The Local and Family History Department has extensive local historical resources including primary and secondary source materials that document the history of Battle Creek, with a secondary emphasis on Calhoun County and the state of Michigan. Limited information is also available for surrounding communities, and the mid-Atlantic, Eastern and North Central United States.
Items in this collection are not available for circulation, with the exception of manuals and guides. Some duplicate items are available in the non-fiction collection for circulation. Resources include:
Never used a computer before? This class includes an introduction to the basic parts of a computer, using a mouse, and other skills.
Fall dates coming soon!
Willard Library Meeting Room
Develop your own super powers this summer by playing our interactive game. The more you read the more powers you gain! Read books and complete challenges to get ‘energy credits’ that you can use to unlock new and exciting abilities and super suits.
Willard Library Newspaper Collection: Search and view historical local newspapers on library computers (1846-present), or in the comfort of your home with your Willard Library card (1846-1923 only).
Battle Creek Shopper News: Search and view the entire collection of the Battle Creek Shopper on library computers, or in the comfort of your home with your Willard Library card.
Battle Creek Enquirer: 2002-Present, Full-text, searchable database available from home with a library card.
Willard Library Newspaper Index covers the local newspapers from 1967-March 2012
Obituaries: Request an obituary. Dates of obituaries occurring between 1967-March 2012 can be found in the newspaper index. Prior to 1967, you must know the approximate year of the obituary you are requesting.
Digitized yearbooks are available for the five area public high schools. The collection currently includes: Battle Creek Central High School (1894-2002); Harper Creek High School (1962-2001); Lakeview High School (1925-2002); Pennfield High School (1979-2002); and Springfield High School (1956-1989). Yearbooks are accessible online with a current Willard Library card or on-site to guests.
Search and view Battle Creek City Directories on-site (1880-1960), or in the comfort of your home with your Willard Library card (1890-1923).
Authored by the city's ideal biographer, Berenice Bryant Lowe, in 1976, Tales of Battle Creek "...provides a loving, spirited, and always accurate chronicle of the who-what-when-where-why of Battle Creek's past" with more than 16 pages of photographs of early Battle Creek. Brought to you through a collaboration with Heritage Battle Creek.
The Historical Images of Battle Creek collection includes more than 17,000 photographs and is comprised of four collections:
Stuart A. Lassen spent 21 years collecting postcards, advertising and trade cards of early Battle Creek. Through Lassen's generous donation to digitize this collection, he created a legacy by sharing Battle Creek's history with future generations.
Links to books about Battle Creek and Calhoun County history, including W.K. Kellogg, Kellogg Co., Sojourner Truth, Underground Railroad, and C.W. Post.
A collection of local interviews conducted Dave Eddy, a news host, at Access Vision.
Discover the wills and probate records of your family members and ancestors to learn what they left behind. The Calhoun County Probate Index (1835 - 1915) will provide the the probate file number to locate the probate records for an individual.
Don't miss this opportunity to win great prizes just for doing what you love to do...READ! Stop by the teen room or Helen Warner Branch information desk to pick up your reading log (or print one at home). After you finish ten books, turn in your log to receive a free backpack filled with cool stuff and be entered into the grand prize drawing! In addition to turning in your log of ten books, fill out a summary of each book you read to enter into the drawing for the prize bucket of your choice.
Prize Bucket Choices:
Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Amazon Gift Card
Beats Solo Headphones
The Local and Family History Department of Willard Library is located in the Helen Warner Branch at 36 Minges Creek Place (off Beckley Road, just south of I-94). The hours are Mondays through Thursdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, September through April, 1 p.m. to 5p.m.
Beginning June 5, readers and those children not yet reading on their own may earn prizes for reading and listening to books. Children may put their nametags on the bulletin board, borrow books and be on their way to reading fun! Children will receive prizes after five hours of reading and 10 hours of reading. When they have read a total of 15 hours, they will have earned an award certificate, and grand prizes. Click here to print your reading log at home.
Reading activities include: