Local History & Genealogy
Twin Falls Public Library has a wealth of local, state, and regional history to share with our community, both in physical and digital format. If you’re interested in understanding more about the Magic Valley, or if you want to begin researching your own history, call or visit the Reference Desk.
Idaho and Pacific Northwest History Room
Known as "The Idaho Room,"" this special collection houses about 25,000 items, including hundreds of rare and out-of-print books, pamphlets, oral history, and audio/visual materials relating to the history of Twin Falls, the Magic Valley, Idaho, and the six surrounding states. This room also houses the TFPL Historical Photograph Collection, of which the Clarence E. Bisbee photographs are a part.
Historical Photo Collection
Twin Falls Public Library owns almost 15,000 historical photographs. Most are available digitally and are searchable inside the Library. Currently, a project is underway to make them available online at http://digital.tfpl.org
The collection includes:
Clarence E. Bisbee Collection
Bisbee was an early Magic Valley photographer who captured events, daily life, and the development of Twin Falls and the Magic Valley between 1906 and 1936. The collection includes over 2400 of his original glass negatives.Open
O.A. “Gus” Kelker Collection
Kelker was a photojournalist in Twin Falls in the mid-1900s. This collection of over 1500 photographs, are mostly of social events and club functions in the area.
Perrine Bridge Construction Collection
Scanned from over 4000 slides, the photographs in this collection were donated by the Idaho Department of Transportation. The photos tell the story of the current bridge construction from 1973 through 1976.
Harald Gerber Collection
Gerber, a local architect, took most of these photos of businesses, churches, schools, and homes during his career (1950s through the 2000s). The Library is in the process of digitizing this collection of over 2000 photographs, slides, and negatives.Open
General Historical Photograph Collection
In addition to the special collections, the Library preserves a collection of over 5000 photographs relating to the area taken by other local photographers, known and unknown. Photographers include Leah Amos, William Flowers, C.R. Savage, Horace Meyers, and more.
In addition to the physical archives of the Idaho Room, the Library also offers access to several online databases.
Access to the local Twin Falls newspapers going back to 1928. Microfilm is available inside the Library through the present year; online access goes to 2003. This resource is searchable and free to use; to ask the Library to find an article or obituary, please email the Reference Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form. Research fees are $5 per item.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which help to trace the early development of towns in Idaho, are available in digital form from inside the Library.
Access to the world’s largest genealogical database, Ancestry.com, is available to the public from inside the Library.
TFPL offers the public use of equipment that allows users to capture, record, and preserve important parts of their own personal history, especially those in obsolete or fragile formats. The Station includes the means to digitize photographs, documents, slides, negatives, cassette audio, and VHS video. Users can set up appointments with the Reference Desk.
The Library often presents informational or instructional events to help patrons learn more about the Library’s resources and local history. Check our calendar for events such as Beginning Genealogy, History Walks, local history presentations, and how-to research sessions.
Subscribe to our bimonthly “What’s New in Local and Idaho History” e-newsletter for stories, photos, information on new materials added to the collection, and event information.