Research Room Hours
Research Room COVID-19 Update:
The Archives Research and Reading Room is open to the public at a limited capacity from 9:30 am-4:00 pm, Monday-Friday, excluding state holidays. Please contact ArchivesWeb@sos.ca.gov for additional information, questions, or assistance.
Research Room Policies and Procedures
THANK YOU FOR HELPING US PRESERVE CALIFORNIA’S ARCHIVAL RECORDS!
Archives reserves the right to refuse or revoke research or copy privileges if these procedures are not followed. No exceptions are allowed. Researchers will be held personally liable for copyright infringement or improper use of information exempt from public disclosure, as outlined in state and federal law.
- Registration: Please check in at the Reception Desk and complete a researcher registration form. Proceed into the Research Room and hand the registration form to the Archivist on duty.
- Services: Photocopies are available for a fee. Archives staff can usually complete copy orders of up to 50 pages while waiting. Copies may be made by private copy services with prior approval by the Reference Coordinator. Bound volumes, fragile documents, and oversized materials may not be copied by private copy services. All copy vendors MUST speak with an Archivist prior to beginning work.
- Lockers: Personal belongings (e.g. coats, jackets, water bottles, umbrellas, bags, purses, briefcases, computer covers/cases, folders, hand sanitizer, etc.) must be placed in lockers or coat closets located in the Research Room reception area. Only paper, pencils, and approved equipment are permitted at research tables.
- Equipment Use: Pursuant to Government Code 6253 (d) (1) A requester who inspects a disclosable record on the premises of the agency has the right to use the requester’s equipment on those premises, without being charged any fees or costs, to photograph or otherwise copy or reproduce the record in a manner that does not require the equipment to make physical contact with the record, unless the means of copy or reproduction would result in either of the following:
(A) Damage to the record.
(B) Unauthorized access to the agency’s computer systems or secured networks by using software, equipment, or any other technology capable of accessing, altering, or compromising the agency’s electronic records.
(2) The agency may impose any reasonable limits on the use of the requester’s equipment that are necessary to protect the safety of the records or to prevent the copying of records from being an unreasonable burden to the orderly function of the agency and its employees. In addition, the agency may impose any limit that is necessary to maintain the integrity of, or ensure the long-term preservation of, historic or high-value records.- Pursuant to the aforementioned code section, Hand–held digital cameras without the flash, personal computers, photocopiers, scanners, and tape recorders may be used ONLY with the prior permission of Archives staff. Automatic feed features or stack feeders cannot be used to copy documents from the State Archives' collections. Handheld scanners are not allowed. Bound volumes, fragile documents, and over-sized materials may only be copied by Archives staff.
- Handling: Please exercise all possible care to prevent damage to the records. Records should not be leaned on, written on, folded anew, traced over, or handled roughly. Records must remain on the tables in full view of the Archivists on duty. Researchers working with restricted records or materials from the high security vault must sit at the tables at the front of the Research Room, nearest to the Reference Desk. White cotton gloves will be provided when handling photographic materials. Unbound documents must be kept in the order in which they are received. USE PENCIL ONLY. This precludes accidental ink marks on records. Pencils are available on request.
- Microfilm: Microfilm copies of archival records must be used when available. Documents are not allowed in the Microfilm Viewing Room. Microfilm reader–printers are not for viewing and printing non–State Archives microfilm. Exceptions may be made for state agencies that make prior arrangements with the Reference Coordinator.
- Prohibited Activities: Eating, drinking, smoking, and loud talking are prohibited in the Research Room, Microfilm Viewing Room, and Root Cellar Library. Cell phone usage is prohibited in these rooms as well; however, cell phones may be used in the vestibule area near the elevators. Researchers are not allowed to stand on chairs, stepladders, or foot stools to obtain photographs of archival materials.
- Protected Information: Archival records may contain information that is exempt from public disclosure in accordance with state and federal laws. Examples may include, but are not limited to medical records, education records, investigative records, and records containing personally identifiable information. Please see a reference archivist for questions concerning these types of records.
Records may not be removed from the Research Room. Theft or mutilation of records is a crime. The Research Room is equipped with closed–circuit television cameras which monitor and record activity in the room.
STATE LAW AUTHORIZES THE DETENTION, FOR A REASONABLE PERIOD, OF ANY PERSON USING THESE FACILITIES SUSPECTED OF COMMITTING "LIBRARY THEFT" (PENAL CODE SEC. 490.5)