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:

  • Register for a USCIS Online Account or review and print out the N-400 Application for Naturalization (printing fees apply)
  • Review and print federal/state/city tax forms
  • Conduct census research
  • Learn how and where to obtain copies of vital records (birth, death, marriage certificates)
  • Determine the legislative history of state and 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
215-686-2262

Philadelphia City Archives
548 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
215-685-9401

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-732-6200

State Library of Pennsylvania
Commonwealth Keystone Building
Plaza Library (Museum Plaza Wing)
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0211
717-783-5950

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

Temple University – Special Collections Research Center
Paley Library
1900 N 13th Street
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
1801 Market St., Suite 900
Ten Penn Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103-6405
215-574-7900

We are a Federal depository library