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Local Studies

Aberdeen Local Studies provide information and help with research on all aspects of the city and the surrounding area from the earliest period of history to the present day. 

Local Studies Collection Survey

The Local Studies team aim to provide a useful and interesting range of resources and are committed to helping library users get the most out of them.

The team need your help in developing our Local and Family History collections - feel free to share your views with us by completing our  Local Studies Collection Survey before 31 August.

New additions

British Newspaper Archive logo The British Newspaper Archive is available for all users of Aberdeen City Libraries. The website contains millions of historical newspapers, including thousands of pages from the Aberdeen Journal (1798 - 1950) and the Evening Express (1879 - 1954). This means our online coverage of local newspapers now stretches into the 20th Century. Please note that the British Newspaper Archive is not available to users accessing from home. Also, library users must register on the website before commencing free searches and downloads.

Logo for SCRAN

We are also pleased to announce that the award-winning resource SCRAN is now available remotely to all Aberdeen City Library members - simply click on the logo above and have your library card details to hand. The website features over 360,000 images, videos and sounds from museums, galleries and archives, covering a wide range of subjects including local history, architecture, fashion and much more.

Resources in our Collections

The resources listed below are all available to consult in the Information Centre, at Aberdeen Central Library. However, if you would like to explore some of our collections from the comfort of home, why not visit The Silver City Vault which contains historic images of Aberdeen, along with thousands of records from various sources.  Simply click on the image below to start exploring...

The Silver City Vault

Books and Pamphlets:

Our book stock ranges from sixteenth century early printed books to the latest local publications and covers the whole spectrum of local studies:

  • Parish and local histories
  • Biographies and family history
  • Education, literature and architecture
  • Local authority minutes and development plans
  • Electoral and valuation rolls

Newspapers and Periodicals:

Local historic newspapers are available on microfilm. View or download our Newspaper Holdings on Microfilm leaflet (PDF 1.4M)

  • A news cuttings file covering both people and topics was maintained for many years.
  • The British Library 19th. Century Newspapers database includes the Aberdeen Journal.
  • Various local periodicals, both historical and current, are held, such as The Deeside Field, Leopard Magazine, Northern Scotland and Roustabout.


We hold a complete file of the Aberdeen Post Office Directory 1824-1982 and the Aberdeen Almanac 1753-1933 (early years incomplete), succeeded by the Northern Year Book 1934-1952.


We have a series of maps and street plans of the City, dating from 1661, with harbour, estate and railway plans for North East Scotland. In addition, we hold an extensive range of current and historical Ordnance Survey sheets for the same areas.
Maps can be photocopied depending on size and condition. For Ordnance Survey maps published within the last 50 years, only one A4 copy is permitted.
Please note: We are not permitted to supply OS mapping for the purposes of Planning or Building Warrant application.

Family History Resources:
Visit our dedicated Family History page.



By gone years - Old Union Street looking East

Local Studies holds an extensive collection of historical photographs covering buildings, streets and harbour scenes in the City.

Special collections include:

  • George Washington Wilson Archive
  • A comprehensive record of air-raid damage suffered by Aberdeen during World War Two
  • A unique collection of fishing vessels including herring drifters and steam trawlers
  • SCRAN is an award-winning learning website with over 360,000 images, videos and sounds from museums, galleries and archives. It covers a wide range of subjects including local history, architecture, fashion and much more. This database is now available remotely to users with a current library card.


All Local Studies books and pamphlets added to stock after 1993 can be found on the on-line catalogue. Go to: Library Catalogue

Items in stock prior to 1993 can be located on the Local Studies Author card catalogue in the Information Centre. Please contact Local Studies if you need to check a title is in stock.

Please note that non-book formats are not included in the catalogues.



View or download our Local Studies Charging Policy - April 2012 (PDF 92Kb) for letter, email and telephone research enquiries.


Please note that no photocopying of Local Studies stock is permitted without first consulting a member of the Local Studies team.  Our collections are delicate and must be protected from the damage caused by photocopying.  Your co-operation in this matter is greatly appreciated.

Copyright restrictions will apply to some material.

Microfilm Readers/Printers

Copies can be made from material held on microfilm but please note that the quality of copies can vary.
We do not operate an advance booking system for the microfilm readers but during busy periods, sessions will be limited to 1 hour maximum

Computer Access:

Dedicated PCs provide access to websites relating to family history and local studies information sources. Access is free but print-out costs apply.

Photographic Reproduction:

We can supply digital copies of photographs from our collection of photographs and illustrations.

Price List for Digital Copies including VAT at 20%





Digital print (matte / glossy)



Digital print (matte / glossy)



Digital print (matte / glossy)


Digital Image


5.00 per image

VAT is not applied to overseas customers outside the EU.

Written permission must be obtained for the reproduction of any historical images, and a Reproduction Fee of 50.00 is normally payable.

Opening hours

  • Monday & Wednesday 9am to 8pm
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday 9am to 5pm


Local Studies is located within Information Services on the first floor of the Central Library, Rosemount Viaduct, at the east end of the building. It is fully accessible to disabled visitors via the lift and ramped entrance.

The Central Library is located on Rosemount Viaduct, at the end of Union Terrace, adjacent to St Mark's Church and His Majesty's Theatre. It is approximately 10-15 minutes' walk from the railway station. Car parking facilities are available at the rear of the building at the Denburn Car Park, Skene Street. Charges apply.

Contact Details

  • Aberdeen Library and Information Services:
    Local Studies,
    Central Library,
    Rosemount Viaduct,
    Aberdeen City Council.
    AB25 1GW.

    Tel: 01224 652543
    Fax: 01224 624118

Please remember to include your full name and postal address in any e-mail enquiry to assist us should we need to send you copies of relevant material.

Back to Library Services home page.