Using History Room Resources

General Information

History Room resources can provide an excellent starting point for research into many aspects of Holyoke history. All materials must be used onsite. Before your visit, please review these guidelines for using the collections.  Following these guidelines helps us ensure long term public access to these materials.

Access to Collections

Items from the collections may not be borrowed or checked out. Please see our Duplication policies if you need copies of any items for study.

Reading Room collections are available for use during open hours.  Most archival collections, however, must be retrieved from storage. Ideally, let us know at least 24 hours in advance of your visit, so that the requested items can be retreived for you.

If using microfilm, users may be  limited to 1 hour of microfilm reader use if others are waiting. All microfilm readers allow printing for a small fee.  Microfilm images may also be saved as PDFs or JPGs.

A public access computer is available in the History Room for online historical and genealogical research.  Patrons may access Ancestry Library Edition from the History Room or from any HPL computer. Regular Library computer time limits apply.  If you are an out-of-state visitor and unable to log into our computers, let a History Reading Room staff member know.

Assistance and Guidelines

The Reading Room is always staffed during open hours so that we can provide assistance to patrons. With some exeptions, we provide original materials for research use. In other cases, we may provide photocopies for research use or digital items. In order to preserve these materials for long term use by the public, we expect visitors to observe these guidelines:

  • Complete a short registration form
  • Remove hand sanitizer from hands with the wipes provided or wash hand with soap and water. 
  • Store personal items and coats in the locker area of the Reading Room
  • Use only pencils while working with materials
  • Please do not bring food or drink into the Reading Room
  • Observe any specific handling guidelines you are given
  • Work at a table or other work surface, so that materials are well-supported while in use

Copies of the complete guidelines are available in the Reading Room.

Duplication and Duplication Fees

  • With some exceptions, patrons may use non-flash photography to copy research material for personal use. Staff will assist you in this process. If you plan to use the newspaper microfilm, you may wish to bring change (for printouts) or a usb drive (for saving scans). If you know how to access your email, you can also send scans to yourself. 
  • Due to the fragile nature of most of our materials, we do not permit self-service photocopying of manuscripts or books. Except in the case of oversize, extremely fragile items, or tightly bound items, our staff can provide copies or PDF scans of needed material. We can copy certain items on the spot, but cannot generally offer same day service on scans or large copy orders.  Please also note that we do not copy entire written works.  See the fee schedule below.
  • The fragile nature of most materials means that we cannot permit the use of portable scanners.
  • All copies, photographs, and scans are for personal, research use only. If you wish to display, duplicate or publish an image of an item in the collection, please ask for a copy of our duplication policy. We reserve the right not to copy material if we believe this may be in violation of U.S. copyright law.
  • Photocopy orders $.25 per page
  • Microfilm printing $.25 per page
  • Newspaper items (including obituaries, if we mail or email to you), suggested donation: $4.00 per page, PDF. 
  • Image scans (JPG: $5.00 per scan) (TIFF: $10.00 per scan)
  • Multi-page PDFs:  please contact us for fees 
  • Images on USB drive we provide (in addtion to scanning fee): 5.00 per drive

Checks should be made out to the Holyoke Public Library.

Research Correspondence and Inquiries

Research requests should be directed to the archivist of the History Room and Archives (Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke, MA 01040 OR A research question or a request for single obituary takes an average of 7-14 days depending on the complexity of the request.  Any relevant information that researchers provide will speed up the search process. Patrons with reference inquiries not requiring History Room resources may be referred to a Reference Librarian.

We do not charge a fee for brief inquiries for historical information.Complex research questions generally require a personal visit.