Local History Resources - LPC Library Research Guide

LPC Library Materials


Use the online catalog to find materials in the library. This will show you all the books, reference and check out, and audiovisual materials LPC Library owns. You can search for a book or video by the author, title, subject, or keyword. A subject search allows you to find books about a topic or a person. You may also ADD LIMITS to your search, such as "audiovisual" to find only videorecordings.

Examples of subject headings:

Costanoan Indians - History
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, California - History
Livermore Valley - History
London, Jack
Viticulture - California - Livermore Valley
Livermore limited by material type "audiovisual"

Selected Book Titles in the LPC Library:

Al Zampa and the Bay Area Bridges (Images of America). TG24 .C3 R63 2005

California: An Interpretive History. F861.B4 1998

Castro Valley (Images of America). F869 .C39 L67 2005

Crockett (Images of America). F869 .C93 R63 2004

Early Livermore (Images of America). F864 .L75 .E27 2006

Jack London's Boyhood in Livermore. PS3523.O46 Z78

The Ohlone way : Indian life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area. E99.C8744.M37 1978

San Ramon Valley: Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon (Images of America). F868.S2.L36 2005

Suburbia. E169.04.O95 1999

Serving the Nation for Fifty Years: Fifty Years of Accomplishments: 1952-2002. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. TD178.8.U55.S478 2002

High Hill of the Caves: The Story of Brushy Peak Regional Preserve. Videorecording. MV 23331

Livermore. Videorecording. MV 23329

The Spirit of Mission San Jose. Videorecording. MV 22131.

Reference Materials:

American Decades. Ref E169.12.A4192 1995, 10 vols.

America in the 20th Century. Ref E169.1.A471872 1995

American Indians. Ref E76.2.A45 1995 v. 1-3

California Archaeology. Ref E78.C15.M665 1984

California Biographical Dictionary. Ref F860.C35 1994

California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Ref F859.D87 1998

California Historical Landmarks. Ref F862.C12 1979

Companion to California. Ref F859.H33 1987

Encyclopedia of California. Ref F859.E52 1997/98 v. 1-2

Encyclopedia of North American Indians. Ref E76.2.E53 1997 v. 1-11

Encyclopedia of the American West. Ref F.591.E485 1998 v. 1-4

Handbook of North American Indians: California. Ref E78.C15.H412

Handbook of the Indians of California. Ref E78.C15.K78 1976

Historic Spots in California. Ref F862.H57 1990

Indians of California. Ref E78.C15.H44 1976

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ref E169.1.S764 2001 v. 1-3

Spanish and Indian Place Names of California. Ref F859.S26 1976

Special Collection

Newton Local History Collection - a pdf PDF Icon file listing over 300 non-circulating books on the history of the Tri-Valley area, Alameda County, California, and the West. Janet Newton, a long-time Livermore resident, gave her personal research materials, including the listed book collection and all her published materials to the LPC College Library in 1993. The materials were divided between the Library and the Livermore Heritage Guild. The Library cataloged and housed the books and the Livermore Heritage Guild preserved the personal papers and clippings.

You may also search for these books in the library catalog.



To find articles published in historic local newspapers, use the searchable subject index on CD-ROM on reserve at the circulation desk. Microfilm for the newspapers in this index is available at the Livermore Public Library.

  • Index into Livermore's Past, Part I: Bunshah Index of Livermore, California Newspaper Headlines from July 1899 through December 1929.
  • Index into Livermore's Past, Part II: Bunshah Index of Livermore, California Newspaper Headlines from January 1930 through December 1965.


To find current articles published in local newspapers, use America's Newspaers (NewsBank), an online database of local, regional and California newspapers, which contains the full-text of articles published in newspapers, including the: San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury, Valley Times and more. It can be accessed in the LPC Library or from home at the LPC Library Homepage.

Search Contra Costa Newspapers or All California Sources. Also try more options to narrow search by seaching text, lead/first paragraph, headline, author or other sections.

Examples of searches:

wine industry and Livermore
art and Livermore
revitalization and Livermore
Ravenswood and history
BART and Livermore Valley
Edward Teller and Lawrence Livermore Lab

Historical Societies

Historical Societies of California - an alphabetical list of centers and their addresses from the Genealogy Forum's Resource Center

A - L List
M - Z List 

Livermore Heritage Guild - the Guild is an information source for those who are interested in the history of Livermore and houses its collection in the historic Carnegie Library Building in downtown Livermore.

Carnegie Building, 3rd Street between "J" and "K" Streets, Livermore, (925)449-9927
Hours: Wed - Sun, 11:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Amador-Livermore Valley Historical Society Museum - nice collection of historical materials

California Historical Society
678 Mission Street, San Francisco, 415-357-1848
Hours: North Baker Research Library: Wednesday - Saturday, 11:00am - 5:00PM - Free to all
Museum Galleries: Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM - Admission: $3 for adults, $1 for students

Access to primary and secondary resources, relating to the history of California and the West from the early explorations to the present time. Library holdings include:

  • Manuscripts, including diaries and letters of gold rush miners and early settlers, nineteenth century businesses and political organizations
  • Over 35,000 books and pamphlets
  • Extensive ephemera collection
  • Maps
  • Posters and broadsides
  • Periodicals, newspapers, and microfilm
  • The Kemble Collections on Western Printing and Publishing

Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society Home Page - "... serves the cities of Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin and surrounding areas in the Livermore and Amador Valleys of southeastern Alameda County, in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area of California"

The Richard N. Schellens Collection of Historical Materials - "a fascinating and important synopsis of directories, maps, newspaper articles, excerpts from books and magazines, land records, interviews with local residents and much more. The material covers the history and geography of California, with a major thrust towards making it extremely useful to genealogists and historians. It fills 169 binders, which are organized by county"

Copies of the original documents for Alameda County, as well as of the index, are available at Pleasanton Library and The Livermore Heritage Guild Museum.


Livermore Public Library
Civic Center, 1188 South Livermore Avenue, Livermore, (925) 373-5500

Livermore Public Library offers the following resources for local history:

  • Local History On-Line Project
    Livermore resident Barbara Bunshah has created a unique resource indexing local newspapers from 1899 to 1965 and from 1970 through 1999. She continues to work on the 1966-1969 gap. The Index from 1899 -1965 is now availlable on a CD-ROM at Livermore Public Library. A PDF version of the Bunshah Index to Livermore Newspapers for 1899 (pdf) is available at this site.
  • Livermore Public Library has local newspapers on microfilm from the 1895 to the present. The older isssues came out once a week.
  • Use the Livermore Public Library online catalog to search for material. If they do not have an item, click the link, Image ofSearch Link+ Link. This link searches UC, CSU and other libraries supporting the Link+ interlibrary loan protocol. You will be able to borrow books from many libraries and receive them in about 2 weeks. The fines for overdue and lost items are high.
  • Livermore Roots Tracer Ten Year Index 1977-1987. Roots Tracer is the quarterly journal of Livermore Amador Genealogical Society (LAGS). Gary Drummond, local historian, writes articles for Roots Tracer, which is held in the reference section of the Livermore Public Library.

Pleasanton Library
400 Old Bernal Avenue, Pleasanton, (925) 462-3535

  • The Pleasanton Genealogy Information - includes links to a bibliography of the Library's genealogy collection; FamilySearch, information and contacts to branch Family History Centers; the Genealogy Home Page, a guide to genealogy resources on the Internet; and to L-AGS, Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society website, who "...maintains the largest collection of genealogical materials in the Valley. It is also the largest genealogy collection in any of the Alameda County branch libraries. Genealogy docents are on duty at the library on a regular weekly schedule"

Cal State East Bay Library
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward,(510) 885-3664

  • The Jensen History Collection - "Its significance stems from the light it sheds on many aspects of our local history - immigration, technology, agriculture, and ranching. The CSUH Library maintains the Collection in its archives for use by interested faculty and students who can use it in researching various aspects of our regional and local history.
    Anyone interested in these materials or the CSUH Southern Alameda County Collection - to which the Jensen Papers relate - is encouraged to call the Archives and Special Collections office of the Main Library. The archivist may be reached at (510) 885-3892."
  • Circulation Information for Educational Borrowers  

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, (510) 642-6481

  • The Bancroft Library
    "The Bancroft Collection, the Library's largest resource, documents the history of western North America, particularly from the western plains states to the Pacific Coast and from Panama to Alaska, with greatest emphasis on California and Mexico."

    You must register to use the library. Bancroft Library readers must be at least 18, or have graduated from high school. Current UCB photo identification is adequate for registration. Others must present two forms of identification (at least one containing a photograph). The site lists general information, access, library hours and how to get to the Bancroft.

    Includes the California Heritage Collection, an online archive of more than 30,000 images illustrating California's history and culture, from the collections of the Bancroft Library. Search with keywords such as Livermore, Pleasanton, Carnegie Library, Robert Livermore or California Heritage, etc.
  • Calisphere - "...the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. "
  • Online Archive of California - "There are over 1,000 texts in the Online Archive of California that are available online. These include transcripts of oral histories (interviews), personal narratives, letters, press releases, newspaper articles, and other types of documents."

    A search on Livermore returned 146 hits, many are photographs. A search on Pleasanton returned 69 hits.

California State Library
Library and Courts Building I, 914 Capitol Mall, Room 200, Sacramento, (916) 654-0176
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., excluding holidays.

Materials are available for all Californians for in-library use. The Main Catalog indexes the collections of the California State Library, including the Sutro Library in San Francisco.

  • California History Room -The California History Room collection covers all aspects of life in the State from prehistoric times to the present. In addition to the books and periodicals listed in this catalog, there are many other materials available such as Newspapers, Maps, Ephemera, Photographs, etc. The Picture Catalog and our Special Resources can help you search our holdings.

    Staff are available in the History Room to provide assistance in using this online catalog and the many special materials and files. Staff also provides access to the Rare book collection.

In San Francisco:

Sutro Library
480 Winston Drive, San Francisco, (415) 731-4477
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • The Sutro Library features U.S. local history, the notable rare book and manuscript collections formed by Adolph Sutro, and the finest genealogy collection west of Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Staff at the Sutro Library can provide assistance in using the Sutro Library's unique resources, including the family and local history catalogs and the other special indexes, guides, and bibliographies available to aid in genealogical and historical research.

    A search on Livermore and wine returned 5 hits. A search on Pleasanton and history returned 3 hits.

Oakland Public Library
Main Library, 125 14th Street, Oakland, (510) 238-3222

  • Oakland History Room - Books, clippings, photographs document the history of California with an emphasis on the East Bay located on the second floor of the Main Library 

San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, (415) 557-4567

  • The Daniel E. Koshland San Francisco History Center - contains a comprehensive, noncirculating research collection of materials covering all aspects of San Francisco, and to a lesser extent California and the West from the time of its earliest inhabitants to the present


ABAG - Association of Bay Area Governments is one of more than 560 regional planning agencies across the nation working to help solve problems in areas such as land use, housing, environmental quality, and economic development. Links to information on Bay Area cities, earthquakes, census data, projections and data, regional goals and policies, smart growth, housing, transportation, economic development, education, and environment, criminal justice and training, water policy and waste collection, and earthquake hazards and planning, etc.

History Detectives - by Barry Schrader, Livermore newspaperman and historian. His site is divided into History Mysteries, Books, Speeches, Time Capsules, Oral History, Biography, and Links. He says, "I hope you enjoy the stories, weekly columns, and mysteries that make up the rich heritage of our community. Please join me in my weekly columns as I explore little known facts, and bring a new mystery for you to solve. Also please make use of my other pages, resources, and links."

