Frequently Asked Questions - Email Reference (Ask Us!)


Getting Answers to Reference Questions

Did you know you can make an appointment with a member of our Reference Team? It's easy -- just call Reference Services at (831) 427-7713 to set it up.

You can also ask your question over the phone by calling (831) 427-7713 or by email using our online contact form or sending a message to eref@santacruzpl.org.

To get this information as well as available Reference hours at the various branches in an easily-printable pdf format, see the Reference Services Flyer.

For genealogical questions, contact the Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County at www.scgensoc.org/research-assistance/.

How do I obtain a copy of an obituary?

Obituary requests are handled by the Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County. Check their fee schedule and contact them directly for a copy of an obituary.

The Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County
P.O. Box 72
Santa Cruz, CA 95063-0072
(831) 427-7707 ext. 5794

How do I request a copy of an article from a Santa Cruz area newspaper?

If You Live Outside Santa Cruz County:

The library charges $5.00 for up to five (5) article requests, and $1.00 for each additional article in the same request. Please make check or money order payable to Santa Cruz Public Library.

In a letter, please give the complete citation for the article(s) you are requesting and mail it (along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and your check or money order) to:

Reference Department
Santa Cruz Public Library
224 Church St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

A staff member will contact you with any additional questions or fees. Please know that due to limited staff, requests are filled on an "as received" basis and processed as staff time permits.

**Please note that obituary requests are handled by the Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County. Check their fee schedule and contact them directly for a copy of an obituary.

The Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County
P.O. Box 72
Santa Cruz, CA 95063-0072
(831) 427-7707 ext. 5794

If You Live in Santa Cruz County:

Please note the complete citation of the article that you are interested in (the title of the article, the paper it appeared in, and the date it appeared). Then visit the Reference Desk at the branch library that has the article on microfilm or in a clipping file. Articles referenced in the Newspaper Clipping File database may be browsed or copied. The majority of local articles are also available on microfilm at the Downtown Branch.

How many email reference questions can I ask per day?

You may ask up to three questions per day. If you require further assistance, please visit your local library.

What questions can you answer by email?


  • We will answer questions that can be answered with short, factual responses, such as addresses or phone numbers of businesses or organizations, a historical fact or date, the source of a quotation, etc.

  • We can suggest appropriate sources for beginning or continuing your research.


What questions can't you answer by email?


  • We regret that we cannot offer in-depth reference services to patrons via email.

  • We cannot provide answers that involve medical interpretation or legal advice.


When will I get an answer to my email reference question?

Every reasonable attempt will be made by library staff to respond to email reference questions within 48 hours (except for holidays). If you have a more immediate need for reference services, please call the Telephone Reference Desk at (831) 427-7713, or visit your local library.

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