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Tennessee State Library and Archives: Public Services

Public Services Resource Guide A

∞ Preserving the Past for the Future ∞

  The Tennessee State Library and Archives is the official repository for the permanent records of the State of Tennessee and is the premier research facility in the state with extensive holdings in Tennessee, Southern, and regional history. Collections include county records (on microfilm); letters, diaries, private and family papers; a substantial genealogy collection; photographs, maps, sheet music, and other original materials, as well as general reference materials. Online resources include:

  • Online catalog
  • Vital records
  • Military records
  • Acts of Tennessee
  • Guide to state records
  • Guide to governors’ papers
  • Guide to Manuscripts Collections



  The Public Services section contains the following units: the Library Reading Room, Interlibrary Loan, Research Services, Microfilm Reading Room, Manuscripts Reading Room, and Legislative History and Recording.

  The Library Reading Room, the Microfilm Reading Room and Manuscripts are open to the general public Tuesday through Saturday, 8:00am - 4:30pm (Central Time). Legislative History is open Tuesday through Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm (Central Time). The State Library and Archives is closed on state and federal holidays.

Please note: Archival materials are available for retrieval between the hours of 8:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. If you know you will need materials between 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, please call ahead to the Public Services section at 615-741-2764 or e-mail TSLA. We will do our best to accommodate your request.



  The Library Reading Room features open stacks of reference materials, transcribed county records, county histories, indexes to American military records, published materials, and specialized vertical files. Computer terminals provide access to an online catalog that can be searched for books shelved in closed stacks. Family histories and reference materials from neighboring states can be found in the open stacks in the Microfilm Reading Room.



  This section contains the state’s largest collection of microfilmed county records, Tennessee newspapers, and related finding aids in the state. Microfilm readers and coin-operated reader/printers are also located in this room near the microfilm collection. Staff can provide guidance to researchers doing genealogical or other types of research. Selected microfilmed holdings include:

  • Tennessee census schedules
  • Military records
  • County courthouse records
  • Land grant records
  • Birth and death records
  • Marriage and divorce records
  • State records
  • Tennessee newspapers



  Original historical documents and state records are available in the Manuscripts Reading Room. Holdings include letters, diaries, ledgers, photographs, broadsides, prints, maps, oral history materials, films, and videos.

  State records, created by individuals or agencies within state government, include governors’ papers; Supreme Court case records; records of boards, commissions, and departments; and other materials from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.



  Beginning in 1955, the State of Tennessee was one of the first states to record the proceedings of its General Assembly and committees of both houses. TSLA's Legislative History staff provide assistance to patrons researching the history of a Tennessee law or the recording of a legislative session or meeting. More detailed legislative research is available for a fee.



  While TSLA does not perform extended genealogical research for patrons, limited reference services are available for those who are unable to visit our facility. Patrons may submit mail requests for searches of indexed records. All research fees are non-refundable; payment is required in advance of the search. Forms and instructions for ordering a record search are available on the TSLA web site at .



  Interlibrary loan service is available to eligible patrons. If requested published material or microfilmed material is not held in the collection, an attempt will be made to obtain the item from other libraries in the United States. Items borrowed from other libraries cannot be taken from our building. TSLA will also loan selected published and microfilmed materials; patrons needing these materials must make their request through their local library. TSLA’s Interlibrary Loan policies and procedures can be found at .



  All patrons are required to present a state or federal ID card (such as a driver license) when entering the building. Patrons will be issued a registration card and this card must be presented on all future visits. All types of carry bags may be examined by security staff when entering or leaving the building. Lockers are available for storage of patrons' belongings during their visit.


The Tennessee State Library and Archives, by authority of the Tennessee Code Annotated (Title 10, Chapter 1-8), collects and preserves books and records of historical, documentary and reference value, and encourages and promotes library development throughout the state.



Tuesday - Saturday 8:00am-4:30pm
Legislative History
Tuesday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm

Updated June 20, 2013


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