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Lakeland History Room


Mon - Thurs. - 9 am - 7 pm
Fri - Sat: 9 am - 5 pm
Sun: 1:30 pm - 5 pm

Lakeland History Room Librarian Supervisor: LuAnn Mims
Ph: 863.834.4269
Email: luann.mims@lakelandgov.net

  • Using the Lakeland History Room


    • Research assistance with local history 
    • House/property records research 
    • Family Genealogy, Newspapers and Obituaries — please contact LuAnn Mims at 863.834.4269 or email LuAnn.Mims@lakelandgov.net
    • DIY Digitize Lab — guided assistance by appointment only to reformat analog materials to digital formats (excluding film). Please contact Rebecca Whalon to schedule an appointment in the DIY workspace at 863.834.4212 or email Rebecca.Whalon@lakelandgov.net


  • Digital Collections

    The Lakeland History Room collection features a variety of materials—documents, photographs, maps, building plans, audio/visual media, and scrapbooks with specialty items like citrus crate labels, artwork, yearbooks, posters, and postcards. There are also 8000+ images viewable online via our Digital Collection on CONTENTdm.

    Click on the icons below to explore digital collections, photo albums, and story maps of Lakeland history:

    Digital Photo Collection                    Library Flickr Albums

    Lakeland Story Maps                      Vanished Lakeland History Pin


  • In-Person Classes and Self-Paced Learning

    In-Person Classes 


    • Generators – meets the first Monday of each month @6pm- is an ad hoc group that discusses genealogical topics of interest
    • Beginning Genealogy – offered twice a year – basic introduction to researching your family history
    • Get Started with Ancestry.com – offered twice a year – guided tour through the premier genealogical database
    • Focus on Family Search – offered twice a year – step by step look at this FREE family history resources


    • Photograph Preservation instruction offered in person twice a year to introduce reformatting from analog to digital concepts

    Self-Paced Learning: Organizing and Preserving Your Materials

    Trying to get your personal memorabilia better organized?  Start with the Personal Archiving at Home video series. These short videos give detailed instruction on how to take care of your treasured memorabilia – photographs, slides, negatives, papers, audio and video tapes and more. Topics include preservation, storage, digitization, standard formatting, organization tips and adding to your family archives.

    Part I: Historic Preservation
    Part II: Organization & Maintenance
    Part III: Digitization


  • Lakeland History and Culture Center Lecture Series

    Aerial view of ballfields with text Sunshine Sports Mecca: A Lakeland Story with Thomas A. Cloud, Esquire, Thursday, April 18th at 5:30 PMSunshine Sports Mecca: A Lakeland Story 
    with Thomas A. Cloud, Esquire
    Lakeland Public Library 
    April 18th at 5:30 PM 

    Join us at the Lakeland Public Library on Thursday, April 18th at 5:30 PM as Thomas A. Cloud, Esquire presents "Sunshine Sports Mecca: A Lakeland Story."

    For much of the 20th century, Lakeland sought to develop into an inland commercial powerhouse.   Starting with the 1920s real estate “bubble,” the city invested in significant public and private improvements, including the construction of a barge canal linking it directly to the Gulf.  Part of this ambitious program—perhaps its most successful component—was the development of sports venues and programs.  Surviving despite a crushing financial crisis, these initiatives have been as important as any in defining Lakeland.

    Find out more information about "Sunshine Sports Mecca: A Lakeland Story."  No registration is required.

    This event is made possible by Geico Philanthropic Foundation.


  • History Tours

    Lakeland History Room Staff host historical walking tours for the public featuring Lakeland history, as well as providing curated exhibit tours of the Lakeland History and Culture Center.

    • Stories and Stones – Saturdays (check dates/registration) monthly walk and talk biographical tours of Lakeland’s oldest cemeteries – Roselawn, Tigers Flowers and Lake View
    • Green Hat and White Gloves – Second Tuesdays monthly (check dates and registration) walking tour of Lake Mirror with “Serena Bailey” Lakeland’s first librarian (1929-1959)
    • Ties that Bind, 1880-1925 – Lakeland’s Formative Years – curated exhibit tour available by appointment


    For more information contact, LuAnn Mims: 863.834.4269, LuAnn.Mims@lakelandgov.net 

  • Lakeland History & Culture Center

    Opened on September 8, 2022, the Lakeland History and Culture Center features a 1400 square foot exhibit space dedicated to telling the many stories of our community.

    The current exhibit, Ties That Bind: 1880-1925, Lakeland's Formative Years, showcases the early days of Lakeland's founding and incorporation, as well as the role of the railroads in helping to build and develop the area.

    Learn more about the Lakeland History & Culture Center.

Popular at the Lakeland History Room

  • Ancestry.com logo green leaf with link to ancestry.com login


    Start your family history search here at the library! Ancestry.com offers free access to all library patrons. (In library only)

  • Members of the Lakeland Brass band wait at the train station in Lakeland, Florida to greet the train carrying President Grover Cleveland in 1895

    Sounds of Music

    Our story begins with you...what better way to tell the many stories of Lakeland and its history, than visually by showcasing highlights from our Flickr digital collection.   

    Check out our featured album:

    Sounds of Music

    Lakeland is alive with the Sounds of Music.

    Enjoy this photographic stroll through the local musical heritage of Lakeland.

  • 1926 Postcard "Morrell Memorial Hospital, Lakeland, Florida" with text "Morrell Memorial Hospital"

    Lakeland Stories Feature: Morrell Memorial Hospital

    Discover more about Lakeland’s History through Stories! 

    Healthcare facilities were limited across Central Florida in the early 1900s. As Lakeland’s population rose during this time, so did the need for a permanent medical care unit. This need was satisfied when Mrs. Jane Morrell passed away in 1914 and bequeathed land located on South Missouri, between Lemon and Orange Streets, to be used as a hospital for the community. The city supported this with a bond to fund construction of the building. In August 1916, the 2-story Morrell Memorial Hospital opened with 25 beds, and a staff of 24.