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
- Govinfo: The Government Publishing Office's website for authenticated government information.
- Catalog of U.S. Government Publications: This site is "the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online."
- One-stop Government information portal: www.usa.gov
- Federal tax forms
- United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Infopass: click here to make an appointment with the USCIS.
- Pennsylvania tax forms
- Government grants and loans:
- The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, www.beta.sam.gov: "The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is a government-wide compendium of Federal programs, projects, services, and activities that provide assistance or benefits to the American public."
- www.grants.gov: "[A] central storehouse for information on over 1,000 grant programs and provides access to approximately $500 billion in annual awards."
- www.benefits.gov: "Answer questions to find out which government benefits you may be eligible for."
- United States Copyright Office
- Government Jobs
- U.S. Census American Factfinder
- U.S. Census Bureau Data: With the retirement of American FactFinder, this platform is the primary way to access data from the 2018 American Community Survey and 2017 Economic Census. It will also be the resource needed to access data from the 2020 Census.
- U.S. Citizenship Test Prep
- Core Documents of U.S. Democracy
- Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes : These are the laws of Pennsylvania. Difficult to use online, Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes, the printed version of Pennsylvania's laws, is available in the Social Science and History Department, as well as the Northeast Regional Library, the Joseph E. Coleman Regional Library, and the Lucien E. Blackwell Regional Library.
- Pennsylvania Code: The Pennsylvania General Assembly enacts statutes by passing bills in the Senate and House of Representatives and sending them to the Governor for approval. Some statutes give an agency in the executive branch the authority to adopt rules to further carry out the statute. Armed with this authority, the executive branch agency adopts rules which may be found in the Pennsylvania Code.
- Please see the following FAQs and Guides that have been created by the Government Publications librarians of the Social Science and History Department.
- 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
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Philadelphia City Archives
548 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Historical Society of Pennsylvania
1300 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
State Library of Pennsylvania
607 South Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0600
The National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Temple Urban Archives
Special Collections Research Center
1210 Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
University of Pennsylvania Government Documents
Van Pelt Library
3420 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Jenkins Law Library
1801 Market St., Suite 900
Ten Penn Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103-6405