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Researching San Luis Obispo History

Resources for researching San Luis Obispo County and the Central Coast


Welcome! This guide provides an introduction to starting your research on Central Coast and San Luis Obispo County history. It is intended as a resource for Cal Poly students, faculty, and staff as well as the broader community. 

Use the tabs on the left to navigate through the pages in this guide. 

If you have questions or edits, contact Laura Sorvetti, Special Collections and Archives.


These slides were created for the Fall 2020 Architecture 251 and can serve as an introduction to doing research on SLO history.

Special Collections and Archives Updates during COVID-19

While the Special Collections and Archives reading room is currently closed to the public, Special Collections and Archives staff continue to offer remote reference support and you can access our digitized archives online. 

You can reach us via email ( and you can schedule an online appointment to meet with staff on Zoom to get help with your research.

Archives Instruction Sessions: Special Collections and Archives offers remote synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Contact Laura Sorvetti at

Library updates: The library has put together an informational page on accessing library resources and services from remote locations. 

Intro to the archives

In July 2020, Special Collections and Archives co-presented with the San Luis Obispo History Center an introduction to doing research online. 

Presentation Slides:

Video recording: