Make sure any scrapbook adhesive you buy is acid free, and archival safe.
These come in various brands but they're all pretty much a white, double sided, sticky in a 1 centimeter square. They come in cardboard boxes, on rolls, or in fancy dispensers, which keep the roll from sticking to everything. Use these for the backs of photos, and background papers as they adhere really well to paper and photo paper. You can use them in photo framing projects as they work well there. Craft stores and scrapbook boutiques like to carry these for sale.
An acid free glue stick comes in handy. They come in regular white glue stick or a clear glue stick tinted with purple. The purple helps you see where you've applied it, then disappears as it dries. These can be found almost anywhere from grocery chains to Office Max, even Costco.
Vellum tape and sprays
3M makes a fairly good one that comes in a roll. It's a thin, clear glue that acts double sided and disappears behind the vellum. It can be a little hard to work with, but practice first and you've got it. I've found a vellum spray that the supplier says works better than vellum tape. You can mount vellum partially behind background paper with adhesive where it won't show, a brad, or cut a slit and run part of the the vellum strip in there, always hiding vellum glue behind something. You should be able to find vellum tape at Target in the scrapbooking aisle, usually by the office supplies or gift wrap. Vellum sprays are sold by scrapbook stores specializing in it.
Craft tape comes in small and wider widths, is double sided, and sticks GOOD. Try it on wider ribbons or when folding a background paper around to the back of the scrapbook page. It's great for crafts and home decor made with scrapbooking papers. It works great when covering a 5 by 7 canvas with scrapbooking paper; attach ribbon to the back of the canvas with craft tape, too. Add embellishments and you have a cute project to hang on the wall. Michael's craft store has this.
Foam adhesive gives pop-out dimension to photos or embellishments. 3D dots 0.25 inch thick give the most dimension. 3M makes a foam sponge dot that is half as thick, and gives varying dimension. Use in titles or accents, and give life to punched leaves, or stamped fruit. Use the frame that's left when the dots are used up. Trim off the size piece you need and use it the same as the dimensional dot. Try Close to My Heart consultants and Michael's craft store for these.
Glue dots and glue strips
These are simply lovely. Zots is a glue dots brand acting like prepoured rubber cement. They come small, which works great behind buttons and paper flowers. The medium size yields a flatter and wider glue dot, which works great behind larger buttons, photos, and background paper. I'll use two medium dots behind a small chipboard piece. There are jumbo glue dots, which are thick, wide and tall. These work well behind metal mesh accents, as they can grab a large button through the mesh. They act like chewing gum. Glue strips comes in a roll like other Zots, and works great behind narrow ribbon and embellishments, like thin metal rings. Scrapbookers like glue dots because they're quick, and don't require drying time like wet glue. If you go to scrapbook classes or crops, quick-drying adhesives are a big help. When you get a Michael's coupon, stock up. You can store rolls of glue dots on an upright paper towel holder, the kind that stands up from a base; you can find a cheap one at Ross. Craft stores and scrapbook boutiques like to carry glue dots and the Zots brand.
Wet glue and glue tubes
We all used Elmer's as kids in school. The scrapbooking industry has different archival safe, acid-free versions of the same thing. They have clear glues which dry clear, and white, pastey wet glues that are particularly tacky and stick anything to anything. 3M makes a nice product in a clear tube with dual tips, one for wider application from a built in sponge and a narrow tip for reinforcing tight or small spaces; Target carries these. Try it behind trimmed or curvy paper. I used to use wet glue exclusively, but I found that the Close To My Heart brand I was using didn't archive, didn't adhere the best over time, and a particularly wet application would warp thin background papers. The drawback to wet glue is you sometimes have to hold the surfaces together for a few to several seconds until things start to stick. Projects have to be allowed to dry overnight before you can safely put them inside a page protector. There's a trick to using Close To My Heart's glue; apply it one method, and the adhesion is permanent, use a second method and the adhesion might be only temporary; You have to familiarize yourself with their glue formula first. No matter what manufacturer, wet glues are all messy so have scrap paper on hand to protect your work surface. Also, be mindful of working with one thing at a time. Don't make the same mistake I did and glue the backs of half a dozen scrapbook flowers, only to lay my scrapbook layout accidentally on top of them, and to have glue stuck where I certainly didn't want it on precious photographs. I really like a product sold by Michael's craft store called Super Thick Tacky Glue for sticking paper flowers to pages and buttons to the flowers.
When you're in Michael's, seek out the Zyron aisle in the scrapbook section and check out the different products they have. You might want to invest in a 6 to 8 inch wide zyron machine, and a 2 inch wide zyron machine. You slide your letters or anything you want to create a sticker out of, and out it comes the other side, with adhesive applied. If you tend to cluster your scrapbooking into "album in a weekend" projects or kits, the Zyron line will be your best friend. You can wind several items through at once, then quickly complete a layout. Zyron has several products that require no batteries at all, so it might be something you find easy to use at the crop. You can find other uses for it, like helping you create invitations or party decorations. Try this: buy a small travel journal with nice paper inside and take it with you on vacation. Slightly larger than a deck of cards is a nice size. Write only on the front of each page. Write a few times a day, about what you did, what you ate, what the locals were like, and anything funny that came up. Date and time each page. When you create your travel album, slice the pages out of the log book carefully with a box cutter or x-acto knife, run the sheets through the zyron to put adhesive on the back, then you can create a day by day chronological photo and written journal of your trip. This is a really easy, quick way to get details into an album. I guarantee you will say wow when you use Zyron. It's a nice system.
Don't use Elmer's glue in scrapbooking projects, unless it's an acid free glue stick. Don't use rubber cement, because it won't archive well. Don't use adhesive spray for scrapbooking regularly because I'd hate the thought of inhaling that adhesive inside your lungs. Spray it outside, or in a well ventilated area, and consider wearing a mask from Home Depot that will filter particles that small (ask a floor salesman), or at least mask your nose and mouth with your shirt or scarf. Don't use superglue, because it can stick fingers together, and there are so many products out there that don't expose you to fumes. Children tend to use things without asking so keep the fumey items up where they can't get at them. Also, if you buy these products and have children or teenagers, you need to be aware about a dangerous, addictive practice called huffing, which children have died from from.
Glue alternatives include brads, eyelets, ribbon, photo corners, colored staples, folders, stickers, and sewing. For Christmas cards or birthday cards, I'll collect all from the year together and make a pocket page. The cards are archived then, without sticking any glue to the cards. There are longer staplers available that will staple anywhere on the page. Try Office Depot. Photo corners used to the be norm, now they're used mostly for old photographs from the previous century, so great grandma's picture doesn't get messed up at all. You can make your own photo corners by folding and glueing small squares of paper, then hide the photo corner under a cute, small image or embellishement. Ribbon can be attached to the background paper and not the photo; you just slide the photo under the ribbon. Usually one photo corner is needed to secure against sliding. Brads and eyelets will put a permanent hole in the picture, so use them with commitment, and don't use them on the only photo of great, great grandma from 1910. You can try tucking the photo corner under a medium or large brad to see if it will stay, instead of punching a hole through the picture for the brad. Many brads have designs or pictures, like baby feet, autumn leaves, or wedding cakes. Michael's is starting to get them in.