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The Guelph Public Library collects and provides access to published local history resources. The Guelph Public Library Archives acquires and preserves public and private records that document the history of Guelph.

Ask a librarian at the Main Library for directions to published local history resources in print, microform, and electronic formats. Make an appointment with the archivist or just ask a question about our archival records. Use the Online Help options, or write, phone, or e-mail.

Contact the Archivist

The Archives participates in outreach activities to highlight its holdings, including exhibits, tours, and presentations.

Local history and archival resources include

  • archival records and photographs - search
  • city and county directories
  • local newspapers (current and historical)
  • municipal by-laws
  • local history clippings file (clipped newspaper articles on many topics about Guelph)
  • cemetery records and other genealogical resources
  • fire insurance plans
  • census records
  • Couling and Burcher Stokes inventories (Guelph historic houses)
  • Guelph Historical Society publications
  • historical atlases
  • reference collection of the Wellington County Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society
  • City of Guelph historical municipal records (council minutes, committee reports, assessment rolls, etc.)
  • Ancestry Library Edition (available only within Guelph Public Library branches)
  • GPL staff blog Historically Guelph

Using the GPL Archives Welcome to the Guelph Public Library Archives. The Archives is home to many unique and rare materials including textual records, photographs, audio and visual materials, and much more. Included are records from the Mechanics Institute (the forerunner to the Guelph Public Library), the City of Guelph, and numerous Guelph based organizations.

Collection mandate The role and mission of the Archives is to acquire and preserve permanently valuable public and private records that establish, maintain, and develop the community identity of Guelph and to make records in the care of the Archives available to the public.

Ready to come in and visit the Archives? While the Archives endeavours to provide on-the-spot reference services, this is not always possible and it is recommended that you make an appointment before you visit.

There is a charge for the provision of research services. A staff member can be contracted to do research for $30 per hour, with a minimum of one hour. The Library reserves the right to refuse the provision of research services. In these instances, the Library will provide, contact information for professional researchers and heritage consultants.

Handling Archival Records Archival records cannot be replaced, and accordingly, it is important that they be treated with proper care. A number of procedures to keep in mind while doing research:

  • Use only pencils when note taking.
  • Cotton gloves are mandatory for handling photographs and older records.
  • Records must be left in the order in which they are in the folder.
  • All use of archival material will occur in the Archives proper. No material will be allowed in the Library reading room.
  • The theft of archival records is a criminal offence.

Copying records Copies of records may be provided depending on the researcher's needs, needs of the records and or legal restrictions. Copies made for the use beyond that of private study and research will require the permission of the Guelph Public Library. The copying of records is subject to the discretion of the archivist.

Reproduction fees All reproduction of archival records is subject to the discretion of the archivist. For researchers visiting the Archives, reproductions of textual records cost $.15 per sheet. Requests by mail that require the archivist to do the copying cost $.50 per page. There are also two microfilm machines that can make copies at $.25 per page. There is no requirement for permission with microfilm copies. The Archives can provide electronic copies of some photographs in its holdings. Scanned images will be provided in electronic TIFF format.

Cost per image: $10.00/image (includes the cost of the compact disc)

Publication fee: $25.00/image

Broadcast Fee: $75.00/image

The Archives does not have the facilities for making hard copy prints of its photographic records. In certain circumstances, arrangements can be made to have copying done by a professional photographer. Written permission must be obtained before any photograph can be reproduced. The researcher is responsible for all costs incurred. Contact the archivist for more details.


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