Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where is the Local History Room located?

The Local History Room is located on the second floor of the Kalamazoo Public Library's Central Library. Our entrance is just to the right of the second floor stained glass window.

2. Where can I park when I visit the Local History Room?

There are several city parking lots that charge a small fee on weekdays within a short walk of the library. There are also a number of free ninety minute parking spots on surrounding streets. See the parking map for detailed information.

3. How do I contact the Local History Room?

The phone number for the local history room desk is 269-553-7808. You may also send us a request by mail at Kalamazoo Public Library, Local History Room, 315 S. Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007, or use our online contact form.

4. What is the Local Information Database?

The Local Information Database is a resource that is available through the library’s website. It contains an index of local publications as well as information from some of the Local History Resources such as files and books from the collection.  The Local Information Database also includes historical photographs, information on local organizations and more.

5. How far back do your Kalamazoo Gazette holdings go?

We have copies of the Kalamazoo Gazette going as far back as 1834 with a gap in the collection during the Civil War years from 1862-1870.

6. How do I find articles from the Kalamazoo Gazette if I don’t know the date on which they appeared in the paper?

The Kalamazoo Public Library’s Local History Room maintains an index of Kalamazoo Gazette articles. The focus of the index is on vital statistics (births, deaths and marriages) but there are also common interest articles starting in 1969 and moving toward the present such as sporting events, local politics and more. Click here for specific searching instructions

7. I can’t find an article listed in your index and I know it appeared in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Why is that?

We do not index every article that appears in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Our focus is on local stories that impact the community. This means that we do not index stories such as sporting events unless they are for a championship game even if a photo is included with the story. Click for more indexing criteria.

8. I am unable to come in to the library. Can I have articles mailed to me?

Yes, we mail copies out to people who request them for a fee. We try to fill orders promptly, but sometimes we have a backlog of requests, so your order may not be sent by return mail. To learn more about how to order copies, click here.

9. How much does it cost to receive articles through the mail?

The charge is one dollar ($2.00) per citation, up to three pages. For citations that contain more than three pages, additional pages will be charged at twenty-five cents ($.50) per page. We normally send scans of articles by email, but you can arrange to have copies sent through the mail if you do not have email. All orders require prepayment. For more information please see How to Order Prints.

10. Where would I find old photographs of Kalamazoo that I can have scanned for my personal use?

Our Local Information Database contains about 3,000 photographs of Kalamazoo and its former residents that are owned by Kalamazoo Public Library, WMU Archives and Kalamazoo Valley Museum. These photographs are available online and can be searched through the Local Information Database. Due to the large volume of photographs it is easiest to search for a specific subject such as the name of a building. If you would like suggestions of searchable items you can look through the web pages  and photo galleries regarding local people and places that have been put together by KPL staff members.  Photograph scans must be requested from the facility indicated on the picture’s citation. For more information on requesting scans please see How to Order Digital Copies of Photographs.

11. Do you have vital statistics information for Kalamazoo County?

Yes.  We have copies of Birth records, Death records and Marriage records.  They are all kept on microfilm in the Local History Room which is located on the second floor of Kalamazoo Public Library’s Central Library at 315 S. Rose Street.

  • Kalamazoo County Vital Records:
  • Births: 1867-1903
  • Marriages: 1831-1950
  • Deaths: 1867-1997
  • Foreign Deaths: 1931-1989
  • Poorhouse Records: 1885-1941, 1950 

The indices for Births and Marriages continue through 1975, even though the corresponding records have not been filmed. The index to Foreign Deaths continues through 1998. There is no index to the Poorhouse Records.

12. What kinds of local history programs do you offer?

The Local History Room sponsors a wide variety of programs both at the library’s central location as well as at branches.  These events include book signings, genealogy workshops, genealogy lock-ins, guest speakers discussing local history topics and more. 

13. Where can I find out what programs you will be offering?

Upcoming local history programs are listed in the library’s LINK newsletter and in the online local history calendar. This calendar lists a variety of events of historical interest held in Michigan but concentrating on southwest Michigan. The Local History events at Kalamazoo Public Library are listed here as well.