• Welcome!

    The Special Collections Division houses the genealogy and local history materials of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Our goal is to collect, preserve, and provide access to the history of Summit County, and to continue to maintain one of the area’s most extensive genealogy collections.

  • Local History Database

    The database contains references to the Library's local history collections as well as the Summit County Historical Society's collections. Search the index to the collections.
  • Summit Memory

    Visit the online scrapbook of Summit County History at www.SummitMemory.org
  • Summit County World War II News Index

    This database indexes the names of Summit County servicemen and servicewomen who were named in the Akron Beacon Journal during World War II. Some non-military names are also included. This database is currently updated through June 30, 1943. World War II Database
  • Ohio Obituary Index

    Search for obituary citations from select Ohio newspapers, including the Akron Beacon Journal, using the Ohio Obituary Index.

All Library locations will close at 5 pm Wednesday, November 25 Thanksgiving Eve.

All Library locations will be closed Thursday, November 26 Thanksgiving Day.  Online access and the catalog are available 24/7.


The Great Thanksgiving Listen

storycorpsAt this time each year, the national oral history project, StoryCorps encourages citizens to record the stories of their family and friends. This year, they are reaching out to teachers and have created a toolkit to help them incorporate this project into their curriculum.  Also new is a free app that allows anyone to record an interview and download  and share it instantly. Not a teacher or student?  Anyone can participate!  For more information, visit the StoryCorps website.


Library Closed on November 11

All library locations will be closed Wednesday, November 11 for Staff Development Day. There will be no bookmobile or library delivery services. Fines will not be assessed and no library items will be due that day. The mobile app, online website and resources, and the library catalog are available for use.

Library service will resume and all locations will reopen Thursday, November 12 during regular business hours.


Autumn Issue of Past Pursuits Now Available

PP iconThe Autumn issue of Past Pursuits features articles about our Summit County restaurant display, Akron Beacon Journal reporter Helen Waterhouse, online resources for Maryland genealogy, the Freedmen’s Bureau indexing project, and much more. Don’t miss our New Books list, published quarterly at the same time as Past Pursuits, keeping you up to date on recently arrived genealogy resources.

If you would like to subscribe to Past Pursuits by email, please contact us at 330-643-9030 or speccollections@akronlibrary.org.



Late Night at the Library, Friday, October 23

late night logoJoin Special Collections and the Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society for Late Night at the Library, an evening of genealogy research at Main Library.  On Friday, October 23, the Main Library will close at its regular time of 6 pm, and reopen for genealogists from 6:30 to 10:30 pm.  Mingle with fellow researchers as you uncover the details of your ancestry.  Refreshments and door prizes will be provided, and representatives of the Cuyahoga Portage Chapter DAR and William Wetmore Daughters of 1812 will be here for consultation.  Parking in the High–Market deck adjacent to the library is free after 6:00 pm.  For additional information contact the Special Collections Division by phone: 330.643.9030 or email: speccollections@akronlibrary.org.



Late Opening Saturday, Sept 26

Main Library will open at NOON instead of 10 am Saturday, September 26. The late opening will help library customers avoid traffic disruptions near Main Library that are anticipated with the Akron Marathon.


Stan Hywet Meet the Staff Program for APS Students

SHIn collaboration with the Akron Public Schools and the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens are engaging APS 5th graders in the study of history.  Its Meet the Staff program teaches students about the immigrant experience through the examination of primary sources.  They are first introduced to primary sources during a classroom visit from a Special Collections Division librarian followed by a visit to Stan Hywet for a hands-on lesson using sources that tell the story of the estate’s household staff, most of whom were immigrants.  The visit culminates in a tour of the manor house led by first-person interpretive tour guides who portray Stan Hywet staff employed by the Seiberlings.  Click HERE to watch a short video about this exciting and innovative program.



CaptureVisit our Classes and Events page to learn about our January through June genealogy classes, including our new series, Dig Into Databases which will explore Access NewspaperArchive, HeritageQuest, Fold3, and My Heritage/World Vital Records. Join us to learn more about these great resources, including what they contain, how to access them, and how to do effective searches.  In addition, we are offering a new class on immigrant research, Researching Your Immigrant Ancestors, 1820-1892. Registration is required for our classes.




     Marcel’s Restaurant

In conjunction with our upcoming display featuring Akron restaurant photos and memorabilia, local historian, Sharon Myers, is scheduled to present programs on this fascinating topic at two of our branch libraries:  Green Branch:  Monday, August 10, 6:30 pm and Highland Square Branch: Tuesday, August 18, 6:30 pm.

Learn about the days of Themely’s, Yanko’s, The Embers, Marcel’s, Iacomini’s and more!

Be sure to see our display which will be installed from September 20 – December 31.



On Saturday, August 22, Special Collections, in collaboration with the Summit County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, will present genealogist James Beidler and Discovering Your German Ancestors. This all-day program will include sessions on German migration, church records, online research, tips for understanding the German language, and how to discover your ancestor’s home village. We hope you will join us for this FREE program.  For session descriptions, click HERE.  If you’re interested in registering, please call the Special Collections Division:  330-643-9030 or email us: speccollections@akronlibrary.org