The mission of the Local History Room is to collect, preserve, and make accessible materials with historic significance to the Town of Billerica, as well as supporting materials from surrounding towns, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and elsewhere that inform Billerica’s history and development. These materials are available to researchers and the general public to answer as many research questions on Billerica genealogy and history as possible. The Billerica Public Library holds these material in trust for future generations, and therefore they can be examined in the Local History Room only.
The major emphasis of the collection is material of historical significance to Billerica. Subject areas include early settlers, family, business, work, education, government, environment, development, and prominent individuals and events.
The collection houses materials in a variety of formats including, but not limited to: books, broadsides, manuscripts, maps, artwork, microfilm, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, postcards, serials, town government documents, audio cassettes, videocassettes, CDs, DVDs and other electronic formats. While only one copy is retained of most items, a duplicate copy of rare items may be retained as well.
Genealogies of families whose members have lived in Billerica and materials that may assist with genealogical research are included. Town annual reports, local high school yearbooks, street lists, maps, phone books, voter registration lists, vital records of Massachusetts’ towns, local cemetery catalogs, and microfilm of Billerica newspapers are some specific examples of the collection.
The room is also home to Town of Billerica departments and committees’ minutes (per Town Charter). The collection does not house three-dimensional artifacts.
Gifts to the Billerica Public Library are considered outright and unrestricted donations, which may be used in any manner that is deemed to be in the best interest of the Library. Donations to the Billerica Public Library are tax deductible but the Library will not appraise donations for tax purposes or incur the cost of such appraisals. It is recommended that, if desired, appraisals be accomplished before the item is conveyed to the Library.
Upon signing a Deed of Gift, the donor(s) understands that donated article(s) will be retained in the collection only as long as they remain useful for the mission and purposes of the Local History Room or the Billerica Public Library. The Library may keep, discard, exchange, or sell the donated property at some future date without notice to the donor in accordance with the Library’s established policies, if conditions warrant such action.
The donor further certifies that they are the lawful owner(s), has the right to donate the material to the Billerica Public Library, and that the article is free of liens and encumbrances.
All patrons are encouraged to visit the Local History Room to perform historical or genealogical research. The collection serves as an educational resource not only to teachers and students in the community but also to residents and visitors, thereby promoting greater appreciation of Billerica’s rich history.
Many of the items in the collection are fragile or irreplaceable so care and consideration must be used. With this in mind, the following procedures must be followed:
- The Local History Room is open to the public during regular library hours.
- Patrons using the Local History Room must sign in and out at the Reference Desk, where they must leave identification.
- Only pencils are permitted for taking notes when using Local History Room resources.
- No food or drink is permitted in the Local History Room.
- Patrons are asked to leave the materials they have used on the table in the Local History Room so that staff members can re-shelve items in the proper place and keep track of the number of items used.
- Photocopying of some of the local history collection is permitted as long as the copying is in compliance with federal copyright laws. Whenever possible, a preferable method would be that researchers digitally photograph the desired information. Researchers should ask before photocopying or photographing anything from the Local History collection.
- The Library microfilm/microfiche reader is available for public use. If requested, basic instructions for use will be given. Reels must be rewound and returned to the correct box after use. Patrons with their own reels are allowed use of the microfilm reader.
Revised and adopted by vote of the Library Board of Trustees September 2019