From middle schoolers working on Social Studies projects, to PhD candidates completing their dissertations, the goal of the Cahlan Research Library is to help the public discover the history of Nevada and Southern Nevada. We realize that your time is important, and that’s why we ask that you plan your visit by reviewing the information below.


The library has variable hours. For details, view more schedule information here.

Walk-in Newspaper Research
Tuesday – Saturday, 9 am to 1 pm
please call ahead to make sure that the library will be open

All Other Research (maps, personal papers, phonebooks, etc.)
by appointment only or submit an online research request
702-822-8751 | to make an appointment
online research request

To learn more about what is available in our collections, view our collection guide.

Collection Guide

Using the Library

  1. All new researchers must register before using the library.
  2. Upon arrival, all researchers must check-in at the front desk.
  3. The library is open for walk-in newspaper research 9 am to 1 pm, Tuesday – Saturday, but please call ahead to make sure the library will be open – 702-822-8751.
  4. Please make an appointment or submit an online research request if you require access to anything other than newspaper research.

What is the Cahlan Research Library?

Broadly speaking, the Cahlan Research Library is a special library because it contains material of specialized interest. While public libraries contain materials on almost every topic imaginable, special libraries have a narrower focus (specialized interest). In the case of the Cahlan Research Library at Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, our specialized interest is the history of Nevada, with an emphasis on southern Nevada. Although we are not an academic library, our collections can be compared to university special collections. Famous examples of special libraries are the Library of Congress and presidential libraries.

Because items in the research library are museum artifacts that require special care, the library cannot be browsed. Additionally, material cannot be checked out from the library. In some cases, you may be required to use gloves to handle the material. Due to staffing shortages, anything other than newspaper research requires an appointment.

As part of a state museum, the library is open to the public and free to use. The research library also serves as a resource for museum staff. The research library can be broken down into several main sections (collections):

  1. Manuscripts Collection – Personal documents, organizational records, and other collections comprised of predominantly unpublished materials.
  2. Historical Publications – General published material that is usually unavailable in public libraries, such as cultural resource reports, high school yearbooks, and phonebooks.
  3. Ephemera – Printed material not meant to last, such as ticket stubs, programs, and flyers.
  4. Maps – Historical and modern maps, including topographic.
  5. Newspapers & Periodicals – Physical magazines/journals, newspapers, and microfilm of local newspapers.
  6. Books – Non-circulating (can’t be checked out) books that range from out-of-print and rare, to easily available and mass-produced, the book collection is comprised of material related to the historical, cultural, and natural resources of Nevada.
  7. Multimedia – Often associated with manuscript collections, multimedia is a broad category comprised of DVDS, CDs, VHS, cassettes, etc. that are stored as a separate collection for preservation purposes. Media might contain home movies, oral histories, documents, or photos. This collection also contains mass-produced videos like documentaries. Material can be viewed in the research library with an appointment.

Download the informational brochure.

To learn more about what is available in our collections, view our collection guide.

Collection Guide


Crystal R. Van Dee
Curator of Manuscripts