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Special Collections and Archives

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

Reading Room Hours

Special Collections and Archives reading room, with two tables set up with researchers looking at archival materials on tables and archives staff person sitting at front deskThe archives Reading Room is open Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment. 

We are located to Building 26 (Graphic Arts), Room 110F, which is located inside the Learning Support Center in Room 110A.

We ask researchers to schedule an appointment at least five business days in advance so we have time to retrieve the materials for your visit from our offsite storage. 

Please call or email us to schedule an appointment. When you contact us, please include:

  • Your name, email, and phone number
  • Materials you would like pulled for your research appointment. Include:
    • Collection title and number with Box numbers or Flat File Folder Numbers
  • Your research topic (optional, we can use this information to help identify any other possible materials you may be interested in)
  • Preferred day and time of visit

If you don't know which materials you want to look at, that is ok! Let us know what your research topic is, and we can pull some materials we think will be helpful.

Image: Photograph of the archives reading room. An archives staff person will be available to help you when you visit.

Schedule a Virtual Appointment

With the Virtual Reading Room service, you can meet with archives staff to view archives materials over Zoom or get help with your research project. Email us at to learn more.

Virtual appointment set up, including laptop, camera, and archival material. Screenshot of virtual appointment on zoom.

Left image: setup of archives zoom appointment. 

Right image: what you see when you meet with us on zoom, a folder of material at a time that we can page through together.

Getting to Special Collections and Archives

Video description: short video showing path from Stadium/Crandall to archives, as well as path from Dexter Lawn to archives. Video created by Noel Lopez, archives student assistant.


floorplan of building 26 first floor showing path to archives, which is located in the center of the building, inside of room 110A (Learning Support Center)

Image description: map to archives in Building 26.

Parking information

Read about parking at Cal Poly at the Transportation & Parking Services website. Campus visitors can park in Parking Structure 131 with an all-day parking pass. There is also metered parking on campus, for example, nearby adjacent to the library in lots H-10 (1.5 hrs max) and H-2a (4 hrs max), lot G-2 and along South Perimeter Road (1.5 hours max). To locate and pay for metered parking, we recommend downloading and setting up the ParkMobile app on your phone before your visit.