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Local History Room

Special Collections and Archives of NHCPL

Special Notices

The Local History Room is currently open to appointments only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10-12, and on Tuesday and Thursday from 2-4. Please call the Local History Room at 910-798-6305 to make an appointment.


Through the generosity of the ProQuest Company, Ancestry Plus is available offsite while New Hanover County Public Library's buildings are closed to the public due to COVID-19. Please use Internet Explorer with this resource.

Special Collections and Archives of NHCPL

We focus on the heritage and history of the people, places, culture, and natural environment of the Cape Fear region, the City of Wilmington, and the great state of North Carolina. 

  • Housed in the North Carolina Room, much of the Collection has been handed down through several former public and private libraries dating back to the Cape Fear Library of 1760.
  • Although emphasis has been placed on collecting information about Southeastern North Carolina, the collection includes materials from across the State.
  • Visitors may now use our new ScanPro 3000 microfilm machine to view film and create PDF's of desired articles.

  • Materials in the North Carolina Room are for research only and may not be checked out.
  • The use of ink pens is strictly prohibited.  We have pencils available for your use upon request.
  • Accessing manuscript collections requires 24 hour advance notice.
  • Food, drink, and business solicitation are not permitted.
  • All backpacks, purses, laptop cases, and other bags must be stored in a locker.
  • The use of laptops is permitted.
  • The use of digital cameras is permitted though the flash must be turned off.
  • Please limit cell phone usage and remember to be courteous to others if you do need to be on your phone.
  • The backroom is open, but please take books to the reading room tables.
  • Please leave books on the cart near the front desk and we will reshelve them for you.
  • The computers in the North Carolina Room are setup for family and local history only.  The computer lab on the first floor provides access for email and other services.

We appreciate your understanding and for helping us preserve this rare and special collection.

Visiting Special Collections & Archives

  • All research must be done in the NC Room; state and local history materials cannot be checked out.
  • Extensive research requires a trip to the library. Before your visit, please contact us so we can anticipate your needs and be sure staff is available.
  • Accessing manuscript collections requires 24 hour advance notice.
  • Requests from citizens of New Hanover County are taken first. Others are answered in the order received.
    The cost for simple research is 15 cents per photocopy, plus postage.
  • A copy machine (15 cents) and a microfilm printer (25 cents) are available to make copies.
  • High resolution scans of images can be completed for $5.00 each for the first 5 images, and then $1.00 per image thereafter.
  • Some materials may be too rare, fragile, or large to be copied. Materials within locked cases require ID for access.
  • Pencils must be used when working in the NC Room.


The Hours of the North Carolina Room are as follows:

  • Sunday: Closed
  • Monday and Tuesday: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday and Thursday: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Friday and Saturday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

New History Titles

Main Library & Law Library
201 Chestnut Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

Northeast Regional Library
1241 Military Cutoff Road
Wilmington, NC 28405

Pine Valley Library
3802 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28412

Pleasure Island Library
1401 N. Lake Park Boulevard
Carolina Beach, NC 28428

Call (910) 798-6300
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 am - 6 pm
Friday 10 am - 5 pm
Saturday - Sunday Closed