Local Heritage & Libraries

Local Heritage Collections

If you're wanting to find out about your own family’s history or investigate past times in the place where you live, Inspire libraries would love to help you discover this.

We think of our Local Heritage Collections as community memory banks and actively develop them to reflect Nottinghamshire life. Everyone is welcome to explore the collections, built over many years to reflect the wide variety of local experience.

We offer:

  • help with family and local history research – with the bonus of free access to Ancestry.co.uk in libraries and Nottinghamshire Archives. This now includes online access to the Nottinghamshire Anglican Parish Registers.
  • access to digital copies of over 25,000 photographs via the Inspire Picture Archive
  • collections of rare and hard to find books on Nottinghamshire themes
  • heritage themed events and activities for all ages
  • displays and exhibitions to showcase local stories 
  • extensive coverage of local newspapers – some dating back to the 1850s
  • Free access to the British Newspaper Archive from Inspire Libraries and Nottinghamshire Archives
  • historical county maps
  • collections of historic photographs
  • information about availability of items for loan or reference via the library catalogue, although we do have some “hidden treasures” still to add
  • enjoyable volunteering opportunities
  • and we are also very happy to talk to you about receiving any donations to add to the collections, or items that you would be happy for us to copy and return.

All Inspire libraries have some material relating to their own communities, but the 14 larger ones (listed below) have much more extensive collections. These contain some core material of countywide interest but the focus is on the immediate local area. Several libraries (see links below) feature specialised collections relating to themes of wider interest such as DH Lawrence, Lord Byron and the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Help is available from library staff, supported by a Heritage team, to explore the information and resources we hold. Please contact us via your local Inspire Library or the Ask Inspire service.