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

Irene Newhouse

WorldCat is also your friend. There's one caveat: when card catalogs were digitized, large libraries did not enter every single book. How far back they went depended on the funding for the project. At one university, for instance, they only entered every book published after 1960-something. Thereafter, as someone took out a book that hadn't been entered into the digital catalog, the circulation desk did it while it was being checked out. Well, in the late 1990s I routinely took out books for my genealogical research that had yet to be entered in the digital catalog. We  are often after books with very low circulation. However, it's still worth looking at WorldCat. If your local library has a decent interlibrary loan desk, you may well be able to have the book sent you.

Also, check the US used book sites - alibris, thriftbooks, abebooks regularly. At some random time, someone may sell the very book you want. zvab has the same rol in Germany. 

Irene Newhouse
Kihei HI USA

Shlomo Katz

If the book you are seeking is a Jewish religious book (which often contained a wealth of genealogy related information), try Hebrew

The site was originally created to preserve the Torah works of early American rabbis, but it has since expanded to tens of thousands of titles.

It is free, and operates based on donations. I have no affiliation with it but have used it hundreds of times.

Shlomo Katz
Silver Spring, MD

Kenneth Ryesky

"Also, the Library of Congress receives a copy of all books published in the United States."

... Most of which go into the dumpster.

That said, the LOC is certainly a valuable resource, so do not hesitate to use it; oftentimes it does have what you seek.

-- KHR


Ken Ryesky,  Petach Tikva, Israel     kenneth.ryesky@... 

GERTZIG, BRODSKY; Yelizavetgrad, Ukraine
IZRAELSON, ARSHENOV; Yevpatoriya, Ukraine (Crimea)


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