The collection of books, pamphlets, other printed materials and maps has been specifically developed to document the history and development of Lakeland and, to a lesser extent, Polk County and the state of Florida as a whole. Most of the items in the collection are monographs, although there are also periodicals, maps, directories, and municipal, county, and state publications.
Collection strengths include Lakeland history, Polk County history, Florida history, and historic preservation. Other collections include Lakeland authors and Florida authors. Among the most heavily used volumes are The Lakeland City Directories published by R. L. Polk & Co., Jacksonville, Florida. The bound volumes, located in the Lakeland Room, include 1913, 1915-16, 1921, 1922-23, 1924-1928, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1938, 1940, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1950, 1952, 1954-66, and 1968- . The years 1915 through 1987 are also available on microfilm . The Reference Department houses the most recent volume.
The books are cataloged and the card catalog is available in Special Collections. The books do not circulate but are available for use by researchers in the Lakeland Room.