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory History - provides information about LLNL including: Facts & Figures, Laboratory Values, Management & Sponsors, Institutional Publications, Laboratory Operations, Ties to the Community, and History

City of Dublin

City of Livermore

City of Pleasanton

Internet Resources

You may want to explore some Internet resources to supplement or enhance your research. Always be cautious of information you find on the Web since the quality of sources varies tremendously on the Internet. It is always a good idea to check the information against another source. As with all information resources, whether in print or on the Internet, you evaluate its quality based on the following criteria:

  • Accuracy  (Is it free from mistakes and errors?)
  • Authority  (What are the qualifications of the author?)
  • Objectivity  (Is there any strong bias?)
  • Currency  (Is the information up to date?)
  • Coverage  (To what extent is the topic explored?)

Examples of Relevant Web Sites on Local History:

Use the links given in the websites of the above historical societies and libraries to find other local history links.

Berkeley Historical Society - maintains a great set of links to other Web pages and sites of interest to the Berkeley, California historian. There are links to the local media, universities, and arts and cultural sites. Other history links include San Francisco Bay Area, California, and general history related sources. Local History - Livermore, Pleasanton, and Tri-Valley History. "Livermore, Pleasanton, and the Tri-Valley have an interesting history, dating back to the 1800s. Early Rancheros, the Transcontinental Railroad, Hops Fields, wild times in the wild west, infamous bandits, quality wines, the Lincoln Highway, a Water Temple, and a tragic rock concert are all part of our colorful history. has a growing history section, which includes hundreds of historical and current photos and many historical write-ups. "

Menu of's History Content

  • Historical Photos: Livermore photos from the 1800s and 1900s;
  • Historical Publications: List of local historical publications available at the Livermore History Center;
  • History Timeline: A Timeline of Livermore Historical events;
  • Current Photos: Livermore, Pleasanton, and the Tri-Valley local sites and events;
  • People in Local History;
  • History on the Web: List of other web sites with history content;
  • Historical Buildings and Sites;
  • Quick Links to: Livermore Flagpole, Railroads, Wineries, William Mendenhall, Robert Livermore, Ravenswood, Highway Garage, Kottinger Barn, and Sunol Water Temple

Historic Topographic Maps of California - San Francisco Bay Area topographic quadrangles produced by the U.S. Geological Survey between 1895 and the present, covering from "Pt. Reyes south to Half Moon Bay and east to Antioch, Livermore and San Jose."

National Steinbeck Center - a museum and library devoted to John Steinbeck located in Salinas Valley. The collections include books by and about him, local and oral history, audio-visual materials, artwork, and theses. There are chronologies covering his family, awards received, and connection with Salinas.

The National Steinbeck Center
One Main Street
Salinas, CA 93901

San Jose State University: Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies - "The collection houses over 30,000 items--manuscripts, original letters, inscribed first editions, secondary works, film memorabilia, films, cassettes, and over 800 photographs. Scholars, students, and members of the community are welcome to use the collection and view the changing displays."

San Jose State University
One Washington Square
316 Wahlquist Library North
San Jose, CA 95192-0202
Telephone: (408) 924-4588

The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco - functions as a general multi-media website utilizing text, graphics, and sounds. We are primarily a research and educational site for scholars, young and old. Our site features the interesting, the amusing, and the unusual in San Francisco's history. ...An easy-to-use, searchable trove for local history.

Citation of Sources

Keep the printouts of your sources, or write out all pertinent information on author, title, publisher, date, Internet location, or whatever is necessary to identify where you got the information. Follow the format recommended by your instructor or ask a librarian to show you a "style manual". There are links to these instructions on the LPC Library web page: Citation Style Guides, as well as to the online resource, NoodbleBib, a bibliography composer.

Sandy Clark and Reference Librarians

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Last Updated: October 2, 2009

Library Telephone: 925.424.1150
Library Fax: 925.606.7249

Page last modified: February 05, 2014