Local History Resources

Avon Lake Local History Collection @ Avon Lake Public Library

The purpose of the Avon Lake Local History Collection is to preserve the past, present, and future documentary history of Avon Lake (Lorain County), Ohio, and to provide access to this history for the research needs of residents, students, and scholars of Avon Lake history.

Located at and archived by Avon Lake Public Library, the collection includes both original materials and reproductions in a variety of formats including, but not limited to, books, manuscripts, photographs, postcards and correspondence, newspapers and periodicals, maps, realia, sound recordings, films, and electronic media (analog and digital).

The collection dates from c.1890 to the present.  Most of the material in the Collection is dated within the years spanning 1920 to 1990.

The Library and the Collection

Avon Lake Public Library, which first opened its doors in 1931 when the population of Avon Lake was just over 1600, grew as the city grew. Today, it serves a population of more than 22,600 residents. The Library is committed to its role in the collection, preservation, and organization of Avon Lake’s rich historical past.

In 2008, the Library began to actively collect local history materials when it contracted with Arcadia Publishing to write the Avon Lake book for its Images of America series. In order to gather more Avon Lake photographs for the book, the Library put out repeated calls for both current and former residents to come forward with their personal photos and histories. Not only did they bring their photographs, they brought other documents and realia, as well; most of it was given freely to the Library for archiving and preservation. Published in August 2011, Images of America: Avon Lake was written by the Library’s assistant director on behalf of the Friends of Avon Lake Public Library and the Avon Lake Historical Society.

If you have something historical you would like to share with us, you can contact us or submit it digitally here.

Note: Many of the photographs included in the book and in the Library’s possession have been uploaded to the Avon Lake page on the website for the Cleveland Memory Project, which is an undertaking of the Cleveland State University Libraries with the goal of improving “the civic life of Northeast Ohio.” Additional Avon Lake historical materials can be found on the Avon Lake Local History page of Biblioboard.com. 

Access to the Avon Lake Local History Collection

Items in the Collection do not circulate, as they are unique and often irreplaceable.  However, in some cases where there are multiple copies, these copies are available for circulation in the non-fiction collection or as videorecordings.

All items and collections are catalogued.  These records are accessible in the Library’s online public access catalog [OPAC] under the item type AVONLAKE.  The OPAC provides abbreviated descriptions, subject access, and location by call number.

For those items that are kept off floor, the location is WORKROOM.  Ask an Information desk staff person to retrieve it for you. DUE TO COVID-19 ACCESS MAY BE RESTRICTED. CONTACT THE INFORMATION DESK FOR UPDATES. 

Protocols for reviewing off-floor items from the Collection

  • Only one part of the collection may be reviewed at a time.
  • Your library card or photo identification will be held at the Information desk while the item is in your possession.
  • The item must be examined within sight of the Information desk.


The Library may not have equipment available to review all media (e.g. slides, LPs, cassettes). In most cases, there are surrogates available in another format for review.