Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Library Services

Library Access and Collections

Research

Librarians

Electronic Resources

Library Services

Are there computers available for me to use at the NYS Library?

Yes, computers are available for the public to use. Registered users may sign up to use a computer onsite with their borrower card and PIN. We provide guest passes for out-of-state visitors.

Does the NYS Library have WiFi access?

Yes, there are wireless networks accessible on the 7th floor and 11th floor. The network available on the 7th floor is called "NYS Library" and the network available on the 11th floor is called "NYS Archives." They do not require a password, but after you connect to the network, your computer or device will prompt you to "Connect" to access the Internet.

Can I print from my laptop, tablet, or smartphone?

No, the Library's printers are not available on the wireless network. Users may print using the public access computers.

Does the Library provide services for individuals who have a visual, physical or reading disability?

Yes, the NYS Talking Book and Braille Library (NYSTBBL) lends audio and braille books and magazines to New Yorkers in counties outside of New York City and Long Island who have a visual, physical or reading disability. Services for New Yorkers living in the New York City and Long Island area are provided by the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book LibraryEXTERNAL LINK.

Library Access and Collections

Who is eligible to borrow materials?

New York State residents with a valid NYSL borrower card may borrower materials from the NYS Library. New Yorkers who cannot visit the Library and out-of-state individuals may request NYS Library items through their local library's interlibrary loan department.

How can I get a book that's not owned by the NYS Library?

New Yorkers may contact their local library to request a book not held by their library system or the NYS Library.

NYS government employees with a valid NYSL borrower card may submit an interlibrary loan request for work-related books and articles using the NYS Library's online ILLiad form. First-time users will be prompted to set up an account.

What collections are available to access when I visit?

The 7th floor of the Library is open to the public and includes an extensive collection of genealogy, law, and reference materials. Requests for items held in the closed stacks that aren't accessible to the public may be submitted at the circulation desk. Items are retrieved every 30 minutes between 9:30 am and 4:00 pm.

Manuscripts and Special Collections: Access to some manuscripts, rare books and historic materials may be limited or require more time to retrieve. Materials housed in Manuscripts and Special Collections are retrieved for research at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. daily and must be viewed in the 11th floor research room; they cannot be borrowed. Contact the Manuscripts and Special Collections unit for more information before you visit.

Research

General

How to I find information about grants?

The NYS Library is part of the Foundation Center Funding Information Network that provides access to current information on foundation and corporate giving through its publications and subscription databases. Contact a librarian to learn more about these resources and make an appointment for training.

The Division of Library Development (DLD) provides information about library funding including state aid, federal aid, LSTA, and more. Contact DLD for more information about grants for libraries.

The NYS Grants Gatewayexternal link is an online tool that provides information about funding opportunities with State agencies.

Business

How do I search for a trademark in New York State?

The Department of State's Division of Corporations, State Records and Uniform Commercial Code maintains records relating to business and state government including trademarks. They provide the searchable Corporation and Business Entity Database with filings from businesses and not-for-profit corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships, and other miscellaneous businesses. For more information, contact the NYS Department of Stateexternal link, Division of Corporations directly.

Government

Where can I get State and Federal tax forms?

  1. The NYS Library has some tax forms available onsite on a first-come-first-served basis.
  2. Contact the Department of Taxation and Finance for more information about obtaining NYS tax formsexternal link or download the forms onlineexternal link.
  3. Contact the IRS for information about federal forms and instructionsexternal link.

Where can I find New York State Laws?

  1. Current Laws of the State of New Yorkexternal link are available online provided by the NYS Legislature. The NYS Legislature also provides access to bills, including the text and sponsor's memo, and session laws from 1995 through the current session. These are searchable by bill or chapter numberexternal link.
     
  2. New York State law up to 2018 is available in the Library's collection on microfilm or hard copy. There is a charge for copying.

  3. Laws up to 1922 are also available freely online from sources such as the Hathitrust Digital Libraryexternal link and the Internet Archiveexternal link that are not affiliated with the NYS Library. Find out more at our legal resources page.

Where can I find the NYS Register?

The NYS Library provides access to the New York State Register from 1979-present in its Digital Collections. The Department of State provides access to the New York State Register from 2003 to the present and has a fully searchable format starting with 2007.

Where can I find the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations?

The Official Compilation of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) is available in hard copy at the NYS Library on the 7th floor. The NYS Library also maintains a collection of superseded pages to support regulatory history research.

The Department of State provides free access to an unofficial online version of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (NYCRR)external link.

Education 

Are the NYS Regents Exams and the Regents Competency Tests (RCTs) available online?

Many Regents Exams beginning in the late 1800s, as well as a small number of Regents Competency Tests, are available in the Library's Digital Collections. For additional exams that aren't available in the Digital Collections, contact a reference librarian.

Where do I get a duplicate copy of my high school equivalency diploma or transcript?

Request Duplicate Copy of NYS High School Equivalency Diploma and/or Transcript of GED®/TASC™ Test Scores from the NYS Education Department. Contact the High School Equivalency (HSE) Office by phone at 518-474-5906 for more information.

History and Genealogy

Where do I find birth, marriage, and death certificates?

Statewide registration of births, deaths, and marriages began in 1880-1881 but was not fully complied with until 1913. The NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Recordsexternal link provides birth and marriage records from 1881, death records from 1880 and divorce records from 1963. Indexes to these records are available for the public to access at the NYS Archives and other locations across the state as well as online through Ancestry and Familysearch.

What resources are available to research genealogy in New York State?

The NYS Library houses an extensive collection of resources including:

  • histories on individual families,
  • local histories,
  • Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR ) records,
  • church records,
  • historic newspapers,
  • city directories, and
  • census records.

The collection is national in scope, but with an emphasis on New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New England families. Contact a librarian for guidance and genealogical research strategies.

Librarians

What continuing education opportunities are available for Librarians?

The Division of Library Development partners with OCLC to provide free access to WebJunction's self-paced courses for library staff, volunteers, and students in New York State. Visit the WebJunction Course Catalogexternal link for information about upcoming webinars and courses.

The New York Library Association maintains a continuing education calendarexternal link with information about upcoming professional development opportunities available across the state.

How do I obtain public librarian certification?

Applications and requirements for public librarian certification are available from the Division of Library Development.

Are there any job openings at the NYS Library?

The NYS Library is part of the Office of Cultural Education within the State Education Department (SED). Check the list of SED employment opportunities for current openings.

Information about employment opportunities with New York Stateexternal link agencies and upcoming exam schedules is available from the Department of Civil Service.

What are the Z39.50 settings for NYSL's catalog?

Database name: unicorn
IP: nyst.sirsi.net
port: 8419

See the Library's Z39.50 Site Information for additional details.

Electronic Resources

What resources are available to New Yorkers from home or work?

New Yorkers have access to NOVELny, an online collection of resources selected by librarians that include journals, newspapers, Encyclopedia Britannica, and resources for health and business research. For more information, visit NOVELny or contact your local library.

Last Updated: February 11, 2020