Local History Resources Available at the Alameda Free Library


The Alameda Collection provides a broad range of local historical reference materials, including books, articles, documents, pamphlets, maps, and microfilm.  All items in this collection are for in-library use only. Please ask reference staff for assistance in locating items.

Resources include the following:

  • Alameda History Collection - includes books about Alameda (some by Alameda authors); City of Alameda documents (such as annual reports, planning documents, budgets, municipal code);  Alameda history articles written by Woody Minor from 1987 to 1995 with a keyword index available; current newsletters from the Alameda Museum and the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society; Landmark Buildings in Alameda historical information. 
  • Alameda A Geographical History by Imelda Merlin (courtesy of Alameda Museum) https://alamedamuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Imelda_smallpics_4printing.pdf   
  • Current Local Documents—Uncatalogued local documents include reports and drafts of development projects retained for public view; meeting agenda packets for City Council; meeting agenda packets for various City Boards and Commissions.  City Council and Board packets are retained for 6 months. Planning Department packets are kept for 4 months. 
  • City Directories/Telephone Books—Polk directories for Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda (1869-1877 on microfilm; 1877-1943 in hardcopy; most local telephone books from 1935 to present. 
  • Local Authors Collection—a  collection of selected works by authors who have resided in Alameda. Includes fiction and nonfiction, with some books about Alameda.  Copies may be found in the circulating collection in addition to this reference collection. 
  • High School Yearbooks — Alameda High (Acorn) 1902-present and Encinal High (Horizon) yearbooks 1956-present. Selected volumes from Saint Joseph Notre Dame (SJND). Most Alameda High School and Encinal High School yearbooks are online at californiarevealed.org
  • News Clipping File—includes articles clipped from local papers (Alameda Times Star, Alameda Journal, etc.) and arranged by broad subject headings. Some articles date back to the 1940s, most range from the 1950s to 2003, some through 2008. Selected articles added starting from 2017 to present. Obituaries may be found in the Biography file though mostly for more prominent residents.  Articles on local organizations and associations are under section “Organizations” and then alpha by name.
  • Newspapers—Early local papers on microfilm include The Argus, The Encinal and Evening Times Star. The Alameda Times Star and Alameda Journal are also on microfilm through 2012. The full text of Alameda Times Star  (2001-2016) and Alameda Journal (2002--) can be accessed through Newsbank. Request bound volumes of the Alameda Sun (2001-2023) at the Reference Desk.
  • Maps—Maps of Alameda from 1854 to present are arranged by decade and include a chronological list. The Alameda Free Library does not have Sanborn fire insurance maps but the 1897 and 1948 editions are available online at the Library of Congress.
  • Alameda Magazine—issues from 2002 to April 2020.

    For additional resources, check at the Alameda Museum