Expertise: Professionally-trained librarians are available every hour the department is open to answer your reference questions and help you find the materials you need.

Patrons may sign up for a one-hour session on one of the department's research computers. A library card or photo ID is required.

Examples of service:

  • USCIS Infopass appointments.
  • Current Tax Forms, and Tax Forms from Previous Years.
  • Getting started using the census microfilm.
  • How to get copies of vital records (birth, death and marriage certificates).
  • Legislative history of state or federal laws.

Research Tools - Helpful Websites

Subscription Databases

  • Declassified Documents Reference System: This database of more than 75,000 declassified documents and primary sources ranges from the years immediately following World War II through the 1970s. Topics covered include the Cold War, Vietnam, foreign policy shifts, the civil rights movement, and many others. Available from Free Library locations and from home with authentication (library card number and PIN).
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set from Readex: The full-text of Reports, Documents, and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives from 1817 – 1980 constitutes a rich foundation of primary source documents on all aspects of American history. Available in all Free Library locations.
  • HeritageQuest: Using this database when doing genealogical research can save a lot of time. Search by name and find original hand-written census enumeration sheets from 1790 – 1940. Available from Free Library locations and from home with authentication (library card number and PIN).
  • Archive-It: A web archive of Philadelphia Government websites and all of their content, including Philadelphia government reports that have been posted online.

Referrals and Partners

City of Philadelphia Department of Records
City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-686-2260

Philadelphia City Archives
3101 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-685-9401

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-732-6300

State Library of Pennsylvania
Forum Building
607 South Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0600
717-783-5968

The National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
215-305-2044

Temple Urban Archives
Special Collections Research Center
Paley Library
1210 Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
215-204-8257

University of Pennsylvania Government Documents
Van Pelt Library
3420 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-898-7556

Jenkins Law Library
833 Chestnut Street, Suite 1220
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4429
Phone: 215.574.7900

We are a Federal depository library