State Library's LIS Collection

How to Request Materials
If you would like to request this or other materials from the State Library of Kansas, please use your library’s established interlibrary loan process. This collection is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of Kansas.

View All Posts

Dec 16

Local History Reference Collections for Public Libraries (2015)

Posted on December 16, 2015 at 11:05 AM by Brian Herder

Local History Reference Collections

Local History Reference Collections for Public Libraries (2015)

Kathy Marquis and Leslie Waggener

American Library Association


A collection of local history materials is useful to a wide variety of library users, from genealogists and family historians, to patrons researching the history of their home or church, and local students searching for class project resources. But the idea of creating one can feel intimidating--conjuring up visions of establishing elaborate security procedures, finding dedicated space to house the materials, and even the need for new staff to process and provide access to the collection. Yet there’s a much easier way, one that spotlights your existing materials by complementing them with published materials commonly found in or available to public libraries. Speaking from their own experiences, while also sharing examples and ideas from other libraries around the country, the authors present a start-to-finish guidebook for creating a local history reference collection that your community will embrace and use regularly. Written in a to-the-point manner that facilitates easy implementation, this book:
  • Shows why a local history reference collection is important, how it fits into a library’s mission statement, and offers tips for getting stakeholders on board
  • Summarizes current trends and practices, explaining the differences between a local history reference collection and an archive
  • Walks you through each step of planning and setting up a collection, offering guidance for determining your audience, gathering materials, cataloging and processing, and collaborating with other local history organizations
  • Includes advice on housing your collection, providing access for researchers and other users, and staff training
  • Gives tips for marketing and outreach, including how to bolster your collection’s presence on the web and in social media
By using materials already in your library or easily available to you, creating a local history reference collection can be easier than you think, and this book shows you how.