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Library Guides

State-by-State Library Services

About this Guide

Each state offers its residents library services at no or low cost. This guide contains links to state and local public library web sites as well as local medical/health library sites.

Access the library web sites using the state links on the left side of the page or by selecting one of the tabs above and browsing the alphabetical lists: Libraries by State A-M and Libraries by State N-Z.

Understanding State Library Services

  Picture of woman taking book of a library shelf.
All states provide Library services to their citizens. Often coordinated by the State Library, the public libraries, academic libraries, government libraries and private libraries within a state participate in cooperative regional agreements. Interlibrary Loan is a cooperative agreement among libraries of all types to lend or provide material owned by one library in the state to another library. If your local public library does not own the book or journal you need, your library can initiate a process asking another library in the state to lend or supply the material to the library, so that your local library can supply the material to you.

Interlibrary loan agreements vary. Within some states, the service is free of charge. In other states, a small fee may be assessed. The time an interlibrary loan takes from the moment you request it until you receive the material varies as well. While the process of initiating a request is usually electronic, libraries still have to determine if the material is on the shelf. Where the request involves a book, material has to be mailed or sent by courier to the requesting library. Generally, allow at least two-to-three weeks for the interlibrary loan process.

This page attempts to help you understand what services are available to you as a citizen of your state. To aid you in obtaining material, this page connects you to a list of public libraries in your state. If you are not taking a course at a local college or university, you should begin your request by contacting your nearest public library. Note that the list of public libraries in a state is often maintained by the State Library. You can usually find out more about the services of the State Library by choosing home or look for the link for the State Library on the directory of libraries page.
If, for some reason, your local library is unable to help, the State Library should be able to tell you how to submit a request for material. If necessary, State Libraries will often assist local libraries in obtaining material from a library in another state. State Libraries also offer services for the blind and physically handicapped.

Another service provided by many States to the citizens of the state is home access to databases. Many states offer access to the full-text of many journals, magazines and, in some cases, access to ebooks. Often, this service is free to the citizens of the state. Follow the links on the page to read about the details of the service.