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. You can confirm our hours for the quarter here.

Setting up an research appointment

(Can’t come to Cal Poly but have a research question? see below)

Researchers are strongly encouraged to call or email in advance of your visit to indicate the materials you would like to research and to make an appointment, which will enable Special Collections and Archives staff to properly prepare for the appointment and make the best use your time. When you contact us, please include:

  • Your name, email, and phone number
  • Your affiliation (Cal Poly students identify their course)
  • Your research topic
  • Materials you would like pulled for your research appointment
  • Preferred day and time of visit (Find out when we’re open here)

Please note: Some collections are stored off-site, and require at minimum a notice of one business day before the materials can be made available. Advance notice is also required for class or group visits or instructional sessions.

Preparing for your research appointment

We are located in room 409 on the fourth floor of Kennedy Library (Bldg. 35). Here’s a map of the library, and here’s a map of campus. You can read more about parking at Cal Poly here.

Please read our reading room policies and copyright guidelines in advance of your visit.

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

Remote Researchers

The Special Collections and Archives Department is staffed to provide access and expertise on its holdings. 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.

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