The library provides researchers and the general public access to over 5,000 books and 79 periodicals covering all aspects of Cape Ann life. These include the history, growth and development of Gloucester as a major fishing port; her role as a gathering place for artists; and extensive genealogies of local families, especially the early settlers.
Among the library’s holdings are the following collections:
- Atlantic Fisherman 1921 - 1960 (incomplete)
- City of Gloucester Annual Reports 1874 - 1964
- Essex Institute Historical Collection Gloucester Annual School Reports 1874 - 1959
- Gloucester Architectural Street Surveys 1970s
- Gloucester City directories 1860 - 1978 (incomplete)
- Gloucester Fishermen’s Institute Annual Reports 1905 - 1942
- Gloucester High School Year Books 1901 - 2009 (incomplete)
- Gloucester Master Mariners' Association year books 1903 - 1967 (incomplete)
- List of Merchant Vessels of the United States 1872 - 1965 (incomplete)
- List of vessels belonging to the district of Gloucester 1869 - 1909 (incomplete)
- 145 Scrapbooks And 32 unpublished manuscripts.