Guide to Historical Research

finding relevant books through the library catalog  

  1. Go to the library’s catalog at
  2. Type in your query in the Search bar. You can search by author, title, or keyword.
  3. On the right-hand side of the page, you will find options to narrow your search by publication date, format, author, etc. You will also see the option to narrow your search by items that are available now at each library location.


browsing the shelves  

When searching the Non-Fiction section, you will find books of similar subjects grouped together using the Dewey Decimal system:           

 Call Numbers for Historical Research:                 
Manatee County History                    975.962                
Florida History                                     975.9                 
American History                                973                 
Politics and Society                             320s                 
North American History                     970s                 
European History                                940s                 
Asian History                                        950s                 
African History                                     960s                 
South American History                     980s
Biographies                                          920

eaton room: local history resources

The Eaton Room collection at the Central Library contains local resources including history books on Manatee County and the local area, historical maps, local high school yearbooks, telephone books and city directories dating back to 1897, newspaper archives on Microfilm, census records dating back to 1830, Florida history magazines and journals, and other materials pertaining to local history. 

The Historic Digital Collections
features the four collections—Historic Images; Historic Interviews, Speeches & Miscellany (documents); Historic Maps; and Postcards. Each collection can be browsed and searched individually.


library databases  

  1. To access, visit the library’s website at and click on the Research & Learning button. Then click on the Articles, Research & Information button. You can view databases by title or subject. Some helpful databases include:

  • Academic OneFile
  • HeritageQuest Online
  • History Reference Center
  • Literary Reference Center
  • NewsBank (Florida newspapers & more)
  • Sources in U.S. History: The Civil War
  • U.S. History Collection
  • World History Collection

other helpful websites

Florida Memory State Library and Archives of Florida resources 

Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services
List of libraries and archives that have primary sources

National Archives
Digital copies of Federal primary sources like the Constitution and military records.

Exploring Florida
Florida primary sources including documents, photos, maps, and music. Click on Floripedia for historic documents.

Library of Congress
National primary sources clustered in topics like “Harlem Renaissance” and “Woman’s Suffrage.”

Citing Primary Sources
Choose Chicago or MLA style and then your source for an explanation and example citation.