• 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.

Winter Issue of Past Pursuits Now Available

Past Pursuits cover

The Winter issue of Past Pursuits features articles about the Springfield Lake Sanatorium, local philanthropist Edwin Shaw, the Summit County Medical Society, online resources for Virginia genealogy, 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.


Ohio History Day 2016

National History Day 2016 logoEach spring, students throughout the country participate in National History Day, a round of scholarly competitions featuring papers, presentations, websites and other types of projects focused on a particular theme. Local contest winners are advanced to the state level, and state level winners compete in the national contest held in Washington, DC.

Summit County is part of Ohio’s District 3 contest, to be held on March 5, 2016. To help local students with their History Day projects, we’ve created an Ohio History Day page with ideas and resources for project topics based on the official 2016 Theme Sheet and list of 2016 Ohio Topics. If you’re a teacher or student participating in History Day, be sure to take a look at what we have to offer.


Summit County Historical Society Discovery Trunks Come to Special Collections

2010 SCHS logoAn important mission of the Summit County Historical Society is reaching out to area teachers, students, and groups to share our community’s rich history.  One of the most successful and inspiring ways they accomplish this is through their Discovery Trunks program.  The Historical Society currently offers 11 trunks related to various historical themes.  Ranging from lighter-than-air to the 1960s, each footlocker is filled with artifacts accompanied by classroom activities and background narratives for use by teachers.  Students are encouraged to touch, operate, and try on a variety of historical artifacts from our past.

We are delighted to share the news that, starting this month, a Discovery Trunk will be on display in Special Collections.  Our first trunk, Akron Over There: Akron’s “B” Battery Fights in World War I tells the story of young men from Summit County who served in our first industrial war.  It includes real military equipment, including helmets, a gas mask, and a mess kit from “over there.”  If you are interested in borrowing a trunk for your school, library, or youth group, contact Education Coordinator, Claire Lucas at the Summit County Historical Society, 330-535-1120.  For more information about the trunks, visit: http://www.summithistory.org/discovery_trunks.htm


Sign Up Now – January – June 2016 Genealogy Classes

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, andMy 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.


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.