History of Libraries

History of Libraries

“A very handsome nucleus for a State Library has been begun at San Jose.” – Sacramento Daily Transcript, July 31, 1850

The word library is derived from the Latin liber, meaning “book, letter, writing, list, catalogue, bark of a tree.” Libraries and civilizations have grown up side-by-side over the course of the last 5,000 years. With the development of writing, humankind has sought to record and store its most important information and most precious ideas in great repositories. Many, such as the fabled Library of Alexandria, the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, the Vatican Library, the British Library, or our own Library of Congress, have preserved and passed on much of humankind’s knowledge.

The California State Library is no exception. From a trunk full of books it has grown into one of the largest state library systems in the country. The State Library’s extensive and varied collections have served the people of the Golden State well for over 165 years. Its remarkable holdings have helped to create and sustain the foundation for California’s unique civilization.

California State Capitol Museum – Out of the Vault

This is a website specifically for the “Out of the Vault: Treasures from Your California State Library” Exhibit which runs May 30, 2016 – April 23, 2017 at the California State Capitol Museum.

For Museum-related information such as contacts, hours and location: Visit capitolmuseum.ca.gov.