The West Lafayette Public Library Archives exists to support the collection, preservation, and research of documents and artifacts related to the history and culture of West Lafayette, IN. The West Lafayette Archives is part of the West Lafayette Public Library.

Collection Development Policy

The West Lafayette Archives and Research Center collects, preserves, and makes available for research documents, photographs, artifacts, manuscripts and ephemera representing the history of West Lafayette, IN.

The following criteria help determine the content of the West Lafayette Archives and Research Center: materials related to the social, cultural, business, transportation, educational, family, individual history of West Lafayette, IN. The WLPL Archives is prepared to accept printed materials, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera (booklets, pamphlets, flyers, posters, newsletters, etc.) written histories; the archives is interested in other materials pertaining to WL History such as 3-D artifacts, textiles and will consider these on a case by case basis.

Acquisitions Guidelines

The West Lafayette Public Library Archives accepts donations of material for its research collections from individuals, organizations, and businesses.

Detailed Acquisition Guidelines

Information for Donors

Information for Researchers

The West Lafayette Public Library Archives accepts donations of material for its research collections from individuals, organizations, and businesses.

When accepting material, the Archives is responsible for

  1. Maintaining the materials, ensuring accepted practice for preservation and security, preparing the materials for research use through professional arrangement and cataloging, and supplying them to any interested researcher on an equal basis, during the archives appointed hours.
  2. Ensuring that all material containing confidential information is restricted from all use in accordance with the explicit instructions of the donor as long as the restriction is "reasonable" and affects all potential users equally. The WLPL Archives cannot accept collections that are restricted indefinitely or for which the restriction cannot be enforced equally or with reasonable effort at the time of donation.
  3. Making decisions about preserving and preparing collections consistent with professional archival practice to best serve the material itself, researchers, and the WLPL. Materials that the WLPL Archives wishes to remove from the collection will be discarded, offered to another institution, sold, or returned to the donor according to the donor's instructions at the time of the donation.
  4. Securing legal documentation for every gift that makes clear the terms of the transfer and any instructions of the donor. The WLPL Archives will accept a deed of gift that transfers title to this organization or a loan agreement that specifies terms under which the loan will become a donation. Donors may transfer copyrights to the WLPL Archives or retain them themselves. The WLPL Archives will honor all agreements with the donor.

The WLPL Archives:

  1. Cannot accept donations without transfer of title or the clear intention to transfer title at a defined time.
  2. Cannot accept material for which the donor does not have clear title.
  3. Cannot provide appraisals of the monetary value of gifts.
  4. Cannot accept liability for loss or damage of materials due to deterioration, fire, or other natural disasters.

When a donor transfers materials to the WLPL Archives, the WLPL Archives organizes and preserves the donation and makes it available to researchers.

The following is a list of services the WLPL Archives will provide regarding your donation.

  1. The donation will be organized and, if appropriate, a bibliographic record and/or finding aid (index) will be created to describe the content and the arrangement.
  2. The donation will be placed in nondamaging containers and stored in the WLPL.
  3. The donation will be available to researchers in the WLPL Archives after it is organized, physically stabilized, and prepared for use.
  4. Should the Deed of Gift contain temporary restrictions on portions of the donation, the restrictions will be strictly enforced.
  5. When applicable, the WLPL Archives will alert researchers to existing copyrights relating to the donation and will include such statements in the bibliographic record and/or finding aid.
  6. The WLPL Archives will require that appropriate and complete citations be included in all information relating to the donation, such as exhibitions, publications, and media productions; citation will read as follows: "Courtesy of the WLPL Archives, Collections Name, Archival Call Number."
  7. The WLPL Archives will permanently maintain (confidential) files documenting the acquisition of the donation and its use.

Gift of Deed form

Access to the WLPL Archive is by appointment only. 

Research Request Form - editable research request or printable research request

Collection Request Form - editable collection request or printable collection request

Photocopy Request Form - editable photocopy request  or  printable photocopy request

Please fill out these forms and mail or email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request an appointment.

Archival Research Area Rules

The objects housed in these collections are noncirculating materials. Some of them are in fragile condition and to a great extent irreplaceable; hence certain precautions are necessary.

  1. All briefcases, purses, coats, and other personal articles are to be deposited at the reference desk.
  2. Please sign in and out in the daily visit log each day when entering and departing. All papers must be inspected upon departure.
  3. No food, beverages, smoking, pets, or animals are permitted in any area of the Archives. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult and supervised at all times.
  4. Hands should be clean for the handling of materials. Please avoid applying creams or lotions to your handsimmediately before handling materials as the oils can transfer and cause considerable damage.
  5. Use only pencils when taking notes. Computers and tablets are ok.
  6. Do not lay paper or cards on an object when writing notes. This practice leaves an impression that will shorten the life of the material.
  7. Use the proper book supports if supplied by the Archives staff to support volumes.
  8. Do not lay books open face down, or employ harmful bookmarks such as pencils, rulers, other books, etc. Broken spines and torn pages are the result of such treatment.
  9. If paper slips must be used as bookmarks, please take extra care to remove all of them before returning the material. If left inside, they put a strain on the spine and can eventually cause discoloration of the paper.
  10. Do not attempt to open uncut pages in a book. Please consult the archivist in each case.
  11. Do not rearrange the order in which materials are delivered to you. No marks may be added to or erased from any material.
  12. Do not make tracings or rubbings of archival material without specific permission and assistance from the staff.
  13. While material from these collections is in your hands, it is your responsibility. Please respect it and handle it with care.
  14. Copying will be made by the staff.
  15. The WLPL Archives reserve the right to inspect all research material and all personal articles before a patron leaves the area.
  16. Use of materials may be restricted by donor request, if in poor physical condition, to protect personal privacy or legitimate proprietary rights, to maintain reasonable administrative confidentiality, or if unprocessed.

The WLPL Archives reserves the right to refuse photocopying requests.

Guidelines for Using WLPL Archives and Special Collections

General Rules

  • Do not bring purses, briefcases, backpacks, coats etc., into the WLPL Archives Research Area. Please leave these items at the reference desk.
  • No food or beverages are allowed in the Archives. Smoking and gum chewing are not permitted.
  • Please use only pencils for taking notes. Pens should not be used in the Archives.

Handling the Collection

  • Please make sure that your hands are clean.
  • Support bound materials by using a book futon or wedges.
  • Never place an open book face down.
  • Do not lean on books or documents.
  • Never write or trace on books or documents.
  • Be careful when opening books and turning pages; always lift the top corner of the page.
  • Do not use paper clips, rubber bands, post-it notes, or any three dimensional object for place markers. Paper bookmarkers are available at the reference desk.
  • Items in folders should be examined one at a time; please keep the items in order.
  • Do not remove items from their clear Mylar sleeves.
  • Cotton gloves must be worn when handling historic photographs.
  • When using materials housed in special enclosures, please be sure to put them back in the same way. If
  • you need help rehousing an item, please ask a staff person.
  • If the item you are using seems too fragile to handle, please ask Library staff to assist you.

Ordering Reproductions

Reproductions of the archival materials are considered on a case by case basis. Use these forms editable photocopy request  or  printable photocopy request form or see the reference librarian for the printed form and a consultation.

Permission to publish images taken from materials in the WLPL Archives must be obtained from the WLPL director. A fee structure is available upon request.

Thank you for your cooperation; following these rules will help us to preserve our collection so that researchers can continue to benefit from the information they contain.