Norwalk History Room
The history room and archive combines the library's former Local History Collection with the archival collections of the former Norwalk Museum. The lower level of the main library building at 1 Belden Avenue houses this large array of published and unpublished books and papers, photographs and maps, among other materials, recording over three hundred years of Norwalk history.
Library employees and volunteers will provide suitable access during the open hours, in person, via telephone, mail or email. While the library online catalog identifies books, journals and some other materials, cataloging the remainder of the collection online will be an ongoing process. A physical card catalog is available as a finding aid for many of the identified items.
Due to the unique and fragile nature of most of the collection, patrons may not browse the archival area. Staff will find and retrieve materials desired by the patron and determine how they can be viewed or copied. Since one of the objectives of this historical collection is to preserve it safely for succeeding generations, immediate viewing or reproduction of some items may not be allowed. Original archival items may not be loaned or otherwise leave the building except in custody of a staff member for reproduction at an offsite facility when necessary. We plan to film, copy or digitally scan as many such materials, as time and funding permit, to enable the broadest access possible to current and future patrons.
Monday - Friday
11:00 - 4:00
10:00 - 4:00
1:00 - 4:00
and by appointment: (203) 899-2780 x15125
(The history room follows the Norwalk Public Library schedule for holiday closings)
Using archive materials:
Staff are available during open hours (and by appointment) to answer questions, assist in locating materials and provide reference help. Staff will retrieve items for patron use in the adjacent public area.
Staff will be happy to also take requests by telephone, regular mail or email. If a visit is planned in advance, it will be helpful if reference needs can be made known ahead of time by telephone or e-mail to save time in locating relevant material. E-mail requests should be as specific as possible, including known names, dates and places. Staff cannot provide in-depth research – requests requiring more than one-half hour of staff time.
Patrons are required to sign in with name, date and time and leave an ID with the librarian when using archive items. Due to the nature of the materials, only pencils and paper may be used. Laptops will be permitted. Wireless internet access is available throughout the library.
Staff will photocopy pages or documents unless it is determined that the item could be damaged by this process. Patrons’ digital cameras may be used to take an image for personal use.
Copy Fees: Black and white – 10 cents a page, Color – 50 cents a page.
A microfilm reader/printer is available in the public area for the several items currently on film, including the “Norwalk Gazette” and “South Norwalk Sentinel” newspapers. The Hour newspaper (1895-present) and filmed city directories (1881-1960) remain on the Main Floor.
Digital Images and Reproductions Fees:
Digital files of scanned images are available for purchase. Some of the Norwalk Public Library History Room’s images have already been scanned, though most have not. Existing scans can be searched by general subject area on a computer in the History Room. New scans can be made from prints in the collection.
The current practice of the History Room is to scan photographs of 4 x 5 in. or larger at 600 dpi, in TIFF format. Many of the older scanned images in the collection are of lower resolution, or a different format, and in these cases new scans may need to be made, depending on the intended use of the scan.
Scans can be provided either as TIFFs or as JPEGs, with delivery by e-mail, CDs, flash drives, or cloud services. Payment in full is required in advance.
Though the Norwalk Public Library History Room provides scans, it does not have copyright to all the materials in its collection. It is the user’s responsibility to determine if the intended use violates any copyright laws. The History Room reserves the right to withhold permission for the reproduction of any materials.
Photo Reproduction Fees:
Copy of Existing Scan $5.00
New Scan $15.00
For personal use of these scans, there is no further charge. Personal use includes use for academic or research purposes, or for display in private home or office.
Public Use Fees:
Public use includes display of an image in a public space and/or the publication of an image. The fees are per item, and are in addition to the Photo Reproduction Fees. Permission for one-time use of reproductions of the History Room materials must be obtained in advance. The credit line for the images should be: “The Norwalk Public Library History Room.”
Non-profit organizations $20.00
Commercial organizations $40.00
At the discretion of the History Room staff, the public use fees may be waived for non-profit local history organizations.
Uncatalogued Collection Contents - By Category:
- Assorted Ephemera
- Business Records
- Church Records
- City Directories
- Public Records
- School Records
- Land Records
- School Yearbooks
- Treasures of Connecticut Libraries Collection - Type “Norwalk” in the search box to view the pictures of the Norwalk Library and South Norwalk Library that have been added to this digitization project. More items will be added over the next two years.