Sherman Library & Gardens located at 614 Dahlia Avenue in Corona del Mar is open Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. for lunch). I spoke with Jill Thrasher, Head Librarian, who showed me through the collection and explained the protocol for using the materials. When one first visits, you are asked to fill out a FREE registration and show your photo I.D. Then (and every time thereafter), you are asked to sign in at the register.
According to the website (http://www.slgardens.org/the_library/default.asp), the Library acquires, organizes, and preserves all kinds of materials pertaining to the history of the Pacific Southwest. It contains approximately 25,000 books, pamphlets and other printed items, a very sizable number of maps and photographs, several hundred thousand papers and documents, and more than 2,000 reels of microfilmed material, including the Los Angeles Times from its beginnings in 1881.
The collections include City Directories from all over California, as well as some from Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii. The Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego directories begin in approximately 1886-1888. There are also local histories of Orange and Los Angeles Counties, including information about transportation, waterways, etc.
Only pencils are allowed in the library and there is no photocopying of directories; however, transcriptions and/or digital photos are allowed. There are a couple of microfilm and microfiche readers available.
Downstairs, there is an archives which includes maps, letters, scrapbooks, photos, newspapers, magazines, loose papers, oversized materials, and other miscellaneous files. The staff works with you to determine what you need and will pull the specific materials requested.
To maximize your time at the Library, it is suggested that you call ahead (949-673-1880) to determine the availability of materials helpful to your search as well as receiving suggestions from the staff. I have found that everyone is most helpful when I have called.