The J. Paul Leonard Library

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit Any changes will appear on our errata page.


The mission of the J. Paul Leonard Library (JPLL) is to empower its university constituency with lifelong learning skills to identify, find, evaluate, use, and communicate information in promotion of excellence in scholarship, knowledge, and understanding. To fulfill its mission within the context of the missions of San Francisco State University (SF State) and the California State University (CSU) system, the library is committed to the following goals:

  • Collaborating with departmental faculty in incorporating information competence into the curriculum to ensure that all SF State graduates are competent in locating, retrieving, organizing, critically evaluating, analyzing, synthesizing, and communicating information in a cohesive, logical, and ethical manner;
  • Creating a learning environment that promotes study, research, and scholarly interaction in the context of a diverse campus community;
  • Supporting excellent teaching and learning by providing equally for all university constituents on-site and remote access to relevant materials in support of the curriculum in any format, whether owned by or at JPLL or elsewhere;
  • Encouraging through collections and access exploration of the broadest spectrum of viewpoints, constructs, cultures, beliefs, and methodologies;
  • Evaluating, selecting, and teaching information sources and search strategies relevant to the SF State curriculum;
  • Providing leadership to the University community in exploring and incorporating changing information technologies and formats;
  • Supporting an understanding and appreciation of diversity through collections, programs, and instruction; and through recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and staff;
  • Preserving cultural heritage through unique primary source materials;
  • Promoting, supporting, and encouraging the transfer and sharing of information and knowledge within the broader community, and the sharing of intellectual and creative resources locally, regionally, and internationally.

The J. Paul Leonard Library collections number over four million items, including books, magazines and journals, electronic resources, government publications, microforms, media, computer software, and maps. Electronic resources include electronic full-text journals, e-books, and databases used to locate journal articles and reference information. Information about these materials is accessible via the library’s online catalog and the Library’s website.

Computer stations on campus offer access to the Library’s online catalog, electronic resources and other information available on the Internet. Computers and quiet and group study areas are available to students during extended hours. Off-campus access to the library’s electronic resources is available to the campus community at any time using your SF State ID and password.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance

The J. Paul Leonard Library building follows universal design principles.


Students may borrow from the library's main collection and many of its specialized collections by presenting their OneCard (university identification card). Neither the card nor books borrowed on it may be transferred to another person. Loss of a student ID or change of address should be reported immediately to the library Book Checkout & Pickup desk and to the Registrar's Office. Students from other CSU campuses may borrow books directly from the J. Paul Leonard Library if they present a current CSU identification card and register with JPLL to obtain a special borrower’s card.

Borrowing from Other Libraries

You may request items such as books, dissertations, and copies of journal articles not available at this library. Register for a Library PIN to use the LINK+ service; register for ILLiad for all other requests.


  • Books: print and electronic books are accessible by using the Library catalog. Printed books are located in open shelving on the 3rd and 4th floors by call number, and in the Library Retrieval System (LRS). Request LRS titles online via the library catalog and pick up at the Book Checkout & Pickup desk on the 1st floor. Electronic books (eBooks) are linked from the book’s record in the Library catalog.
  • Government Publications: the Library is a selective government depository housing federal, state, international and local government publications. Most government publications are included in the Library catalog. For electronic sources, check the Library website under Find Government Information.
  • Magazines & Journals: most of the Library’s collection of magazines and journals are available electronically using the Library website. Printed magazines and journals published within the past two years are located on open shelves on the 3rd floor. Bound journals are available from the Library Retrieval System. Ask at Research Assistance for help in identifying how to locate a magazine or journal article.

Computers & Printing

  • Study Commons: Large study area on the ground floor with Mac and Windows PCs, color and black & white printing, group study rooms and quiet study room. Open extended hours during fall and spring semesters. Available for use by SF State faculty, students and staff only.
  • Research Commons: Large study area on the first floor with Mac and Windows PCs, color and black & white printing, laptop checkout, group study rooms and quiet study room. Open extended hours during fall and spring semesters, and winter and summer sessions.
  • Digital Media Studio and Maker Space: high-end computer lab on the second floor supporting digital media creation with specialized hardware and software, 3D printers, a 3D scanner, electronics tinkering kits from LittleBits and Arduino, scanners for large documents and images and a large-format poster printer.

Friends of the J. Paul Leonard Library

Established in 1980 to promote the love of books, strengthen relationships between the University and the community, and to raise funds beyond those available in the regular budget for library services. Membership is open to SF State students, faculty, staff, and community adults. Privileges include borrowing books and use of many library services. The Friends maintain a Booksale Room and accept used books and other donations.

Research Assistance

The Library provides research assistance in person, by phone, email and via instant/text message. At the Information and Research Assistance service points, library faculty and staff offer advice on library research and assistance using library resources. Appointments may be made with subject specialists for research advice on term papers and similar projects. The Library also offers research workshops for classes at the request of instructors, and online research guides and short video tutorials for those who prefer to explore research help on their own.

Media & Classroom Support

Provides access to the University’s media collection such as videotapes, compact discs, audiotapes, and computer software.

Media Viewing & Listening

First floor area near Book Checkout & Pickup counter for students to watch DVDs, Blu-Ray disks and VHS tapes, and to listen to LPs, tapes and CDs. Bring your own or check media out from the Library collection.

Reserve Materials

The Reserve collection provides materials in high demand for assigned readings in courses. Articles and other short readings are available through links on course pages in iLearn. Print, media and other materials on reserve are available at the Library's Book Checkout & Pick up desk.

Special Collections & Archives

University Archives & Historic Collections

University Archives & Historic Collections houses archival material about the history of San Francisco State University, the Archer Collection of Historic Children's Books, the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Archive, the Paul K. Longmore Papers, and other rare or unusual materials.

San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive

The Bay Area Television Archive’s local news film and documentary collections dramatize San Francisco’s social revolutions throughout the 1960s and 70s and much of the material can be viewed online from the Library’s website.

The Frank V. de Bellis Collection

The Frank V. de Bellis Collection of the California State University is a library-museum representing the civilization of ancient and modern Italy, particularly in the areas of history, literature, fine arts, and music. Holdings include rare books, music scores, archival sound recordings, manuscripts, periodicals, microfilms, art prints, artifacts, and coins.

The Labor Archives and Research Center

The Labor Archives and Research Center, collects, organizes, preserves, and makes accessible the records documenting the lives of working men and women and their labor organizations in the Bay Area.

The Sutro Library

The Sutro Library, a branch of the California State Library is open to all citizens of California and includes over 140,000 volumes and 40,000 historical pamphlets. Among its collection strengths are natural history, Mexicana, Shakespeareana, records of the Pacific voyages of discovery, the history of printing, genealogy, and local history.

More information about the library, including descriptions of services and policies, is available via the library website: