Research Library


Casa De Balboa, Lower Level
1649 El Prado, Suite #3
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 232- 6203

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Upcoming Closures: 

Monday 15th February (Presidents' Day)


$10 Adults
$8 Seniors (65+), Students and Military (I.D. required)
$6 children ages 6-17
Free children under 6
San Diego History Center members receive unlimited free admission. 

Our Collections

San Diego History Center Library is home to our extensive collections that document the people, places and stories of San Diego past and present.

The Document and Photograph Collections in the Library constitute a rich documentation of the region's history. Researchers can access San Diego history through books, ephemera, original maps, manuscripts, architectural drawings, public records, and our extensive photographic collection.

For more information about our Document, Photograph and Object Collections, please see our Collections page.

For collections questions or to donate an object or collection please contact us at An appointment is necessary to review potential donations (collections dropped off without review will not be accepted).

NOTE: The object collection is not available for research through the Library. In order to make a research appointment to view objects in our collection, please contact the collections department or (619) 232-6203 ext. 164.

Become a Volunteer in the Library

Students: The Library welcomes students who wish to do research in our archives. Children grades K-7 should be accompanied by an adult. The Library may not be suitable for children under the age of 6.

There may be occasions when we are not able to open the Library during regular scheduled hours. If you are coming from a distance or your research is time sensitive, please call ahead to make sure that the Library will be open, and access to the department you need will be available.

General Policies – What to expect when you visit the Library

Checking in:

At the front desk, you will be asked to sign in and pay your admission fee. First time visitors will also be asked to complete a research application form.

Food, beverages and pets are not allowed in the library

Briefcases, backpacks, bags, books, cameras, laptop cases and all personal belongings must be placed in the lockers provided.

Patrons are allowed to take only pencil and paper to study tables. Please make the staff aware of any reference material you are bringing into the Library.

Laptops may be used, but they need to be removed from cases. Cameras and scanners are not permitted. Mobile phones and pagers must be turned off - any calls received must be taken outside.

Patrons are requested to maintain reasonable quiet to avoid distraction of others.


A member of our staff will be available to guide you through our research materials and provide whatever information you may need.  When requesting material, researchers may be limited to one item at a time depending on the material.

Collections Care:

Researchers are asked to respect the fragile nature of the research material and to handle it with care.  Do not use post-it notes, fold pages, or mark or erase materials in any way.  When taking notes, only pencil is allowed.

The exact order and arrangement of materials must be maintained.  When working, please note the order of materials in the box and in the folder, and maintain that order.

Care must be exercised not to exert pressure on material used, such as by resting an arm on a document, page, map, print, newspaper or photograph, or by taking notes on top of the archival material.

Cotton gloves will be provided and must be worn when handling certain photographic materials, such as negatives, slides, or transparencies.  At all times, please avoid touching the surface of the photographic image.


Permission from the archivist is required for making copies. Requests for photocopying of materials will only be permitted when such duplication can be done without damage to the materials. Some materials may be copied only by staff.

There is a charge of 35 cents per copy for documents and a charge of 1.00 per page for photographic materials.

Internet Service:

Internet service is available in the Research Library, but only for personal laptops. General access to the internet is not avalable on SDHC computers.