Collections and Services

Overview

The Polk County Historical & Genealogical Library is one of the largest facilities of its type, holding over 40,000 items in the collection. These books, microfilm and periodicals contain information about the history and genealogy of the entire eastern United States. Our selection of materials related specifically to the history of Polk County also contain local newspapers to 1881, aerial photography to 1938, city directories to 1925, property tax rolls to 1882 and much, much more. The library has four full-time staff members ready to assist each patron, from the beginner to the professional. We offer local obituary searches and basic look ups via e-mail. The staff offers beginning genealogy classes several times each year, free of charge. Check our calendar on this website for details.

Special Restrictions

The library is a non-circulating collection. Since some items are rare or one-of-a-kind, you will be allowed to take only a pencil, legal pad or spiral notebook inside the library. All other materials will be left in a locker before you enter. There is no re-shelving of materials and some areas are closed stacks. For most items, photocopying is allowed; but rare, fragile or oversize materials may be excluded. Children are admitted with a parent or guardian. No children under the age of 18 are allowed in the computer lab.

VIOLATION OF THE RESEARCH POLICIES WILL RESULT IN A CAUTION FROM THE LIBRARY STAFF. CONTINUED INFRACTIONS MAY RESULT IN YOUR DISMISSAL FROM THE LIBRARY.

FOR PRESERVATION PURPOSES, SECURITY CAMERAS ARE IN OPERATION IN THIS FACILITY.

Because the majority of our collection is NOT replaceable and because of damage and accidental or intentional losses from the collection, there are only certain items allowed inside the library.

Permitted Items Prohibited Items
  • Pencils
  • Legal Pads
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Loose Sheets of Paper
  • Laptop Computers
  • Sweaters and Jackets
  • Small Coin Purses
  • Prescription Medicine.
  • Ink Pens
  • Felt Tip Markers
  • High-Liters
  • Food or Drinks
  • Tobacco Products
  • Purses
  • Belly Packs
  • Brief Cases and Suitcases
  • File Folders
  • Acco Binders
  • Pocket Folders
  • Expandable File Folders
  • Personal Books and Magazines

All permitted items are subject to search.

Three Ring Binders may be left at the front desk.

Use of Library Materials

Books: Please limit yourself to 3 or 4 books at a time. Please DO NOT RE-SHELVE THE BOOKS, no matter how briefly they have been used. Place them on the book trucks when you are finished.

Magazines: Please limit yourself to 1 box of magazines at a time. Please DO NOT RE-SHELVE THE MAGAZINES, no matter how briefly they have been used. Place them on the book truck when you are finished.

Microfilm/Microfiche: Please limit yourself to 1 roll of microfilm at a time. Please DO NOT RE-FILE THE FILM OR FICHE. Please roll film back on the original spool and place it in the microfilm return area. Please place microfiche back in the original envelope and place in the microfiche return box. Microfilm cabinets are locked at 4:50 p.m..

Patron Access Computers: Please sign in before using any of the computers. Appointments may be made in advance. There is a one-hour limit if others are waiting. Printouts are .15 per page (printed one side only). Computers are turned off at 4:50 p.m..

Special Collections (limited availability): Please sign in on the Special Collections Visitor Register. You will be assigned a work cubicle by the staff. You may have only one book or vertical file at a time. Used books and files should be returned to the staff for re-filing.

Photocopies: Photocopying is available on all three floors of the library. Normal copies are .15 each. Microfilm copies are .50 each. The staff will make copies of all special collections materials. A change machine is available. All photocopiers will be turned off 10 minutes prior to closing. Each request for copies or scans of microfilm received via email or U.S. mail are subject to an additional $2.00 service charge.