Archives FAQs

What is an Archive? 

Archives can refer to a collection of historically significant records, a physical location where archival materials are kept, and an institution or organization that is responsible for preserving the records and heritage of a group. The Bridgewater Public Library Archives, for example, is responsible for preserving the records and heritage of the Town of Bridgewater and the Bridgewater community. 


So, all Town of Bridgewater records are at the Archives?

Not exactly, the Archives maintains copies of some town records including street lists and annual town reports in the Historical Room at the Bridgewater Public Library, but many Town records are managed by different departments. To access them, contact the Town of Bridgewater.


How do I get into the Historical Room?

Any librarian can let researchers into the Historical Room. 


Can I check things out from the Historical Room? 

Materials in the Historical Room are unique, meaning the Archives cannot easily obtain other copies should the materials become damaged or lost. For this reason, materials in the Historical Room are non-circulating and cannot be checked out. Some materials are available online via the SAILS Digital History Collection, and as more of the collection is digitized, it will be made available online. 


Why isn’t everything online?

Archival digitization takes time. After scanning items to high quality archival file formats, archives must add metadata to the file. Metadata (data about data) is information like the date, title, description, or creator of an item. Adding metadata to a file makes it searchable, and provides historical context for researchers. 


Do I need an appointment?

You do not need an appointment to access the Lorraine B. Daley Historical Room, but if you are planning to use the microfilm reader, you are advised to call ahead and confirm it will be accessible on the day of your visit.