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Research Help

After a long hiatus during the University Library closure, Cal Poly Humboldt Special Collections is open again for walk-in hours. 

Starting February 1st, students, Faculty and staff can visit the Special Collections Reading Room on the 3rd floor and peruse our Humboldt County Collection on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 1pm and 4pm. Research appointments can be made outside of these hours by students, faculty, staff and community researchers by contacting archives@humboldt.edu. You can also contact the Special Collections team for additional research help. We are happy to set up Zoom research consultations.

Special Collection Instruction

The Special Collections Librarian can work with your class or organization to design and faciliate specialized instruction related to primary source research, archival practices, and material specific to Cal Poly Humboldt Special Collections & Archives. These sessions can be in person or virtual.  

Humboldt Faculty can request Special Collections Canvas modules to assist students with primary source assignments.  There is also a Special Collections SkillShop available to students to introduce them to research in the archive. 

To schedule a class sessions, please contact archives@humboldt.edu and fill out this form to request librarian assistance

Getting Started with Your Research

A first step of the research process is to search the Library Catalog.  Limit your search to "Special Collections" to see cataloged material related to northwestern California. Make a list of the call numbers for text you would like to review and Special Collections staff can help you retrieve this material during your visit to the Special Collections Reading Room. Material in Special Collections cannot circulate, but researchers are allowed to photograph most material for research purposes, with limited exceptions. 

Pamphlets and Newspapers

The Pamphlet Collection supplements the cataloged holdings of Humboldt Special Collection. It consists of brochures, flyers, newspaper clippings, email printouts, booklets, reports, serials, and other ephemera relating to Humboldt County and its immediate surroundings. The collection documents local issues, events, agencies, businesses, governmental bodies, organizations, communities, specific places, prominent individuals and aspects of the lives of area residents. It is organized by subject, including geographic regions, and organizations. There is also a legacy card file index in Special Collections.

Cal Poly Humboldt Special Collections has an extensive local newspaper collection. There are several guides available to help the researcher find particular publications.  The Northwestern California Newspapers website examines the history of newspaper publishing in this region.