Reagan Presidential Library
by Heather Salazar
Norwich University

Located in the hills of Simi Valley about an hour north of Los Angeles, California, the Reagan Presidential library contains millions of documents used during President Reagan’s administration. It also houses audio and video material, photographs, several personal paper collections from officials who worked in the Reagan Administration as well as personal papers from Reagan’s time as governor. The library also serves as the main repository for secondary sources written after the Reagan presidency.

It is highly recommended that researchers contact the library a couple weeks prior to their visit, especially if traveling from a distance, to ensure that their records are available. Once contacted, an archivist will reply to the researcher and work with them throughout their visit. Scholars must complete a researcher application either before or upon arrival. It is recommended visiting scholars submit their application prior to the trip in order to decrease time spent on paperwork upon arrival at the library. With the application completed, the scholar will receive a researcher identification card.

The library offers several ways to conduct research in effective and efficient manner. Lockers are located just outside the research room for bags and coats. Research tables are available and some contain receptacles for laptops, scanners, or battery chargers. The library comes with a wireless connection and the attendant will provide the researcher with a visitor ID and password to log in. The research room does have a pay-per-use copier ($.20/page) and the library staff can make copies for $.75/page. However, for researchers on a budget digital cameras and flatbed scanners are both allowed within the research room. Since food is not permitted in the research room, there are a couple dining options within the library. Researchers who pack their lunch may store it in the lockers; however there is no refrigeration available.

While generally expensive, some hotels offer discounts for government employees, military personnel, or for scholars visiting the Reagan Library. Scholars are advised to visit the Presidential library website for nearby hotels as well as local transportation options. While the hotels do not provide direct transportation to the library, those hotels within Simi Valley have access to the local bus system that services the library for a minimal fee. The hotels also provide a helpful list of local restaurants in the area, with meal options ranging from $15-$30. The total cost for hotel and transportation for a researcher can range from $90 to $175 per day.

As a note, the archives open an hour prior to the museum. If the student wants to begin their day before the museum opens, they must enter through the staff entrance and ask to go to the research room. If the student arrives after the museum opens then the student must enter through the main lobby of the museum and ask the admissions staff to enter the research room.

(Fall 2011)