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Guide to Special Collections & Archives

Request a Research Appointment

Materials in Special Collections & Archives are available for the research needs of students, faculty, and staff of the University, and are open to the general public.

Collections and materials requests should be made at least 1 week in advance. To schedule an appointment, please fill out the Research Appointment Application

Note: After submitting your request, please allow 1-2 business days for confirmation. Not all requests are guaranteed. Research visit confirmation is subject to status of collection/s and staff or reading room availability.


Special Collections operates as a closed stacks area. All materials are retrieved for researchers by staff.

Walk-ins are welcome for theses, course catalogs, yearbooks and rare books. However, we encourage you to make an appointment as request confirmations are subject to staff availability. 

Request a Research Consultation

Need help getting started? Are you new to research and have not identified sources for your project?

For in-depth research help, schedule a Research Consultation for one-on-one or small group assistance with a Special Collections Specialist.

To schedule an appointment, please fill out the Research Consultation Form. All appointment requests should be made at least 1 week in advance.

Note: After submitting your request, please allow 1-2 business days for confirmation. 

Guidelines for Researchers/Readers

  1. Be prepared to provide a current photo identification.
  2. Special collections materials do not circulate beyond the reading room.
  3. Food and/or beverages are prohibited, including water bottles.
  4. Pencil only – no ink or pens are allowed.
  5. No personal bags, briefcases, purses or backpacks are allowed in the reading room. All personal belongings, including coats and other non-essential items must be stored in a locker.
  6. Laptops, mobile phones, and personal devices are allowed. Laptop bags must be stored in lockers.
  7. Photographs are permitted (no flash), but digital reproductions are for personal research or private study only.
  8. Researchers must secure written permission from Special Collections in order to publish (online or in print), reproduce or reprint materials. Please request the “Permission to Use” form.
  9. Only one box is allowed on the table, and only one folder may be retrieved at a time.
  10. Handle material with care. Turns pages gently and keep documents flat on the table.
  11. Ensure your hands are clean and dry. Special gloves may be required to handle photographs or other fragile materials.
  12. If you notice an item is damaged, notify the reference desk attendant. Do not attempt to repair anything yourself.
  13. Be sure to maintain the original order of items with each folder. If you find a mistake or discrepancy, alert the reference desk. Do not rearrange materials yourself.
  14. Do not flatten bound volumes or rest your hand, arm or any object on any materials. Book cradles and special weights are available if needed.
  15. If you wish to photocopy or scan items, consult with the reference desk attendant. Attendant will scan/photocopy the first 20 pages. Readers are to scan/photocopy any additional pages.
  16. The researcher assumes all responsibility for conforming to laws of libel and copyright.

Directions and Parking

Parking Lot 5 and the first level of Structure C are in closest proximity to the University Library. View the Interactive Campus Map.

Please keep in mind that Tuesdays and Thursdays are extremely busy and parking can be especially challenging between 8am and 12pm. For your convenience, please consider scheduling research appointments after 12:30 pm during the academic year.

Daily Permit Rates

1 hour (Lot 4A located by Administration and Student Union only ) - $2

4 hours - $4

All Day - $8

2-Wheel - $2

Tips for New Researchers

  • Do not wait until the last minute to begin your research. Primary source research can be very time-consuming and involve various collections. Finding the piece of information you are looking for can be a laborious, but rewarding process.
  • Be Patient. You may not find what you want or expect to find. Keep an opened mind to everything you see.
  • Analyze a Primary Source like a Historian.
    • Look at the physical nature of the source - condition and format (document, sound recording, photograph, broadside, pamphlet, diary, etc.)
    • Think about the purpose of the source
    • Is there a date or author?
    • Who is the audience?

Search Tools

To browse Cal State LA collections and archival materials, get started with these search tools:

One Search contains the Rare books an Journals housed in Special Collections & Archives. Click on Advanced Search, type in your Subject/Keyword and click on search. On the left hand select the location Filter Special Collections.

Online Archive of California (OAC) provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California.

Dspace is an open source digital repository, preserves and provides access to digital collections created by the CSULA community. Three ways to search: type your subject/keyword in search box (top right hand corner), by subject, by date, or you can browse through collections on the main page by clicking on collection title.

Collections A to Z

Finding Aids provide a detailed description of archival collections. The most commonly used collection guide is a Finding Aid; indexes and inventories are less common. Collection guides provide researchers with biographical/historical information and provide container lists of materials within the collection.

Finding Aids are available for collections that are highlighted in blue. Click on the link in the list below:

Alatorre (Richard) Public Official Papers

Anderson (Edna) Collection of Poems and Papers

Arellanes (Gloria) Papers

Bookplate Collection

Boyle Heights Archive

California Arts Commission Collection of Orchestral Scores

Cal State LA Chicano/a Poster Collection

Central American Solidarity L.A. Network Collection

Cobb Plummer, Jewel

Comic Book Collection

Compton Communicative Arts Academy

Cury (Ivan N.) Collection

Debs (Ernest E.) Public Official Papers

Dixon (Julian C.) Public Official Papers

Dymally (Mervyn M.) Public Official Papers

East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU)

Fedco Superstores, Inc. Collection

Figueroa (Jose R.) Collection

Fruman (Norman) Papers

Harris, Roy and Johana Collection of Musical Scores & Personal Papers

Holland (John C.) Public Official Papers

Hubbell, (Charles) Aviation Print Collection

InnerCity Struggle Collection

Jordan (Glenn) Collection of Light Opera Scripts & Scores

Kenton (Stan) Collection of Musical Scores & Papers

Klemperer (Otto) Collection of Musical Scores

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Collection

Los Angeles Poets Collection

Mexican-American Baseball in Los Angeles Exhibit Collection

Montes (Carlos) Papers

Motion Picture and Television Script Collection

Motion Picture Photograph Collection

McHugh (Jimmy) Collection of Sheet Music

McGrath Sacred Music Collection

Munitz Chess Collection

Nava (Julian) Public Official Papers

Northwest Coast Art Collection

Peace and Freedom Party Collection

Political Newspaper Comic Collection

Quinn (Anthony) Collection of Film Scripts

Sandoval (David) Papers

Schwartz (Benita) Francis Papers

Shroyer (Frederick B.) Manuscripts

Television and Film Press Collection

Terri, Salli Choral Music Collection

Véa (Alfredo) Manuscripts

Wambaugh (Joseph) Collections of Manuscripts

World War II Poster Collection

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300
323-343-3988