Research Services

Library Assistance:Reference desk attendant
The Main Library has a full Reference Department, with a librarian always available to help find the book or information you need. We can also answer quick reference questions by telephone or e-mail, or help you use library resources from your home computer. Call the Reference Librarian at (518) 274-7071, email us: troyref@thetroylibrary.org, or complete our contact form.

Interlibrary Loan
If we don’t have the book or article you need, we can request it for you through our interlibrary loan system. The material will be delivered to Troy Public Library for you. Please ask at the Information Desk for assistance.

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Electronic Resources

A number of online Reference Databases are accessible on terminals in the library or from home with your Troy Public Library card. Use these resources to search for magazine and newspaper articles, search online encyclopedias, or to locate business and financial information. Please ask at the Information Desk if you need assistance in using these databases.

Internet access and word processing are available on computers in the library to patrons with valid Troy Public Library or Upper Hudson Library System cards. All users must agree to follow Troy Public Library’s Internet and Computer Policy.

Exceptions can be made for individuals (including those under the age of 18) seeking access to government information resources online.

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Genealogy and Local History

Our Troy Room Collection contains hundreds of books, pamphlets, and other local history and genealogy documents. Works by local authors, Troy City Directories, local newspapers, photographs, post cards, family histories, and census records are all part of this valuable collection.

Resources available in the Troy Room pdf icon

All researchers are welcome to use the resources in the Troy Room. The Troy Room is open during
normal library operating hours. For those who cannot visit our library in person, we offer remote assistance for a fee of $25. The $25 fee must be paid in advance, and will cover up to one hour of genealogical research. If you are interested in this service, please print out the Genealogy and Local History Request Form, fill it out and mail it along with your check for $25 to: Troy Public Library, Attention: Genealogy and Local History, 100 Second Street, Troy, NY 12180.

Genealogy and Local History Request Form pdf icon

Please understand that we require payment of the $25 in order to begin searching. Genealogical research can be quite labor-intensive, and even in cases in which our searching turns up no information, payment is still required. Questions are answered in the order in which they are received. Response time will vary based on the number of questions received and may take up to one or two months.

Online Resources

  • Ancestry Library Edition ((available only in the library), one of the most important genealogical collections available today, has unparalleled coverage of the U.S. and the U.K., including census, vital, church, court, and immigration records, as well as record collections from Canada and other areas. The Ancestry Library Edition collection has approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. federal census images and indexes from 1790 to 1940; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes), Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes), The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630, Social Security Death Index, WWI Draft Registration Cards, Federal Slave Narratives, and a strong Civil War collection.
  • Troy City Directories
    The Library holds a nearly-complete run of Troy City Directories from 1829-Present in print. Many of these directories are also available online through Ancestry Library Edition. Currently, Ancestry provides full-text access to directories from 1857-1947 with the exception of 1900, 1904, 1921, and 1936-1946.
  • HeritageQuest Online (available only in the library) is an essential collection of unique material for both genealogical hobbyists and professionals, with coverage dating back to the late 1700s. HeritageQuest Online combines digital, searchable images of U.S. federal census records with the digitized version of the popular UMI® Genealogy & Local History collection and other valuable content. Along with U.S. federal census images and indexes from 1790 to 1930, HeritageQuest Online offers more than 20,000 book titles, including nearly 8,000 family histories and over 12,000 local histories, in addition to the more than 250 primary source documents such as tax lists, city directories, and probate records.
  • Sanborn Insurance Maps for Troy in Rensselaer Digital Collections – Sanborn Maps is an American publisher of historical and current maps of U.S. cities and towns. These maps were initially created to estimate fire insurance liabilities. They are extremely detailed and have great historic value. The company’s maps are frequently used for historical research, preservation and restoration efforts. This collection of insurance maps is of Troy, NY, with parts of the Village of Green Island, the Town of Colonie and the City of Watervliet.  The scanned images are of the introductory materials, indexes, and supplements from the original 1903 edition and a 1955 republication of the 1903 edition reflecting intermittent updates between 1931 to 1966.  The individual images are available for viewing in the original TIFF format and JP2 formats in order to provide greater detail.  There are 192 maps in the original 1903 edition and 182 maps in the 1955 republished version.Thanks to the efforts of Jeanne Keefe, Media & Digital Assets Librarian, this treasure trove is now accessible via Rensselaer Digital Collections.  Once the Rensselaer Digital Collections page opens, the collections can be searched by entering “Sanborn” in the search engine, identifying the map of interest and clicking on the “Object” icon.
  • Troy Record, Northern Budget, American SpyThe library is in the process of digitizing the Troy Record and other local newspapers as funds and staffing allows. The digitized collection currently includes the Troy Record (2012-2018), the Northern Budget (1797-1798), and the American Spy (1791-1797).
  • NYS Historic Newspapers The New York State Historic Newspaper Project, created and administered by the Northern New York Library Network in partnership with the Empire State Library Network, provides access to 13 Troy and Lansingburgh newspapers including the Troy Sentinel, Troy Ray, Lansingburgh Gazette and more.
  • Fulton History Fulton History is a historic newspaper collection which contains archives of over 1,000 New York newspapers, along with collections from other states and Canada. Fulton History provides access to several Troy and Lansingburgh newspapers, as well as titles from surrounding towns and counties.
  • New York Heritage Digital Collections – New York Heritage is a research portal for anyone who is interested in learning more about the people, places and institutions of New York State. The collections in New York Heritage represent a broad range of historical, scholarly, and cultural materials held in libraries, museums, and archives throughout the state. Collection items include photographs, letters, diaries, directories, maps, books, and more. New York Heritage is a collaborative project of seven Empire State Library Network members: Capital District Library Council, Central New York Library Resources Council, Long Island Library Resources Council, Northern New York Library Network, Rochester Regional Library Council, South Central Regional Library Council, and Western New York Library Resources Council.

