The Public Library of Arlington, MA


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Local History Room

The Robbins Library Local History Room contains books, scrapbooks, annual reports, directories, atlases, photographs, postcards, slides, vertical files and other materials documenting the history of Arlington. Although the focus of the collection is the historical, social and cultural development of Arlington, relevant materials concerning Middlesex County, Massachusetts and its towns, and New England are also included. Special collections include the Cyrus E. Dallin Papers, Robbins Library History and the Arlington Woman's Club Archive.

Guide to the Local History Room

Local and Regional Resources

Robbins Library Digital Collections

History of the Library


Please send all email obituary and local history requests to the attention of “Local History.”


Monday through Wednesday: 9AM to 9PM

Thursday: 1 to 9 PM

Friday & Saturday: 9AM to 5PM

Saturday July & August: 9AM to 12PM

Access To Materials

Some of our local history materials are extremely fragile and may be damaged through frequent use. Fortunately, many of these materials are accessible on microfilm in the Reference Room, including the Cyrus E. Dallin Papers, the Arlington Historical Photograph Collection, Arlington High Yearbooks and Literary Magazine, town directories, newspapers, and several historical atlases. The historical, photograph, slide, and postcard collections are available by appointment only.

Materials can be brought from the Local History Room to the Reference Room for in-library use by leaving some form of identification with the Reference Staff.

Patrons whose more in-depth research requires use of the Local History room must make an application for an Independent Research Card. Applications are available at the Reference Desk. A pdf copy is available below which can be printed and returned to the Reference Desk, or sent via regular mail to the attention of Local History.

Patrons with Independent Research Cards are asked to sign the register each time they use the Local History Room.

Download the Robbins Library Independent Research Card Application here.

Care Of Materials

Care must be taken when handling fragile books, atlases and pamphlets. Patrons should use pencils when taking notes. Patrons are asked NOT to reshelve books they have used.


Patrons should consult a reference librarian before photocopying any material in the Local History Room. Materials may be too fragile to photocopy. Photocopy machines are available in the Reference Room. Patrons must make arrangements with the librarian in charge of the Local History Room for copies of photographs, slides and postcards.