top of page

Mission Statement

The Local History Room at the Lawrence Public Library collects, organizes, preserves and provides access to a non-circulating collection of primary and secondary sources that document the history of the City of Lawrence, its residents, government, environment, businesses, institutions, and organizations.

Scope of Collection

The collection includes, but is not limited to, personal manuscript and photograph collections; records of
local churches, businesses, and nonprofit organizations such as the Robert Frost Foundation and the
White Fund, and numerous papers and published products of city government agencies including
engineering plans, maps, and photographs, school department records and high school yearbooks;
police logs, and fire alarm logs. Highlights include a small selection of primary records and a
comprehensive collection of published works by the poet Robert Frost. Secondary sources such as books and journals published about the city, religion, immigration, and especially the 19th and 20th century mill and factory industries are also included, along with a broader scope of textiles. Also included is a robust vertical file collection of newspaper clippings covering hundreds of topics and highlights of Lawrence residents, as well as a collection of local newspapers on microfilm from the 19th and 20th century.

Criteria for Inclusion

● Relevance to Lawrence

● Authenticity of record

● Non-duplication of material within the collection

● Quality of physical form of material

● Cost to preserve, store and process

● Restrictions by donor

Formats Items may be accepted in any format, including manuscript, printed, or digital. Photographs and documents may be removed from their frames if accepted into the collection. Three-dimensional artifacts will not be accepted by the Library unless they can be properly housed and are deemed
appropriate to the collection.

Donating to the Collection

Because history is created daily, materials that enhance the mission of the Local History Collection and meet the selection criteria will be accepted by the library. The Local History Room staff will not create any new historical documents, only collect, preserve, and make accessible those created by other people and/or organizations. In order to establish the transfer of ownership, the Library requests that a deed of gift be completed by the donor/representative and the Local History Librarian/Archivist. The deed of gift documents the donation of property and transfer of copyright (if applicable) to the Library, and is signed by the donor. It also includes a complete description of the donated item and information regarding past ownership of that item. The deed of gift also establishes conditions (if any) governing the transfer of the title from the donor to the Library. Once the deed of gift is signed by the donor, the donated item becomes the property of the Library. Loans for exhibits may be asked for from time to time, but no permanent material loans will be accepted by the Local History Room.
The Library reserves the right to refuse an offered donation. The Library will not accept material that can harm other material in the collection, such as anything that shows damage from mold, mildew, water, insects, smoke, or dirt.

The Library may also decide not to accept items which it cannot properly store, display, or otherwise care for. The Library will only accept material with access-limiting restrictions when the restrictions are reasonable and necessary to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the donor. Any restrictions will be recorded on the deed of gift, and will be adhered to by the Library. All restrictions will specify a date when full access will be granted.
The Library reserves the right to decide how the donated material will be displayed or stored, how the item may be used by the public, and how long the item will be retained. Materials in the local history collection (especially photographs and negatives) may be scanned and placed on the Internet for viewing, may be moved from the local history collection to other sections of the library, may be sold, or may be transferred to another library (See Reappraisal and Deaccession).

Special Collections Rules & Procedures

  1. No food, gum, candy, or drink is permitted while viewing non circulating and/or special collections materials.

  2. Materials used at tables in the local history area are under the supervision of library staff.

  3. Silence all electronic devices.

  4. All hands must be clean and dry before handling materials.

  5. Photographs and especially fragile paper records may require the use of nitrile gloves in handling these items. The librarian on duty can offer these to researchers.

  6. Pencils only.

  7. Materials may not be transferred from one researcher to another.

  8. Materials may not be leaned on, written on top of, or have objects placed on top of them.

  9. Supports and weights are available as necessary.

  10. All bound material must be used with a book cradle.

  11. Some manuscript materials may be governed by special restrictions, including thphysical condition of the manuscripts, and whether microfilm or printed copies are available.

  12. Researchers will be limited to one folder from an archival collection at a time. 5 books will be permitted at a time.

  13. Manuscripts must be maintained by the reader in the order in which they are received. If errors of arrangement or identification are noted, please inform the librarian on duty.

  14. Materials will not be retrieved within thirty minutes of closing time. It is the researcher's responsibility to satisfy copyright requirements for any re-use of material.

15. Photography of library materials is allowed. Restrictions may apply. Please refer to a librarian for details.

16. Photocopies and personal photography are for the reader's personal use only, and may not be published, recopied, or deposited in another library.
17. Pre-booked appointments are highly encouraged for microfilm usage. If the machine is utilized on a first come, first served
basis, 1.5-hour time slots will               be 
given to the researcher.
18. Staff members will pull the desired microfilm reels one at a time for researchers.

bottom of page