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About IAL

Learn who we are and what we do

About Us

The Industrial Archives & Library was created in 2015 with the express purpose of preserving America’s industrial past. IAL collects and makes available materials from a variety of industries in the United States.

Plans and programs both meet the institutional mission to make records available to the public and to position IAL to meet industry best practices for collections management.

The Industrial Archives & Library maintains active memberships in both the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC).

Our Mission

The mission of the Industrial Archives & Library is to collect, organize, conserve, and preserve industrial records and to make them available for education and research to historians, scholars, and the public.

Our Vision

To become a leading research center for industrial records.

Our History

The Industrial Archives & Library (IAL) was incorporated on January 1, 2015, as a non-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), Private Operating Foundation (POF), located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Our Location

IAL’s headquarters and research room are located in Southside Bethlehem near Bethlehem Steel’s former home plant and Lehigh University. The majority of its collections are stored in a newly acquired secure and environmentally controlled facility on Bethlehem’s north side.

Our People

Want to see the faces behind IAL? Our Staff and Trustees come with extensive experience to help us meet our Mission.

Our Collections

IAL’s growing collections include myriad types of materials which tell the story of America’s industrial history, from photographic negatives to published books.

Materials are stored in an environmentally secure location to ensure longevity, while digital collections are preserved with industry best standards. Different types of records are cataloged on different platforms.

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Our Archives

The archival collection at the Industrial Archives & Library holds finding aids related to America’s industrial past.

Archives are collected for their continuing value. IAL’s archival materials include photographs, blueprints, documents, and more from a wide variety of industries. Some collections are from individuals while others represent organizations.

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Our Library

The library is the home for published materials. IAL’s growing library currently contains over 10,000 volumes relating to transportation, steel, mining, munitions, ships and shipbuilding, the development of technology, labor, and regional history.

The library is not just books. IAL’s library includes a range of materials such as periodicals (magazines or journals), catalogs, brochures, and individual books (monographs).

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Our Digital Assets

IAL’s growing digital assets include electronic copies of select photographs, documents, and publications.

Digital assets contain a mix of born-digital items and other materials that have been digitized for easier viewing. Access copies can be viewed right in your browser, and high quality versions may be obtained for use in research, publication, or broadcast.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What industries are of interest to IAL?

IAL collects materials relating to any industry. However, current holdings include records relating to a variety of industries from across the country including banking, slate quarrying, coal mining, silk and textiles, steel, shipbuilding, railroads and transportation.

Does IAL only have collections related to the Lehigh Valley, Pa., area?

No, IAL has a nationwide reach and includes materials from myriad industries across the United States.

Is IAL associated with any other organization?

No, IAL is an independent, non-profit, 501(c)(3), Private Operating Foundation (POF) that is not associated with any other museum, library, archives, or institution.

Can I donate my archival or library materials to IAL?

IAL is always collecting more materials. If you believe you have something that fits IAL’s mission that you wish to donate, please contact us.

How do I research at IAL?

A great place to start is the Research page. But in archives not every item is cataloged, so you may have to read finding aids to figure out what materials are most helpful for you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to help you.

How can I visit IAL?

IAL is open by appointment only during normal business hours. Please contact us if you want to schedule an appointment to IAL for research.

What types of materials does IAL collect?

IAL collects all kinds of records including documents, photographs, negatives, slides, maps, blueprints, books, periodicals, and trade catalogs. IAL also can accept digital records. However, IAL generally does not collect artifacts or three-dimensional items.