Have a question?  Just ask Reference!

The Reference Department of the Pottsville Free Public Library serves all of Schuylkill County and part of Northumberland County.  Our primary purpose is to help our patrons find what they are looking for, whether the answer is on a computer or in a book.

Services of the Reference Department include:

    -- answer in-person, telephone, mail and e-mail requests for information and assistance;

    -- create pathfinders for commonly-requested subjects, like job searches, our elected representatives, online  
        practice tests, and science fair projects;

    -- do basic genealogy research and copying for people outside the county, and help people use the resources
        in the Library (see below for more information);

    -- and provide basic assistance with computers in the Library.

What's in the Reference Department?

Genealogy is a hot topic, and the Reference Department has many materials for people doing research on their Schuylkill County ancestors.  See our "Genealogy and local history materials" page for a detailed list of what's in our collection and what services we provide.  Materials are in book or microfilm format.  We have 4 microform machines which can read and print microfiche and microfilm reels.  These machines are on a first-come, first-serve basis with a one-hour time limit if other people need to use the machines.  No library card is needed for the microform machines.

There are nine public computers, available to anyone with a valid Pottsville Library card.  These computers have Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.  Books are available in the Circulating Collection to help people use the programs on the computer .

Books, books and more books!  From general almanacs and encyclopedias, to car and antiques price guides, to the laws of the United States and Pennsylvania, the Reference Collection has over 5,000 titles and almost 12,000 volumes.  Find specific titles or subjects by using the library catalog.  Reference materials are available during all Library hours. 

There is also a growing collection of reference ebooks available to anyone with a valid Pottsville Library card. Infobase and Britannica ebooks cover a variety of topics, from history to health, most for ages 14 and up. These titles are also available through the library's catalog, and are distinguished by the "EBOOK" call number; just click on "Link to Ebook" to view the book on your computer or device. (Reference ebooks do require a connection to the internet in order to use; most of the reference ebooks cannot be downloaded for use offline.)

The Pottsville Library was designated a Federal depository library in 1967, and we continue to provide access to both United States and Pennsylvania agency publications in print and online.  We receive approximately 10% of the materials made available through the Federal depository program.  The Reference Librarians organize and help people find and use these publications.  See the Government Information or Government Publications pages for links to some of the most frequently used government and legal web sites.  You can also check our catalog to find some of the government publications in our collection.

A magazine collection of over 120 titles can also be found in the Reference Department.  Magazine indexes are available in print and online -- go to the POWER Library to use the magazine indexes from your home computer (you will need your library card to access this database).

A pamphlet file holds maps, articles from the local newspaper about local communities, and a variety of consumer brochures from state and federal agencies.

Tax season never seems very far away.  The Reference Department orders tax forms for state and federal income taxes, and provides year-round access to reproducible forms, instructions and publications.

Have a question for us?  E-mail us at potref@pottsvillelibrary.org, call us at 570-622-8880, or write to us at Pottsville Free Public Library, Attn: Reference Dept., 215 W. Market St., Pottsville, PA  17901.

Have a question that you need answered right away?  Try using the Ask Here PA virtual reference service.  Please note this service is for Pennsylvania residents only.

Better yet, come in to the Pottsville Free Public Library to see the Reference Department  yourself.  We are on the first floor of the Library, to the right of the Circulation Desk when you enter the building.  The Department occupies most of the original wing of the Library.  Reading areas are available in the front and back parts of the room.

Last updated June 17, 2013.

Return to Index