Local History

Council Bluffs History

Our Library is home to an extensive collection of materials about the unique history of Council Bluffs and Southwest Iowa. The library is your one-stop source for genealogy, history, census records, cemetery records, newspapers, and obituaries. Come in to discover your past and unlock your family story.

  • Every Council Bluffs City Directory dating back to 1866
  • Local Yearbooks dating back to 1897
  • Extensive photograph and Nonpareil negatives archive
  • Hundreds of subject-specific clippings files and folders

Explore your family history with the premier collection of U.S. obituaries and death notices for in-depth genealogical research from 1704 – today. HeritageHub includes deep coverage from all 50 states, hard-to-find content from the mid 1900’s, and original obituary images.

old historic photos

The Library’s Digital Archive contains digital editions of materials from our Special Collections. Browse hundreds of local historic photographs, documents, yearbooks and more. New materials are added regularly, so check back often to be sure you are not missing out on anything!

Search over 150 years of local history in this complete digital archive of the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil Newspaper! Keyword search by issue, and explore full image and text scans of every page.


The Iowa Room is the one-stop shop for all of your local history needs. This new space is dedicated to materials about Council Bluffs and southwest Iowa. With convenient access to the Special Collections, the Iowa Room offers a quiet place for historic research. It is located on the second floor and has microfilm readers, local history books and genealogy records.

For in-library use only, the Council Bluffs Public Library offers free access to Ancestry.com, the premier source for genealogy research. You can explore your family’s history using Ancestry.com from the Genealogy Room or from any computer inside the library. Come and have fun learning new things about your family!

Learn About Ancestry.com

Sanborn Maps

The Council Bluffs Public Library Special Collections consist of unique historical documents which are not available in the general, circulating collection. With special emphasis on local histories, these collections include, but are not limited to: Local maps, church histories, historic photographs, diaries, and books about the early history of Council Bluffs. By appointment only. Inquiries can be made at the Reference Desk on the second floor. Monday-Friday, 9a.m.-5p.m or at 712-323-7553 Ext. 5425.

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