Library Services

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Adriana Popescu, Dean of Library Services
Robert E. Kennedy Library (Bldg 35)
Phone: 805.756-5760

Kennedy Library supports Cal Poly’s mission by promoting open and informed inquiry in an inclusive and welcoming environment, fostering collaboration and innovation, supporting the unique needs of every student and scholar at Cal Poly, and contributing to the cultural life of San Luis Obispo.

Kennedy Library selects and delivers information in all formats, provides active learning environments, promotes the skills that are needed for student success, and collects and preserves unique collections.


The library offers consultative and instructional services delivered by expert library faculty serving each of Cal Poly’s colleges as well as in areas that serve the entire academic community, such as digital scholarship and special collections. In addition, the library provides students with print and electronic access to selected course materials through its course reserves service; and rapid access to books and articles held by other regional libraries through its interlibrary borrowing service. Reference and research help is provided at service desks and via 24/7 live chat. The 24-hour study space, Hub24, is located on the first floor of the library and is open 24 hours every day throughout the year.


Librarians partner with faculty to help students develop research skills relevant to all disciplines. They work with students to ensure they acquire and practice the skills they need to succeed in a complex information environment. This includes finding quality information and using it to communicate skillfully through a variety of media. The librarians and a team of peer-to-peer student assistants teach more than 400 workshops each year and provide web- based resources to supplement in-class instruction.


In partnership with Information Technology Services, the library offers students, faculty, and staff many services including access to the campus high-speed wireless network, technology rentals, and 300 computers with instructional related software applications. Oversized and specialty (CAD) printing services are also available from the campus print and copy service located in the library. Student technicians are on staff to help.

Assistive Technology

Kennedy Library provides general-use assistive technology/collaboration stations throughout the building, featuring a range of assistive hardware and software applications including screen readers, dual displays and height adjustable tables. Sensus Access software is also provided for a self-service, alternate media solution to automatically convert files into a range of alternate media including audio books, e-books, and digital Braille.

Electronic and Print Resources

Kennedy Library provides access to more than 60,000 electronic scholarly journal titles, as well as to major online indexes and full text databases. These electronic resources are available to Cal Poly students, faculty and staff anytime and anywhere. The library also has over 600,000 eBooks, a physical collection of 300,000 print volumes, and a significant number of other items, including maps, government documents, senior projects and master’s theses.

Special Collections and Archives

Established in 1969, Special Collections and Archives makes primary source collections available for public research and customized instruction sessions. Each year, thousands of items are digitized for easy online access, from organizational records and architectural drawings to oral histories and photographs. Collecting strengths include California architecture, limited edition artists’ books, the graphic arts, and regional history. Examples include the Central Coast Farm Labor Organizing Collection, the Julia Morgan Papers, the Louis Family Papers, the Moore Underground Comix Collection, the Re/Collecting Project Archive, and the San Luis Obispo Environmental Archives, and the Women’s Zine Collection.

The University Archives documents the history, growth and development of Cal Poly, dating from the founding of the university in 1901 to the present. The archives include presidents’ papers, campus and student publications, the LGBTQIA Oral History Project, and web content such as the Mustang News website and the Cal Poly YouTube channel.


One of the first and largest institutional repositories in the California State University system, DigitalCommons@CalPoly promotes discovery, research and cross-disciplinary collaboration by collecting, preserving and providing online access to scholarly work created at Cal Poly. DigitalCommons@CalPoly archives faculty research and student scholarship including theses, senior projects, and graduate internship reports. Since its inception in 2008, more than 23 million scholarly items have been downloaded worldwide. Members of the Cal Poly academic community are invited to contribute completed scholarship for long-term preservation and worldwide access through DigitalCommons@CalPoly.

Digital Projects Lab

Digital Project Lab provides specialized guidance in learning complex data analysis and data visualization tools. With dedicated computers, large screen monitors, and GIS and statistics tutors on-site, Digital Project Lab provides an ideal environment for students to learn, experiment and develop their skills in analyzing and visualizing data.


Kennedy Library offers a variety of seating and study spaces on five floors, with ample natural light and views of the surrounding hills. The library offers 40 study and collaboration spaces, including large collaboration rooms, group study rooms and two dedicated graduate student study rooms; all are equipped with large screen monitors and whiteboards. There are two additional collaboration rooms, the Video Studio and Virtual Meeting Room, which support student presentation preparation and virtual conferencing. The library offers a secure and expanded 24-hour study space on the first floor. The library offers more than 2000 seats for study and collaboration, specialty printing and copying services and a café. The library’s atrium features a landscaped patio and shaded seating on four upper balconies. Kennedy Library is visited more than 1.5 million times a year and has been regularly voted “Best Study Spot” by students.

Events and Exhibits

Kennedy Library offers ongoing events and exhibits including: Faculty Exhibit Program; Conversations with Cal Poly Authors, which celebrates books published by Cal Poly faculty; and Data & GIS Workshops, a series of talks and events related to data resources and visualization tools. Exhibits are curated in partnership with Cal Poly students and faculty, as well as members of the Cal Poly community, and often feature faculty and student creative works and unique holdings of Special Collections and Archives.


Kennedy Library is proud to partner with programs that support student learning. Among the partners located in the library are Academic Programs and Planning; Academic Skills Center; the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology; the Writing and Learning Initiatives, ITS Service Desk and Tech Rental; Student Ombuds Services; Cal Poly Print and Copy; and the University Honors Program.