hours. The Library’s collections are unique documents that detail collective and individual struggles against racism, economic exploitation, and other forms of oppression. To maintain and create access to these resources, the Library has established guidelines for visiting and using the records. These measures will help ensure that staff is able to assist you in the best manner possible, and that the materials remain available and in good condition into the future.
Preparing for Your Visit
If you are planning a research visit to the Library, we ask that you fill out the Research Request Form to make an appointment. This will help ensure that the Library is open on the date you plan to visit, and a staff member will be available to assist you.
We recommend that you review our online indexes available on the Online Archive of California (OAC) before you come in to see what kinds of materials we have relating to your topic.
We do allow access to our many unprocessed collections, which aren't listed in the OAC, as well as many other materials in our holdings, including subject files, periodicals (journals and newspapers), pamphlets, photos, posters, buttons, audio material, and more.
Staff are available if you have questions about a topic and/or how to use the materials.
The Library is available for research on Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (last appointment at 4:00 p.m.) during the summer months. The Library is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
At the Archives
Upon arrival at the front desk, you will be asked to sign in before beginning research. Library staff will retrieve requested materials from our closed stacks. We ask that you follow certain guidelines while using the collections:
- Food and drink are not allowed in proximity to archival collections. You may bring food and drink and store it in the Library’s refrigerator and consume in areas away from archival material.
- To view documents, simply complete a request slip, which we will provide, and present it to staff. We will bring your items to you.
- Records may be used only at the research tables.
- Researchers may use up to three boxes at a time. Records must be left in the order in which they are found.
- If you would like to make photocopies or scan or take photos of materials, we will provide paper tags you can use to mark document locations; do not remove the documents from their folders.
- Please note that we are not always a "quiet" library. There may be community events or other programming going on during your visit so you may want to bring along headphones.
- The Library staff will give a last call 30 minutes before closing. We will not retrieve documents after that time.
- When possible, please consider providing the Library with a courtesy copy of publications or products made possible by research in our holdings.
What to Bring with You
- Pencils and paper. Ink pens are discouraged because of the permanent damage accidental ink stains can cause. We have pencils and a sharpener available if you forget to bring pencils with you.
A laptop with power cable. Laptops are welcome and public wi-fi and electrical outlets are available.
- A camera. Researchers are welcome to take photographs of our holdings as long as they do not use flash for a fee of 10 cents a page. We also allow camera tripods.
- Dress in layers. During the winter the Library is typically several degrees cooler than it is outside, and warmer in the summer.
- Snacks. Researchers may want to bring their own meal or snack as there are few places to eat in close proximity to the Library. The Library has a kitchen with microwave, toaster oven, and refrigerator for use. We just ask that all food and beverage is kept away from archival material.
Researchers may make photocopies or scan materials using the Library's copier/scanner, or use their own camera to take pictures. Staff are available to assist. The charge for standard size black and white photocopies or scans is 25 cents per page. Double-sided copies are charged as two pages. There is a charge of 10 cents per page for digital images. You may use the Library's equipment to scan documents, but may not use the feed function for archival materials.
The recommended citation when using a Southern California Library records is: Name and date of document, box number, folder number, records collection name, and repository name. For example: Torchlight Newsletter, 7 March 1954, Box 2, Folder 7, L.A. Committee for Protection of Foreign Born Collection Collection, Southern California Library.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (323) 759-6063.