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Historical and Genealogical Library

Please note that the map collection is in the process of being digitized and will be temporarily unavailable. We look forward to sharing with you when they are completed.


The Polk County Historical and Genealogical Library, located on the second floor of the Polk County History Center, is one of the largest facilities of its type in the area with more than 40,000 items in the collection. These include books, microfilm, and periodicals containing information about the history and genealogy of the eastern United States.

A selection of materials related specifically to the history of Polk County include newspapers, aerial photographs, maps, city directories, property tax rolls, cemetery records and more.

Visitor Access

We are a non-circulatory library, meaning visitors can utilize the books on the shelves, but they cannot be checked out and they cannot leave the building. Items in our special collections and/or archives can be accessed with the help of a staff member.

Visitors will have free access to our microfilm room, as well as the library edition of Patrons may use their own laptops and free wireless access is available. On top of that, we are Polk County's first FamilySearch Affiliate Library, allowing registered users access to over 5 million additional records.


To take a closer look at our collection, check out our Digital Collection and our Library Catalog. A partial list of available research materials in our special collection can be found on our Documents page.

Library Policy

Visitors are required to check in at the desk on the second floor and a library card is not required. The public access computers allow for free access to while on site. Patrons may use their own laptops and free wireless access is available.

Food and drinks are not allowed in the library and cell phones should be placed on silent or vibrate. Use of tobacco products and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the building.

We are a non-circulatory library and materials may not be loaned or removed from the building. Patrons may save information to a personal USB drive or print copies in the library at a cost of 15 cents per page. Due to the unique nature of this collection, some items may not be available to copy or scan and will be left to the discretion of the staff.

Contact Us

Preston Petermeier
Research and Genealogy Historian

Phone: (863) 534-4380

100 E. Main St.
Bartow, FL 33830

Office Hours of Operation:
Tuesday through Saturday:
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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