Many people who come to the Main branch library on 18th street, do not know about one of our hidden treasures on the second floor, the India King Stubbs Special Collections Department. The purpose of the department is to collect and house old editions of classics, autographed editions, Louisiana materials, yearbooks from local high schools and universities, out-of-print books by local authors, local photographs and historical and collectible items. You can bet that anyone who comes by the department would find something unique to interest them!
Let’s say that you are interested in local history. Our extensive vertical file collection contains newspaper clippings from the local newspaper on many different aspects of our history. Want to know about the history of Ouachita Parish High School? We have a vertical file on that! Have a school report on Fort Miro? We have that too! The files are not just about Ouachita Parish. We have materials on surrounding parishes as well!
Our department houses a large map collection. The centerpieces of this collection are the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps dating back to 1885. These maps show the buildings of downtown Monroe and even tell what they were constructed of! These are great tools for seeing what was on a particular Monroe plot of land in the past. These only covered what was built in the city limits though. We also have maps that show the locations of plantations in Ouachita Parish and some plat maps as well! This is just a small part of a large collection.
We have an extensive collection of local photographs. This collection is now housed in Genealogy. We have 1,700 photos going all the way back to the 1870’s. Subjects include the 1927 and 1932 floods, portraits of local families, penny postcards, historical buildings and early schoolhouses. Many have been digitized and can now be found on our web page.
By far, the largest part of the collection are our rare books. Our oldest book in the collection is over one hundred seventy years old. Our books are by local authors, rare books, books about our local history and we have a large local cookbook collection! We also house the Peters Funeral Home records, birth records of the Riverview Sanitarium and the Minutes of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury from the mid 1800’s. Interested in Local yearbooks? We have them too! Our oldest is a Ouachita Parish High School annual from 1915!
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Come by to see what we have! Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9-4:30.