Reference services

Researcher access

Special Collections and Archives welcomes the use of its collections. Staff assistance is provided from the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The department is closed on weekends and California state holidays. Changes to our hours, including the during the summer and intersession breaks, can be found here.

Researchers unaffiliated with Cal Poly are strongly encouraged to call or email in advance of their visit to indicate the collections for which access is needed, and make an appointment for a future visit. Researchers are asked to submit a Researcher Appointment Request, which will enable Special Collections and Archives staff to properly prepare for the appointment and make the best use of the researcher’s time.

Some collections are stored off-site, and require at minimum a 24-hour notice before the materials can be made available.

Advance notice is also required for research or orientation visits by classes or other groups. Find out more about here.

Upon arrival at Special Collections and Archives, all researchers must complete and sign the Researcher Registration Form and furnish personal photographic identification, such as a valid driver’s license or university identification. By signing the Researcher Registration form, researchers agree to abide by the rules of use for the collections.

See all researcher forms

Electronic finding aids for some collections are available through the Online Archive of California. For collections that are not represented on the Online Archive of California, researchers can request information from the Special Collections and Archives staff. Staff may also be able to refer researchers to collections and resources at other institutions and/or elsewhere on campus.

Holdings of the department are available to faculty, staff, students, and the public for research, within conditions imposed by donor agreements and institutional policy.

See all department policies related to researcher access

Reference requests

The Special Collections and Archives Department is staffed to provide access and expertise on its holdings. It is not staffed to do research. The staff will respond to specific reference inquiries to the best of its ability and resources. In most cases, thirty minutes of assistance can be provided. In the event that more time is needed, local freelance researchers may be able to assist you.

Reference inquiries are accepted by e-mail, phone, and fax. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Contact information
Email: ude.yloplacnull@sevihcra
Voice: 805.756.2305
Fax: 805.756.5770