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Special Collections and Archives

Tips and tools for researching primary sources in Special Collections and Archives and online

Schedule a Virtual Research Help Appointment

Schedule an appointment to meet for a 30-minute Zoom appointment with Laura Sorvetti, Reference Specialist, to get help with your research. If you need to meet at another time, email us at to set up an appointment. 

Schedule a Virtual Reading Room Appointment

With the Virtual Reading Room service, you can view archives materials via Zoom. You can schedule a session with an archives staff member, which will take place via Zoom, a video conferencing system. Each session will last one hour Please note that this is not a research consultation with a subject expert (see option 1); it is a service to view archives materials remotely  

Fill out the Virtual Research Form to schedule a meeting with an archives staff member. Requests for a Virtual Reading Room appointment must be submitted at least three business days in advance. Appointments for sessions are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10am-4:00pm.

Before submitting a request form, you should: ​

  • Search the Online Archive of California and Library Catalog to find the collection items you’d like to view (you may request up to five items per session).
  • Include as much detailed information about the archives item you would like to consult as possible (such as Collection Title, Box and Folder number, book call number)

Contact the archives staff ( for help identifying materials relevant to your research or if you have questions about the Virtual Reading Room service.

image of virtual appointment set up, showing a laptop connected to a digital camera which is directed at a folder of archival material. An open archives box is in the center of the photo.a screenshot of a computer screen showing how meeting for a virtual appointment on zoom will work. The image displays a folder of archival records on the table, and a small image in the lower left corner shows the view of the archives staff person.

Fall Quarter 2021 - In-Person Appointments

May be subject to change

The reading room is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm for research appointments, with a lunch break from noon to 1pm. At this time, we can accommodate up to two researchers in the reading room at a time.

Researchers must schedule an appointment at least three business days in advance so our staff have time to retrieve and prepare materials for your visit. Email to schedule an appointment.

Special Collections and Archives is following Cal Poly masking protocol. Regardless of vaccination status, all researchers must wear masks indoors. Visit Cal Poly’s Coronavirus Information page for up-to-date information for students, staff, faculty, and community visitors.

For virtual research help, Monday-Friday, you can schedule a zoom appointment with archives reference specialist Laura Sorvetti or contact the archives at or 805-756-2305. At this time, the archives will not be open for in-person drop-in reference help or exhibit viewing.

Special Collections and Archives does not accept drop-off donations at the reading room or library front desk. If you are interested in donating materials, please email

Image: Photograph of the archives reading room. An archives staff person will be available to help you when you enter. Researchers will be assigned seating.