NOVELNY Databases
New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVELNY) is a collection of online resources that are
accessible to all New York state residents free of charge. The collection contains several newspaper
databases, including:

  • InfoTrac Newsstand
    Provides access to several New York Newspapers including the New York Times from 1995 on, and over 1,000 major U.S. regional, national, and local newspapers.
  • Gale New York State Newspapers
    A subset of InfoTrac Newsstand, this database includes articles from newspapers from around New York State including: Glens Falls Post-Star, New York Times, New York Post, Buffalo News, and Newsday. It is helpful to search this database if you are not interested in the larger collection available in InfoTrac Newsstand.

New York State Library Databases

  • America’s Historical Newspapers
    Provides access to newspapers published between 1733 and 1915. The over 200 New York newspaper selections include newspapers from Albany, Ballston Spa, Cooperstown, Hudson, Ithaca, New York City, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Schenectady, Sing-Sing, Troy, and Utica. A New York State Library P-Card is required. Contact the state library for details.
  • Americas Newspapers: New York
    Full text coverage of a wide range of New York State newspapers from Albany, Batavia, Binghamton, Buffalo, Lewisboro, Long Island, New York City, Plattsburgh, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Suffolk county, Syracuse, Troy, Utica, Watertown, and Westchester county. Titles include the Buffalo News, Daily Gazette (Schenectady), Long Island Advance, Times Union (Albany), New York Post, Observer-Dispatch (Utica), Post Standard (Syracuse), Post-Star (Glens Falls), Press-Republican (Plattsburgh), Saratogian, Watertown Daily Times, and more. Dates of coverage vary with the newspaper. A New York State Library P-Card is required. Contact the state library for details.
  • Gale New York Times Historical
    Provides access to the historical New York Times (1851-2007). A New York State Library P-Card is required. Contact the state library for details.
  • Albany Times Union Archive
    The Times Union maintains an archive which contains staff-written and other selected articles from March 1986 (obituaries since 1993) to the present. Searching is free and unlimited, and there is no charge to read stories for the past 7 days. There is a fee for complete articles retrieved from the archive that are older than 7 days.
  • Legacy.com Obituaries
    Search for obituaries from more than 1,500 newspapers and 3,500 funeral homes across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Europe.

Man reading a book

Here are some helpful links to get you started on your own genealogical search:

If you require extensive research assistance (more than two hours of work), you should consult with a professional genealogist. Here is a list of researchers who work in the Capital District.

 

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Reader Services

lady with book

Job and Small Business Information Center:
The library has reference materials and books to check out on the topics of choosing or preparing for a career, job searching, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, and career advancement. Also included are civil service examination announcements and job openings, and classified job ads. We maintain a collection of study guides for civil service, military, postal, police, and professional examinations. This collection is located on the first floor of the Main Library, to the left-hand side of the rear staircase.

 

Education Center:
This collection has both reference and circulating materials to assist students in selecting and applying to colleges. The collection includes information on financial aid. Also contained in this section are Adult Education materials, including GED preparation books, and test preparation guides for standardized exams like the SAT, NYS Regent’s Exams and the GRE. This collection is located on the first floor of the Main Library, to the left-hand side of the rear staircase.

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TPL Federal Depository

Troy Public Library has been a Federal Depository Library since 1869. Since 1979 the collection has been developed in cooperation with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute according to the guidelines of a selective housing agreement.

We serve the government information needs of the 21st Congressional District along with other depositories located at the New York State Library, Union College, State University of New York, Albany, and the Albany Law School. Troy Public Library places special emphasis on acquiring publications from the Census Bureau, the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the State Department. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) emphasizes publications from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NASA, the Department of Energy, patents, and technical information from most departments.

For assistance in locating U.S. Government documents at the library, at other local depositories, or online, or for further information about our holdings, please call 274-7071 or stop by the Information Desk at the Main Library.

Cardholders from any library in the Upper Hudson Library System may use their library card to access the computers for government research. Library visitors, including those under the age of 18, may obtain a guest pass from the Information Desk to access the computers for government research.

Federal Depository Library Logo

This library is a Congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents.  Public access to the Government documents is guaranteed by public law.

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Internet and Computer Policies

Internet and Computer Policies

The Internet is a global network of computers, which offers unlimited information of every kind, both educational and recreational. The Troy Public Library seeks to provide access to this vast resource in keeping with its mission of making information available to the community. The Library, however, does not monitor the Internet and cannot guarantee the validity or accuracy of information found there.

Due to the nature of a public computer network and the location of the computers in the library, privacy of usage is not guaranteed. Users displaying any material which is inappropriate for viewing in a public setting may be directed to not access that material by staff. Multiple warnings by staff will result in loss of computer privileges.

Any criminal or otherwise illegal conduct is prohibited, including the public display of offensive sexual materials as restricted by NYS Penal Laws, 245.10, 245.11, 263.11 and 263.16 when using a public PC.

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