Basic Information

The Local History Collection of the Van Buren District Library



The Local History Collection (LHC) is located at the Webster Memorial Library, Decatur, and is open to researchers Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Because the Local History Collection is no longer open during all of the Library's regular business hours, it is recommended that researchers contact the Library in advance of their visit to verify collection access hours. Call the Library at (269) 423-4771 or e-mail Visitors are also asked to register at the main circulation desk on each day's visit.



The LHC houses thousands of books, microfilm & microfiche, periodicals, photographs, and manuscripts relating to Southwest Michigan, general Michigan and genealogy for some states and foreign countries. The room also houses the Southwest Michigan regional collection of the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society (VBRGS).



Most items are non-circulating "reference," although there are instructional books which circulate. Items marked "reference" are not available for inter-library loan, however most VBDL items can be used "In House Use Only" at other locations within the Van Buren District Library system (Bangor, Bloomingdale, Covert, Gobles, Lawrence and Mattawan). VBRGS items do not circulate.



Photocopying is permitted with respect to U.S. Copyright laws. Photocopies are 15 cents each and microfilm/microfiche copies are 25 cents each. There are three microfilm readers available. One reader is a digital scanner allowing for the use of a flash drive to save copies.



Donations of materials or monetary support for the LHC are always welcome. The VBDL follows its written Collection Policy with regard to acceptance of donated materials.


Collection Usage Policy

When using the collection, please do not re-shelve or file any materials as all items are counted for statistical purposes. No scanners or digital cameras are allowed for use with the collection. The library does not provide digital copies of any of its local history materials. Some items such as photographs or manuscripts are in storage and may need to be requested in advance.


Family History Center microfilm

The VBDL Local History Room is a licensed microfilm loan center for the Family History Center in Salt Lake City. For more information see loan program details.


Requests for Information

Brief requests for information may be made to the Local History Librarian. For more extensive research needs, a list of independent researchers can be requested.



The LHC maintains a Volunteer Program to help staff and monitor the collection. If you are interested in volunteering in the LHC or for any of its projects, please contact Pam Pender, local history librarian, at (269) 423-4771.