Back to top

Planning Your Visit

Please also review History & Genealogy security policy.

General information

Q. Is free parking available?

A. Yes. The library has a large, free, well-lit parking lot.

Q. Can I search the library's catalog on the Internet before I come?

A. St. Louis County Library offers an online catalog, and the History and Genealogy Department also has online indexes and finding aids for many of its sources.

Q. How do I find out what is new in your department?

A. Sign up for PastPorts, the department’s monthly electronic newsletter. Sign up to receive email notices when a new issue is available or download current and past issues. PastPorts issues are posted on the website as PDFs.

Using the Collection

Q. Can books be checked out from the History and Genealogy Department?

A. Books with call numbers beginning with "R" are for reference use only and cannot be checked out or taken off the floor. Books from the National Genealogical Society Book Loan Collection and others with call numbers that do not begin with "R" can be checked out with a valid St. Louis County Library card or obtained through interlibrary loan. Circulating books are visible on the shelf by the round blue label on their spines. Use the online library catalog to determine which books circulate and which do not. A limit of two books can be checked out from the History and Genealogy Department at one time.

Q. Where are the family histories shelved?

A. Due to space limitations, the department’s extensive published family history collection is shelved on Tier 4, an area normally closed to the public. A librarian will retrieve books for you upon request. Tier 4 will be open to the public during the National Genealogical Society Conference, May 8-11, 2019.

Q. Should I re-shelve the books after I use them?

A. No. Place them on one of the carts at the ends of the stacks.

Q. Can I pull my own microfilms?

A. Yes, customers may take the films they need from the film cabinets.

Q. Should I re-file the microfilms when I am finished using them?

A. No. When finished with a reel of film, place it on the cart near the microfilm reader area provided for that purpose.

Microfilm Readers

Q. Are there time limits for using computers and microfilm readers/printers?

A. Yes. A 30-minute limit for computers and a one-hour limit for microfilm readers/printers is enforced if other researchers are waiting. If there is no waiting list, you may continue to use the equipment past the time limit.

Q. How do I sign up to use the equipment?

A. Sign in at the department’s reference desk.

Computers and Internet Access

Q. Do you have Internet access?

A. Yes. There is a 30-minute time limit on the public computers if others are waiting.

Q. Do I need to show an ID to use a computer?

A. No.

Q. Can I access your subscription databases?

A. Researchers have full access to all genealogical subscription databases while in any branch of the library. A list of databases along with information about remote access is available on the library’s website.

Q. Can I print copies from Internet sites or CD-ROMs?

A. Yes. Print-out from the computers costs 10¢ per page for letter size and 20¢ per page for 11" x 17" paper. Please ask a librarian for printing instructions.

Q. Do you have wireless access?

A. Yes. Users with wireless devices can access the Internet and the library’s subscription databases, including those for genealogical research.

Q. Can I print from my laptop?

A. Printing from a laptop computer is possible through the library's MobilePrint service or by saving files to a flash drive and printing them from one of the public computers. 

Printing, Photocopying and Digital Copying

Q. What equipment do you have for making photocopies?

A. One photocopier is available for making 8-1/2" x 11" and 11" x 17" prints.

Q. What equipment do you have for making digital copies?

A. The photocopies will make digital copies for saving to a flash drive. The department also has an overhead book scanner that will save to a flash drive or send files to a Dropbox account.

Q. How much do photocopies and print outs cost?

A. Photocopies and prints are self-service and are priced as follows:


Size Black & white Color
Letter (8-1/2" x 11") 15 cents 30 cents
Ledger (11" x 17") 30 cents 60 cents

Prints from microfilm or microfiche (except digital machines)

Letter (8-1/2" x 11") and ledger (11" x 17"): 25¢ per copy

Prints from computer stations and digital microfilm readers

Size Black & white only
Letter (8-1/2" x 11") 10 cents
Ledger (11" x 17") 20 cents

Q. What type of coins or currency should I bring?

A. Quarters or one-dollar bills are recommended. A change machine gives quarters for one-dollar bills. Quarters are needed for the microfilm reader printers. The department is unable to make change for large bills.

Q. Is it possible to print the census on one large page?

A. Both computer printers and microfilm reader/printers can make 11" x 17" copies that will accommodate the full image of a census page (see pricing above). The lens on a microfilm reader may need to be changed for the census image to fit. Please contact a staff member if a change of lens is needed.

Q. Can I make digital copies?

A. Digital copies from the book scanner, photocopier and microfilm reader/printers can be saved on a USB flash drive at no charge. The photocopiers can scan documents and save them in TIF, JPEG and PDF formats. Microfilm readers can scan to TIF and JPEG formats. Files from the computers can also be saved to a flash drive. You may bring a flash drive with you, or the department sells 8GB flash drives for $10. Inquire at the reference desk. Files cannot be emailed from the photocopier or microfilm reader/printers.