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Haunted Stacks

Sacramento Public Library

Problem Statement

The Sacramento Room, the Special Collections and Archives of the Sacramento Public Library, was challenged with educating a wider and more diverse audience about the Sacramento Room, its resources, and the rich heritage of the region.


The 2010 Sacramento Room Haunted Stacks program (October 22, 2010) was a joint venture of the Library’s programming department and the Sacramento Room. Around 100 visitors viewed a Halloween movie (Ghostbusters) in the Library’s Tsakopoulos Galleria and signed up for “haunted” tours of the historic Sacramento Room. As visitors of all ages toured around the darkened Sacramento Room, they learned about the library’s history and heard colorful tales from the city’s past. Over a dozen staff members drawn from across the Sacramento Public Library system donned costumes to impersonate historic Sacramento characters who had met their ends through murder, flood, fire, disease and even a horse kick to the head.


The Haunted Stacks program was well-attended and very positively received. The programming department specifically targeted the library’s 20s and 30s alt+library group in publicizing the program. It served as an innovative approach to reaching a more diverse audience through both in-reach and outreach. Visitors who otherwise would not consider visiting the Sacramento Room were given an engaging introduction to the library. In addition, staff across the library system became more familiar with the Sacramento Room mission and resources.