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Research is easy at the Santa Maria Public Library!

Come in to browse our special collections, speak to Reference Department staff, or use the digital resources below.


Archives Unbound - Archives Unbound presents digital collections of historical documents that cover a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward-from Witchcraft to World War II to 20th-Century political history. Collections are chosen for Archives Unbound based on requests from scholars, archivists, and students.

Calisphere - Calisphere is your gateway to California’s remarkable digital collections, with access to unique and historically important artifacts--nearly two million digital primary resource items--from over 300 cultural heritage organizations, including public libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and many more throughout the state. A public service of the University of California, developed by the California Digital Library, Calisphere is committed to providing free access to historical resources for research, teaching, and curious exploration.

MasterFile Premier -  MasterFILE Premier contains more than 1500 full text magazines and journals and more than 180 full-text reference books covering a wide-range of subject areas including business, health, education, general science and multicultural issues.

Reference Solutions - Find jobs by location and industry, research companies and business executives nationwide (formerly Reference USA)

ProQuest: Guided research and learning resources, reference solutions, and e-books available free in this database. Provided by the California State Library.

Luna Digital Collections - Photographic collections of local history of San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties, with emphasis on Adobes in San Luis Obispo County, African Americans on the Central Coast, Asian/Pacific Americans on the Central Coast, Edson Smith Photo Collection, Hispanics on the Central Coast, Native Americans on the Central Coast, Allan Hancock Collection and the Minerva Club Yearbooks. Access is not restricted.

Articles and More:

Overdrive Magazines - The digital magazine service and the world’s largest newsstand, that offers full color, interactive digital magazines for your enjoyment.

New York Times - The New York Times is available to read online from within the Library. You will find breaking news, multimedia, business, sports, movies, travel, books, jobs, education, real estate and more. Access to the New York Times is available outside of the Library using this link. Please note that a Library card and password are required.

Santa Maria Times - The Santa Maria Times is available on microfilm dating back to April, 1882. The link (available only within the Library) provides access to digital newspapers from 1882-2019.  This database is fully searchable and the individual articles may be printed, viewed, emailed, or saved directly from the database.

MasterFile Premier -  MasterFILE Premier contains more than 1500 full text magazines and journals and more than 180 full-text reference books covering a wide-range of subject areas including business, health, education, general science and multicultural issues.

Books and Literature:

NoveList - A fiction reader's advisory database. Find books by the same author, or similar books by another author. Browse by subject, genre, and theme for over 150,000 titles. Reviews, book discussion guides and annotated book lists constantly updated.

Overdrive Books - An in-depth selection of e-books and audio books.

Enki - Looking for a book title that you cannot locate from your local library or a big store book chain? Find and download books from smaller, independent publishers and self-published authors on Enki.

Hoopla - Instantly stream movies, music, and television shows or download audiobooks, comics, and eBooks. New titles are added daily. Titles for all age groups available. Library card required. Due to Hoopla’s popularity and budget constraints, the number of monthly Hoopla checkouts is five. If you are unable to obtain an item, please add it to your favorites.   

Braille Services (new to the website)

Language Learning:

Duolingo - A free resource for learning English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and many more languages. Create a profile to save your work. Select your native language and then select the language you wish to learn.

Learn English Aprenda Ingles  - A free website for adults to learn English. Developed by the Sacramento County Office of Education.

USA Learns - Learn English and prepare for the U.S. Citizenship course. 

  • English and Spanish version.

Government Resources: Provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal government.

California Municipal Guide

Permit Practice Tests - Get ready for your DMV test with these permit practice tests, read handbooks, and see the California DMV frequently asked questions. 

Santa Barbara County Resource Guide – a guide designed to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness and other shortages to gain access to services such as food, shelter and other basic needs.  

Social Security - Request a replacement Social Security card, apply for Social Security benefits, get your Social Security statement and more, online.

Veterans Resources: The California Department of Veteran’s Affairs website provides educational, employment, healthcare, housing, advocacy and claims information. See also the California Veteran’s Resource Book, a complete guide to State and Federal resources and benefits.

Genealogy and Obituaries: is the largest online family history resource. Research:

  • Census
  • Immigration
  • Military
  • Birth records
  • Death records
  • Marriage records

Special Collections


Job Training and Resources

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act to aid in recovery from the pandemic, the resources listed below have been made available to all public libraries in California via the California State Library. This project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

Career Pathways (State Library Databases)

Coursera - Patrons can build skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online from world-class universities and companies.

GetSetUP - GetSetUp is geared to those over 55 who want to learn new skills, connect with others and unlock new life experiences. Older adults have incredible knowledge to share and new mountains (literally and figuratively) to climb, but until now they haven’t had their own place to pursue their passions and continue creating, growing, and giving back.

LinkedIn Learning - Choose from thousands of online courses to learn in-demand skills from real-world industry experts. Get started with your library card.

NorthStar - A tool that provides assessments, instructor-led curricula and self-directed online learning for basic digital literacy skills.

Learning Express - A learning tool designed to help students and professionals at all levels of learning achieve their     educational and career-related goals.

Skillshare - Build upon your current skill set, start a side-hustle, begin new business ventures, and find a creative outlet during these uncertain times. Patrons create an account and redeem their access. Unlimited access available for three months.

Training & Resources

VetNow/JobNow by Brainfuse - offers access to live tutoring, job coaching, resume preparation, job hunting tools, and skill building resources. This database is available to use with a Library card and is provided by the California State Library. - Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.  Explore careers, find training, and search for jobs. - Occupational Outlook Handbook.  Explore careers and career forecasts.

Resources for Job Seekers - Provides resources and links for job training and skill building. - Build your resume in minutes. Offers tips, templates, and guides to help write a resume. - One-stop resource for California people who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Offers Covid-19 state resources and job searching help.

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