Tag: historical research

Accessing Archives & Local History

The Archives & Local History department (ALH) at Douglas County Libraries (DCL) is open by appointment only for the foreseeable future, but what does that mean for you? Following is a look at the different resources ALH has on demand and when and how you would make an appointment with our staff.

Image of the Archives & Local History Reading Room

Reading Room

The ALH Reading Room in DCL’s Castle Rock location is always open when the library is open. That means you can access all of ALH’s circulating and reference collections available in the Reading Room during library business hours. Our circulating collection, or materials that you are able to check out, includes books on archives, genealogy, local and regional history, some yearbooks, and some local history DVDs. You can also request these materials through the DCL catalog and pick them up at your preferred DCL location.

Our Reading Room reference collection must be used in the Reading Room at Castle Rock, but it is available anytime the library is open. These materials include:

  • Local, regional, and state maps and atlases.
  • Microform reader and a collection of regional newspapers on microfilm.
  • Subject binders of news clippings collected and organized by ALH staff. Use these to easily locate information on common Douglas County history topics.
  • Colorado Heritage, Southwestern Lore, and other history journals.
  • Indexes of local cemetery, obituary, and marriage records.
  • Other local history indexes, study copies, and published resources.
Image of a computer displaying the Archives & Local History website, archives.dcl.org

Online

ALH also offers many great resources online that you can access from home via our website at archives.dcl.org. You can:

Image of archival boxes stored in the Archives & Local History vault.

By Appointment

If you still need help from Archives staff, you can call, email, or submit a question to us at any time. We can work with you over the phone or via email to assist you with research requests and help you find information you need without setting up an appointment.

However, archival collections and biographical files are housed in our closed stacks and can only be retrieved by Archives staff. If you need to access these materials, you must make an in-person appointment with our team.

Items you can only access via appointment include:

  • Any materials stored in the Archives vault. This includes all manuscript collections, rare books, and many maps.
  • Biographical and Site files.
  • If you are unsure whether something is available in the Reading Room or not, please reach out to us to check!

Please keep the following in mind when scheduling an appointment with ALH staff:

  • Plan ahead. Appointments must be made at least one day in advance to allow our staff to prepare for and accommodate your request.
  • Appointments are available on weekdays, Monday-Friday, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • ALH staff are available for 30-minute appointments. However, you may stay in the Reading Room after your appointment and complete research or work on your own if needed.
  • Please be on time. There is a 10-minute window for arrival; if you don’t arrive within those 10 minutes your appointment will be canceled. We are spacing out appointments in our small Reading Room and cannot accommodate two appointments at once. Please be timely.
  • Please wear a mask and respect social distancing guidelines during your appointment.
For up-to-date Archives & Local History hours and operations, please check our homepage or the DCL website. Also, follow us on social media for relevant updates.

Activities From the Archives

Douglas County Libraries Archives & Local History (ALH) has put together the following activity packages to encourage learning about what archives do and how you can use these types of collections, even from home. Each topic contains a downloadable link to instructions and resource guides, along with fun activities you can do safely at home or in your backyard. Click the links to download the activity packages, then follow the instructions for a fun learning experience!

Educational Activities to Do From Home

Image courtesy Castle Pines Connection. Page from ALH’s Sarah Bennett Walker Collections.

Flower Pressing with Douglas County’s Sarah Bennett Walker

ALH preserves some of the beautiful pressed flower herbariums from Sarah Bennett Walker, a local 19th-century botanist. Learn how to press and preserve your own flowers and get familiar with some of Colorado’s most magnificent wildflowers. Download or print this file to get started.
Site of bridge debris north of Castle Rock. 1994.001, Meacham Family Photographs.

Learn to Use Primary Sources: Douglas County’s 1965 Plum Creek Flood

In this activity, learn to use common primary sources found in archives in order to understand the past. Douglas County’s infamous 1965 Plum Creek flood is used as the theme. Then, play a fun PBS game to learn how different cities protect themselves from floods using engineering and natural resources. Download this file to get started.
Image courtesy Wild Food Girl.

Historical Recipes: Douglas County’s Wild Plum Jelly

ALH has a large collection of local, historical cookbooks. Recreate this homesteaders’ recipe for wild plum jelly using plums found in Douglas County and learn about local edible plants and what cooking in the past was like. Download this file to get started.

ALH Coloring Pages

Download and print these coloring pages from ALH’s photographs collection, and use your imagination to add color to images from Douglas County’s history. When you’re finished, show us your creations at localhistory@dclibraries.org!