About the Local Studies Libraries

The Local Studies library aims to provide a safe repository for the collection of sources for the study of Local and Family History and to make this collection accessible to all users by offering advice on its use. Items are constantly being added to the collection so that it spans many years right up to the present day.

The extensive collections include material in a wide range of formats including books, maps and newspapers, plus free access to genealogy and historical newspaper websites.

Bradford Local Studies Library

The collection at Bradford Local Studies library has its roots in the first public library in Bradford which was established in 1872. Today, Bradford Local Studies Library is housed in the recently refurbished library at Margaret McMillan Tower along with the Bradford branch of the West Yorkshire Archive Service.

Books about Bradford and the District, its development and its people, form the core collection. In addition to the reference collection, many books can be borrowed for home reading with a library card. What you see on the shelves in Bradford Local Studies library is only a selection of the stock. Most of the collection is stored in the basement stacks. There are various catalogues and indexes to help you to access the collections. Staff will be pleased to provide help and guidance in using the catalogues and to produce the items requested.

The Local Studies library collects printed material in many forms concerning individual localities, people and events within the Bradford District. As well as books, this includes maps and plans, photographs, newspapers, journals, ephemera, photographs and pamphlets.

In addition to items on the Bradford area, there is a Yorkshire collection covering the history and geography of Yorkshire, its people and its villages, towns and cities. Most are available on the open shelves for browsing and many are available for loan.

Keighley Local Studies Library

Keighley Local Studies Library is on the first floor of Keighley’s historic Carnegie library, the first public library in England to be funded by Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1904.

When Keighley library opened in 1904, it already had its own archive consisting of the records of the Keighley Mechanics’ Institute and its book stock. This collection has slowly increased over the years and today, Keighley Local Studies library provides access to a unique collection that relates to all aspects of the history and development of the district.

It includes the extensive Keighley Town Archives covering all aspects of Keighley’s history. Almost 800 local collections relating to family, business, education, church, chapel and local societies as well as the Township and Borough records of Keighley and district make this a significant archive repository within West Yorkshire. It also includes a number of further larger private collections. Most of Keighley’s collection can now be searched using the West Yorkshire Archive Service, online catalogue please follow the link below.

West Yorkshire Archives Service Catalogue