Local studies library
The local studies library is a collection of c.12,000 books and pamphlets as well as maps, newspapers and ephemera . It contains a wealth of information on all aspects of the Borough's history, life and culture from the earliest times to the present day. The library started off as the Staffordshire and Walsall Collection at the Central Library, Walsall in the early twentieth century and has been added to ever since.
Our earliest book, Camden's Britannia, dates from 1695.
Books and pamphlets
The collection includes:
- a large number of books on the county of Staffordshire, including the Staffordshire Historical Collections, and the transactions of the Staffordshire Record Society
- trade directories for Walsall and Staffordshire dating back 200 years
- books on local towns and villages
- information about people who have lived and worked in the area
- books by authors who were born or who have lived in the area
- information about local industries and the built environment
- reference books to aid research including how to trace your family tree and guides to historical sources
- periodicals and society journals about local and family history
The library also has a number of collections of ephemera which hold valuable information about the local area, including:
- trade and auction catalogues which give details of the products of local firms and property sales
- election pamphlets, details of parliamentary and municipal elections from the mid 19th century onwards
- theatre playbills and programmes for Walsall theatres from the 19th and early 20th century
- posters from the 19th and 20th centuries
- societies and organisations collection of ephemera
- the Jerome K. Jerome Collection, which contains illustrations, news cuttings and other material relating to Walsall’s most famous author
Local newspapers dating from the mid 19th century, the earliest being the Walsall Free Press which began in 1856, and continuing to the present day. As newsprint is very fragile the papers have been microfilmed to save wear and tear on the originals. Since the 1960s the newspapers have been indexed for significant events and references can be found by using a card catalogue.
Editions of Ordnance Survey maps dating from the 19th century onwards. They cover the whole of the present Metropolitan Borough. There is also a large collection of printed maps, including street maps, boundary maps, and Goad plans.