New York State Library
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On-site Use of Library Materials

Members of the general public are welcome to use the Library's collections on site during regular library hours. You do not need a library card to use books on site at the Library. You can locate materials in the collection by consulting the Library's on-line catalog, Excelsior. Staff at the Reference Desk can also help locate materials and assist with research strategies.

Paging: Although some materials are located in the Reference Room on the seventh floor of the Cultural Education Center, most of the Library's extensive holdings are housed in closed-stack areas. Books and materials that are shelved in closed stacks may be retrieved by presenting a request form at the Circulation Desk for paging. You can also request materials electronically, before you visit the Library, so that they will be ready for you when you arrive.

Materials are paged at half-hour intervals from 9:30 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. Materials are usually retrieved within 30 minutes after paging. Requests left after 4:00 will be filled the next morning. Paged items must be picked up within two working days of the request. They may be placed on reserve, for use in the Library, for up to two weeks.

Items housed off-site (such as old, bound newspapers) may take one week or longer to be retrieved.

Items held by Manuscripts and Special Collections or by the State Archives must be requested from the Manuscripts and Special Collections Research Room, which follows a different paging schedule.

Restrictions: The circulation of the following items may be restricted or prohibited:

  • Reference books
  • Periodicals and newspapers (Hard copies do not circulate; most microfilm copies do.)
  • Rare books
  • Genealogies and local histories (Most hard copies do not circulate; most microfilm copies do.)
  • Fragile or oversize materials
  • Most books with a collection code starting with LAW (Many LAW/TEXT and LAW/CASES books do circulate.)
  • New York State documents (Only duplicate copies circulate)
  • Microforms other than those mentioned above
  • Loose-leaf services

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Last Updated: February 8, 2024