Reference, Copying, and Requesting Materials

Reference

For reference questions or other information, you can reach us by:

San Francisco History Center
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

  • Fax: (415) 437-4849

San Francisco History Center staff can answer reference questions, but more in-depth research may be beyond the scope of our services. The staff may be able to locate researchers for hire for patrons. If you are writing from outside of California, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your letter.

Copying

San Francisco History Center provides photocopies, photographic reproductions, and digital scans for a fee. Prepayment is required for all copy and scan orders. Cash/checks not credit cards.

All photocopies are made by staff daily at 4 p.m. Request forms for copy work are available at the information desk. Special restrictions may apply to many of our materials, including newspapers, manuscripts, photographs, fragile items, and oversize volumes. Reproduction from any of our materials is at the discretion of the librarian. The price for photocopies is 10¢ per page (black and white) or 40¢ per page (color). Library users may pick up photocopied materials, or arrange to have them mailed for an additional charge.

Patrons may make their own reproductions using their own camera equipment under certain circumstances. Patrons should complete a Photocopy Request form when photographing from textual collections, and should complete a Reproduction of Images form when copying from photograph collections. For further information on the Center’s photograph collections and reproduction of images, see the Order Images section.

Requesting Materials

Books, audio-visual materials, some archival collections, and most periodical titles are represented in the SFPL online catalog. Most materials can be paged on the same day. However, some materials, particularly larger archival collections, are stored off-site and require 48-hours advance notice. Our off-site location is listed in the online catalog as: MAIN-6th Floor-SF History/Brooks.

Requests must include:

  1. Collection name
  2. Call number or Collection number
  3. Box numbers or Item numbers (from finding aid)—please limit to 6 boxes.
  4. Name, phone number, and email of requester
  5. Anticipated date of visit to the archives

If you have any questions about how to request materials, please contact the department at 415-557-4567, or email sfhistory@sfpl.org.

You will be contacted when your request has been filled and materials are available for you to view. Items will be returned 1 week after your planned date(s) of visit if they are not viewed.

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