Research Library

The Research Library: Your source for a relaxing, enjoyable time looking at old stuff. Hopefully it pertains to your area of interest, but the only way to know is to come take a look.

We have a very casual reading room: free coffee, tea and water, occasionally cookies. It can be busy, and it’s usually not very quiet. We’re a welcoming bunch, so expect to be greeted as you come in the door. Sometimes in a pack if it’s a quiet day.

We have a dedicated, knowledgeable and friendly group of volunteer researchers from all walks of life. They staff our library while we’re open, and we are very grateful for their support and their work here. Please treat them well!

We have been told (and we believe the people that say it) that our library is one of, if not the best in Oakland County for information about families, businesses, and the history of Oakland County and the city of Pontiac. Our collection includes historical books, maps, atlases, pamphlets, city directories, cemetery records, periodicals, manuscripts, scrapbooks and newspapers. Many items are one of a kind, only available from our stacks or archives.




The library is currently closed to the public, but still taking research requests, and we are available to answer your questions. We may be a little slower to respond but we’ll do our best!

The library is closed the week of July 4, Thanksgiving week, the last week of December and first week of January.


Research request and usage fees help provide funds to maintain our library and to support Pine Grove.

  • Society members, veterans, and students who show a valid student ID may use the Library free of charge. For non-members there is a $5.00 daily usage fee.However, a membership is $20.00, and research fees are waived – please consider joining if you plan to use the library more than once.
  • Fees for answering inquiries by phone, mail, or email are shown on our Research Requests page.


$.25 for 8 1/2 x 11 or 8 1/2 x 14

$.50 for 11 x 17


The card catalog, finding aids and the knowledge of our volunteer librarians are the main source of access to the collection. With the exception of these tools, the collection is in restricted-access areas and must be retrieved by our staff.

If you are researching a particular topic or are coming from out of town and would like a researcher to assist you during your visit, consider calling ahead before your visit, or make a research request online ahead of time – this helps us make sure your visit is productive and fun.

Not always the prettiest stuff, but certainly useful. Our collection carries the marks of “organization”.
You never know what you’re going to find in one of these binders.


Our library is not a public library, and that imposes certain rules for its use.

You will be handling old and sometimes very unique items, and this should be obvious to you, but: brace or prop bound books, don’t stress their bindings. Keep large items flat on the table. Use care when turning pages. Treat these items as real historical artifacts (because they are), and handle them respectfully.

  • Materials may not be removed or checked out of the library.
  • Our stacks are closed. Our researchers will provide you with finding aids and retrieve materials from the stacks for you, and then re-shelve them.
  • Please wash your hands before handling materials. Lotions, oils and dirt are damaging to old paper.
  • Use of gloves is in most cases discouraged. Some materials require them, though. We’ll provide them if they’re needed.
  • The use of pens while working in the library is highly discouraged. If you are using a pen, keep its point retracted or the pen capped when not writing. Or better yet, ask for a pencil. We have a lot of pencils.
  • Using a pen or pencil to point at book or map pages will send a researcher hustling over your shoulder to publicly shame you.
  • Smoking is not permitted in the reading room or in the adjoining Museum. If you are using our materials, wash your hands after you smoke.
  • Please be very careful to keep food and beverages away from research materials. If you are bringing a beverage, please use a cup with a lid. We have bottled water here – please keep it capped.
  • The extensive use of Library materials at one time that would restrict or impede the research of others must be arranged in advance, and a donation for such use would be gratefully appreciated.


  • No flash photography.
  • You are allowed to take reference photos with your digital phone at no charge. Please don’t publish them without our permission.
  • Many of our materials are too fragile to photocopy. Use your phone’s camera instead. Alternately, we have a book scanner. Fragile items can be scanned at high resolution for a fee of $15.00 per side.
  • Please don’t take photos of our library or patrons without permission.


  • Permission must be obtained and credit given to the Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society if its records, manuscript materials or photographs are published or reprinted. All published works must bear the following: “From the collection of the Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society”.
  • Some usage fees may apply to publishing items from our collection. Please ask a researcher.


If you would like to submit a research request via e-mail or postal mail, please see the Research Requests page. Fees for that service are listed there.