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About the GRPL Special Collections

The Grand Rapids Public Library collects many one-of-a-kind materials that document the history of Grand Rapids. Our 500 archival collections include over one million images and millions more documents, maps, audio and video recordings, diaries, and more. This archival material can be fragile, and so it is stored in a secure, climate-controlled room. But it is available for anyone to use whenever the library is open.

Most of our archival material is donated by community members. It is typically organized into “collections” based on the person or organization that produced the material. A “finding aid” documents each collection and includes an inventory of the material, information about the creators, and other helpful data. Together, finding aids make up the index of our special collections.

This page is the gateway to our archival material and the finding aids that document it. You can browse by Collection, Subject, or Names of people and organizations. You can also search across all our collections by keyword. (If you prefer, our old list of finding aids is also available.)