Library Services

Library Services

Reference Services - Overview

The Library staff offers help in researching the answers to information and reference questions at all branches. The Downtown Branch serves as the System reference headquarters and contains a substantially larger collection of research materials. Reference librarians are available at the Downtown Branch during all open hours, and at the Aptos, Live Oak, and Scotts Valley Branches in the afternoons.

By Phone

Call (831) 427-7713 to ask your question at the Downtown Branch or to make an appointment with a member of the Reference Team.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday-Saturday 12pm-5pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm

Text Us

Text questions to 831.264.0647

By Email

Email us with your questions

Online Reference Resources

Most of the Library databases are available at all terminals in all branches and from anywhere with an internet connection. You must have a valid library card and PIN.

Genealogical Questions

The Genealogy Library is housed within the Downtown Branch but its materials belong to the Santa Cruz County Genealogical Society. They do offer research assistance, provided by qualified volunteers. For more information, please visit their website:


Library staff use available sources of information to answer questions. This includes, but is not limited to books, electronic databases, internet resources, and government agencies. Exhaustive or lengthy research is not a role we are equipped to undertake nor should it be expected as such, although we make every effort to assist in guiding patrons compiling varying degrees of information to appropriate sources.

  • Medical, legal, taxes, etc.
    Only general information can be provided for questions related to legal, medical, and tax specific inquiries as these are fields which require expertise and training that public librarians do not generally possess, but may in some cases require a referral to a more appropriate specialty library. Library staff can provide brief assistance with special interest searches such as social networking, shopping, Craigslist searching or personal interest websites but are not able to engage in lengthy or prolonged guidance. Patrons will be given a brief overview to the resources available so the patron can conduct their own research.

  • Time limits
    3 questions or 15 minutes by phone or in person, with discretion by the library staff in setting reasonable limits on both the amount of time and level of response in order to ensure fair and equitable access to all.
    Staff will not engage in conversation or debate of a personal nature or interest(s) that demands time beyond basic answering of informational needs whether in person or on the phone.

  • Depth of research limits
    Off desk follow up can last up to one hour of research for patrons or as common sense dictates.
    Tech help should be limited to helping patrons with commonly used hardware and software, not specialized and complex technologies.

  • Priority of service
    In-person requests for service receive priority.

  • Extent of printing
    10 pages maximum per reference interaction, or as common sense dictates.

Available at these branch libraries:

Last updated on March 15, 2023

Contact Us

SCPL staff available
Mon-Thur 10am-6pm
Fri-Sat 10am-5pm
Sun 1pm-5pm

Email Us


Text 831.264.0647


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