Newton Free Library Special Collections contain records of Newton’s history from its founding in 1630 to the present, along with a wide-range of data relating to current institutions and matters of interest to the city residents. Items preserved include print and non-print materials produced by City departments, private Newton organizations and individuals, as well as Newton businesses and the library. Examples of materials include City Directories, Assessed Polls, school yearbooks, School Committee Minutes, street maps and atlases, Newton histories, City Annual Reports, biographies of Newton residents, photographs, and local newspapers. Also included are newsletters, pamphlets, and annual reports of organizations and clubs of general interest to the City.
All Special Collections resources are cataloged; please look up areas of interest here.
Newton newspapers are indexed, and the majority of our past local paper, The Newton Graphic (1886-1997), is available online. Thousands of our items have been digitized and are available on Digital Commonwealth or Internet Archive.
1. All materials in Special Collections are non-circulating. Patrons do not need to sign into the Special Collections room; however, patrons must sign in and provide some form of ID when using material from Compact Shelving. The sign-in sheet is located in Compact Shelving.
2. Staff recommend contacting the library 24 hours in advance to pull material from Compact Shelving; however, librarians will attempt to make reasonable accommodations for walk-ins.
3. Librarians should check first to see if the Special Collections item is available in microform and or electronic format, i.e. Digital Commonwealth, Blue Book, Maps, etc. before lending out the Compact Shelving item. Much of our collection has been digitized.
4. Patrons will be asked to sit at a desk in the atrium in full view of the librarians when using material from Compact shelving.
5. No food or drink is permitted in the Special Collections room or at the designated desk when using material from Compact Shelving.
6. Please use pencil only. The use of pens or highlighters is not permitted.
7. All material in the Special Collections room must be handled with great care. No marks may be added or erased. No tracings or rubbings may be made without specific permission. No books, papers, or other objects may be laid on or affixed to the material. The arrangement of archival boxes/folders must not be altered.
8. Patrons are allowed to view 3 books at a time, and 1 box at a time.
9. All material must be returned to a librarian when finished.
10. The use of digital cameras and/or smartphones is permitted, and materials can be scanned or photocopied by a librarian.
11. Compliance with copyright is the responsibility of the patron. For inquiries requesting use of any of the Library’s digital images we have been giving permission to the user as long as they note:
“Used with permission from the collections of the Newton Free Library (MA)”
Below is an example of a catalog record, please note the following:
1. Call number prefix N = Newton Collection item
2. Call number prefix MASS = Mass Collection item
3. Newton/Special = Compact Shelving (you will need a librarian to retrieve these items)
4. Newton/Reference = Special Collections (you can browse the Mass or N item in our Special Collection Room)
5. eConnect = a link to the digital version of the item
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