How to find out-of-print books and publications #general #education


You can always locate out-of-print books through the help of a reference librarian. Start with your local library. Your library belongs to consortiums that pool expertise and can track down holdings. If you have a particularly arcane topic, seek assistance at a large city's main library, universities, and state libraries. They will have topic specialist reference librarians.

All libraries have websites. They publish email addresses, telephone numbers, and Contact Us forms. Also, the Library of Congress receives a copy of all books published in the United States. This includes a vast collection of published genealogies.

Many collections will lend books and microfilms to your local library via inter-library loan (ILL). If it's just a few pages or an article you need, they often will do a look-up. They may send you a xerox or a scan for free, or request a small fee and a self-adressed stamped envelope (SASE). is the premiere online database used to identify publications of all kinds and who has it. It is free to use. All aspiring genealogists should learn how to use this fabulous resource. Follow up with a reference librarian to find out how to obtain the resource. Some archives and libraries required me to present a letter of reference from my local library to gain access to their facility.

I am a past member of Books We Own - a website of genealogy volunteers offering look-ups in publications owned by members. JewishGen does not offer this, but other groups do. An online search will turn up active sites.

And last, but not least, there are online databases that list copies for sale by used bookdealers. The professional bookseller marketplace Alibris has one of the best known listing service and search engines for media.

Good hunting!
Pat Weinthal, USA
- whose mother was a fine, knowledgable reference librarian


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