Bishop Library

Built 1876

Use our resources to research Luzerne County people, places and events.


Come Visit!

49 South Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Phone: (570) 823-6244
Fax: (570) 823-9011

Next to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

There is a public restroom and a gift shop at the Bishop Library.


Open by appointment, Tuesday-Saturday.


We are closed on some holiday weekends (New Year's, Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas).


LCHS members: Free

Daily Usage Non-Member Adults: $5

Non-Member Children: $3 (ages 5-17)

Students Participating in National History Day: $1

Children Under 5: Free


Metered parking is available along South Franklin and nearby streets, as well as in the public parking garage directly across the street at Boscov’s Department Store or at the open-air lot on Northampton Street.  There is no parking at the Bishop Library.


The Bishop Library is not handicapped-accessible.  There are several stairs up to the front door.


Photocopies and microfilm copies are available for $0.25 per page.

Research services through the mail are available for an hourly fee; please contact us or use the forms below.


Support Local History

Help us to give the past a future

Welcome to

the Bishop Library

History of the Bishop Library


In 1971, the Society purchased what was to become the Bishop Memorial Library, through the bequest of Elma C. and Bessie Bishop. The building, designed by architect Willis O. Hale and constructed in 1876, was the former residence of Mrs. Volney Maxwell, and currently houses the Society’s library and archives collections as well as the Society’s administrative offices.

Research Guidelines


If you are planning a research trip to Luzerne County Historical Society’s Bishop Memorial Library & Archives, we ask that you please review the following guidelines in preparation for your trip. If you have any questions, feel free to call 570-823-6244 or email

  1. We recommend that you call a day or two in advance of your trip if you are traveling a long distance, especially in the winter – inclement weather occasionally necessitates an unexpected closure.


  1. A $5.00 daily research fee is charged for utilizing the Library. Members of the Society are free when they present a valid membership card.


  1. All visitors must use pencil only while working in the Library. Use of ink pens is prohibited. Pencils are available for your use. Highlighters and Post-It-type notes are not allowed to be used in the Library.


  1. Laptops and tablets are allowed for note-taking. Electrical outlets and a wireless Internet connection are available.


  1. Food and drink of any kind is prohibited within the Library.


  1. Pets are not allowed unless they are registered service animals.


  1. Please note that our materials are non-circulating. Nothing from our collection is permitted to be removed from the Library. The act of removing any item from our collection is considered a violation of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.


  1. Please refrain from bringing large tote bags, duffle bags, or containers into the Library. All purses, bags, briefcases, notebooks, etc., are subject to search prior to leaving the Library at the discretion of Historical Society staff.


  1. All copies must be made by the Library staff and cost $0.25 per page. Visitors requesting photocopies must adhere to all applicable state & federal copyright laws, including Title 17, United States Code. The Luzerne County Historical Society will utilize the following criteria when fulfilling requests for photocopies:
  • The Luzerne County Historical Society will assume the information will be used for private purposes, and has been given no notice that the reproduction will be used for something other than private study and research.
  • The quantity requested from a particular copyrighted work.
  • The age and condition of the item; for example, ledgers in our Manuscript Collection may not be photocopied due to their age and fragility.


  1. Photography and scanning of documents, photographs, or books in the collection is prohibited unless permission has been given by the Library staff. The exception is photographing items which cannot physically be photocopied. In this case, please inform the Librarian beforehand and do not use a flash.