Main Library - Carolina Room Collections & Archives
Historic - General
Personalities, buildings and scenes of historic Charlotte are
preserved in the thousands of print images cataloged. Especially
important are architectural images of structures long ago torn
down by Charlotte leaders. A city prone to new, new, new has
replaced many old structures with skyscrapers. Thus, a look a
Charlotte's past is only possible through images captured by the
Charlotte Observer Negatives
During the late 1980's the Library and the Charlotte Observer
reached an agreement that made the Library the permanent depository for
negatives related to photographs appearing in the Charlotte
Observer. The negatives date from 1956 to 1994.
They currently number approximately ten million and improved
methods of storage and access are being investigated. Heavy use
by the public and researchers dictates that the collection is as
useable as possible.
This image collection is primarily artistic interpretations of
the subjects. Thus the collection is important for the image
content and the method of production. Although some are defaced
by postmarks and handwriting, the overall condition is good. The
collection is small containing about 200 images. However, it is
sometimes the only remaining evidence of homes, buildings or
scenes from Charlotte's past.
This collection was a bonus that resulted from another
project. In 1992, The Library published the "African American Album",
The Black Experience in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Area
residents brought more than 1500 photographs to the library for
possible inclusion in the album. They were photographed and the
negatives and contact prints were cataloged to create the African
Two hundred of the images from this collection are available
in a digital format on a Kodak CD.
A similar project has been coordinated by the Jewish Comunity
Center. For several years, during Family History Day, members of
the Jewish community have brought in family collections. Copy
negatives and prints were made and these have been shared with
From the 1920s to the 1940s, Charlotte was one of the
locations where major record companies would seek out local
talent. Today, many artists from across the country continue to
record in some of Charlotte's studios. The Charlotte Music
Archives has one of the largest collections of local alternative
music in North Carolina. From gospel to country; from bluegrass
to folk; from bebop to pop to hip-hop, the music of the Carolinas
can be discovered in the Charlotte Music Archives.
The library is a full depository for all local documents.
Complete sets of minutes from City Council and County Commission
meetings are available for review. Newsletters, budgets, urban
growth plans, agency annual reports and crime statistics are just
a few of the documents filed with in the local document area.
All materials produced by NC state government and agencies are
deposited in the Carolina Room. Due to the quanity and as a paper
saving measure, they are received as microfiche. The documents
are fully cataloged and appear on all public access catalog
terminals. Reader/printer equipment is available for access and
making copies of the state materials.
Population, per capita income and race are frequently
requested statistics. In addition to 1990 census data, some
projections can be obtained from the North Carolina State Data
Center accessed through the LINC computer lines by Carolina Room
staff. Mortality and
morbidity studies by the state are also available. By working
with the Main Library's Information Services department on the
second floor and other agencies such as the Chamber of Commerce,
patrons can compile a profile of the immediate area.
Maps depicting early development of the Carolinas and
eventually Charlotte are available. Most are reproductions or
copies of the originals. However, some original city maps from
the late 19th and early 20th century are in the collection.