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library card file at CAAM


lawrence library
The Library, 1960
Jacob Lawrence (1917 - 2000)
Photo-mechanical reproduction

The Research Library supports the mission of the California African American Museum housing more than 20,000 items of books, periodicals, and records. The Library provides programmatic and research service and materials support for its staff and curators. The Research Library is managed by a certified librarian who is also available to serve the general public on days when the Museum is open and by appointment.

Highlights of the Library Collection

douglas bust
Bust of Frederick Douglas, ca. 1975
Alexander Krichett (1913 - 1999)
Cast bronze with patina
Gift of Florence Krichett in loving memory of Alexander Krichett

Over 4,000 Books -- Subjects areas include African and African American history, music, art and culture in general including books on painting and sculpture, literature and popular writings by such noted authors as Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, and Langston Hughes. Notable books include:

  • A rare copy of the Text Book of the Madame C.J. Walker School of Beauty Culture
  • An 1855 edition of My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass
  • The multi-volume Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History

Over 100 Popular and Scholarly periodicals (some dating back to the 1970s)

Access to 3 major daily newspapers (Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal)

Older issues of selected African American newspapers including the “Chicago Defender” and the “Pittsburgh Courier”

Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from The Revolution Through The Civil War (64 reels of microfilm)

Over 500 various titles of videos, DVDs and sound recordings


  • Quick reference
  • In-depth research
  • In-person access
  • Research assistance and material provided via telephone, FAX, E-mail nationwide
  • The Library space often doubles as classroom space to support education programs, meetings and presentations


  • Museum Staff
  • Curators
  • Researchers
  • General public interest in the contributions of African Americans to history and culture has led to a wide range of users such as a story consultant for a television program; writers; a costume designer working on an opera; reunion planners; teachers; an advertising agency for a major supermarket chain; and, history “buffs”.
  • Students of all ages. Students often seek information needed to complete assignments for Black History Month on African American inventors, artists, politicians, and sports figures

Contact Information and Hours (Subject to change)

Research Library phone: 213.744.2544

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 9AM - 5:30PM (subject to change based on volunteer coverage)
Wednesday through Sunday: 9AM - 5:30PM


The Research Library is open to the public for reference and research. All material must be used on site. Photocopy service is available (donations are appreciated). Advance appointments for anyone requiring research assistance are encouraged.

Community involvement

The Research Library is a member of the Associated Historical Societies of Los Angeles County and the Conference of California Historical Societies. Membership in these organizations gives us networking opportunities with over 500 historical societies, museums, and libraries throughout the State of California