The Sacramento Room

Dive deep into Sacramento history

The Sacramento Room is a place where we collect and preserve Sacramento’s history. Our special collections are housed in the original reference room of the 1918 Carnegie City Library at Central Library.

  • Discover the city’s rich history with a diverse set of collections
  • Work with certified archivists for in-depth analysis to satisfy your curiosity or finish a project
  • Explore history from anywhere with our digital collection

Upcoming Events & Exhibits

Uncommon Valor...Unspoken Service (through March 31)
This exhibit in the Central Libray lobby commemorates Chinese American Veterans of WWII through March 31and recognizes the contributions and sacrifices of Americans of Chinese during World War II. Photographs, letters home, militaria, official documents, a mini-documentary telling the story of Chinese American contributions to America's wars, and interviews with four Sacramento veterans from World War II, accent this compelling display which has graciously been facilitated by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance and the Sacramento Gung Ho Post of the American Legion. 

January 31, 1903: The Fire that Destroyed the “Big White Store” (April 1 at 1 p.m.)
On November 24, 1891, a marvel of architecture and modernity opened its doors to Sacramento shoppers. Rising three stories and dominating the corner of 4th and K Streets, the opening of Weinstock, Lubin & Co. was an event the likes of which Sacramentans had never seen. Nicknamed the “Big White Store” by locals because of its color, the beautiful building lasted only eleven years, and in the early morning hours of January 31, 1903, Weinstock, Lubin & Co. burned to the ground. Join Annette Kassis, author of Weinstock’s: Sacramento’s Finest Department Store in the Sacramento Room at the Central Library, as she explores how Sacramento’s landmark department store grew from a ten- by twelve-foot room to a modern marvel, the fire that reduced it to rubble, and the company that rose from the ashes.

Victory in the Pool: How a Maverick Coach Upended Society and Led a Group of Young Swimmers to Olympic Glory (May 13 at 1 p.m.)
Join us on May 13 at 1:00 pm in the Sacramento Room at Central Library as author and historian Bill George presents his new book "Victor in the Pool: How a Maverick Coach Upended Society and Led a Group of Young Swimmers to Olympic Glory." Sherm Chavoor, who ironically could not swim himself, opened the Arden Hills Swim Club in 1954 and accepted minorities when similar spots wouldn't. He also changed the trajectory of U.S. swimming forever, producing a bevy of gold medalists and creating a winning momentum that resonates through the current day.
Room Access
A simple set of rules has been implemented to research the room. Review the rules and learn about photocopy and digital scan procedures. See updated hours of operation.

Digital Collections
Full and open access to digital images of photographs, periodicals, ephemera, yearbooks and directories.

Sacramento Collection
Books, periodicals, maps, ephemera, postcards and photographs documenting more than 150 years of Sacramento County’s social, cultural, religious and political history.

Special Collection
Rare books that have been removed from general circulation over the years for preservation purposes, but are of continuing value and interest. This collection contains first editions, items with notable illustrations, and many volumes that have been part of the Library collection since 1879.

Records of enduring value, including architectural blueprints, accession books, reports, scrapbooks, photographs, book catalogs, policies and procedures and public relations material chronicling Library history back to 1857.

Digital Sanborn Maps 
Research local history with city plans and maps dating from 1867-1970. 

California Collection
Encompasses the history of the state with emphasis on Northern California. The collection features in-depth county histories, biographies of prominent figures in all aspects of California history, and information on the natural, cultural and social history of the state.

Printing and Book Arts History Collection
Depicts the history of books, including printing, binding, papermaking, type design and illustration. This collection has many examples of printing by fine presses throughout the world.

Sacramento Area Authors Collection
Includes books published by authors who have close ties to the Sacramento area.

Sacramento Musicians and Songwriters Collection
Includes published recordings by local musicians and sheet music by local composers and lyricists.

Pamphlet Files
File folders containing news clippings and short articles on hundreds of local history topics.
Have Questions?
Do I have to work with an archivist?

No. You are welcome to visit the Room during open hours. Staff are always available to point you in the right direction, photocopy materials and offer magnifying glasses, pencils, and paper.

Is the Sacramento Room always open?

The digital collection is always available, while the Sacramento Room is open throughout the week and by appointment.

What about that Lady Bird script?

It’s true. We have a copy of the script signed by the writer and filmmaker herself. You can see any time the Room is open.

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