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Research HeaderResearch 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.


The Library also now offers remote access to from outside the Library. Patrons are able to type in their Library cards to gain access. This is the world's largest online family history resource. Through it, you can research census, immigration, military, birth, death and marriage records, and other useful and relevant information sources.

Effective December 31, 2021, remote access to the database will no longer be available.


Archives Unbound - Archives Unbound presents digital collections of historical documents that cover a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward-from Witchcraft to World War II to twentieth-century political history.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.

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.

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

Articles and News

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.

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.

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.

Student Resources (K-12)

Brittanica Escolar - Age-appropriate Spanish-language encyclopedia for elementary and middle school students.

California Missions e-Books - Popular books for children about all California Missions published by Follett in electronic format. eBooks can be viewed online. When prompted, please enter the following Username and Password:
Username: ca missions
Password: ca missions
Please note that users will be automatically logged out after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Encyclopedia Brittanica (School edition) - age-appropriate English-language encyclopedias for elementary, middle, and high school. 

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

Teaching Books  - This resource is sponsored by the California State Library, and offers a wide variety of information on Children’s authors and books to enrich the book reading experience and connect readers with the literature they read.  Book related activity ideas for educators, parents, and librarians are available, as well as reading lists, author readings, and more.

Student Resources (college and beyond)

Homeless Youth and Higher Education - Resources, programs and awareness for college students in need.

Tuition Funding Sources - a website designed to help students find scholarships, college and career information. Information includes: Scholarships, College Search, Career Guidance, Financial Aid Info, Online Degrees, and Student Loans. 

Government 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.

Voter's Edge: Get the facts before you vote. View your entire ballot, find your polling place, and get all the unbiased resources you need to make informed decisions on election day. For more information, also see GODORT's Voting and Election Toolkit.

Book Connections

Personalize and enjoy digital connections to books for kids and teens.



Need help from Book Connections? See our support page. 800-596-0710 |