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Tips for Your Visit to the WPGS Library

If you're coming to Pittsburgh to research in the WPGS Library, these tips will help you make the most of your visit.

Before Your Visit

  • Come prepared with a list of books you would like to see. Simply use both the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) online catalogs before you leave home. Why? The WPGS Library and the CLP Pennsylvania Department collections are distinct even though they are housed in the same room at the CLP Main Library. They have separate online catalogs and use different shelf numbering systems. There is minimal overlap, so check both. If you don't have a specific title or author in mind, use a keyword search. Try different combinations of words including geographic locations and records types.

  • Come prepared with a list of other WPGS sources you would like to use.

  • Come prepared with written notes about your family of interest. Family group sheets are fine. In the excitement of the search, it's easy to forget a date or name.

At the Library

  • Please realize that WPGS Help Desk volunteers are available only during limited hours (current hours are listed in the sidebar to the left); however, patrons can access the shelved WPGS books on their own at any time. Books belonging to the WPGS collection are shelved together and have pink dots on the spine. The Pa. Department shelf can assist you with locating resources in the CLP collection.

  • Remember that WPGS microfilm can be used only while a WPGS volunteer is on duty. You will be asked to provide and temporarily surrender a photo ID in order to use WPGS microfilm.

  • Pa. Dept. photocopy machines for printed matter take coins or $1 bills. Copies are 15 cents each. Copies from microfilm printers are 30 cents each, and take DIMES ONLY. A change dispenser is available to convert small bills to dimes, but if it's out of order, please realize that library staff cannot provide change.

  • It might seem obvious, but for the record...library rules prohibit snacking and cell phone use in the entire Pa. Dept. For safety reasons, do not string power cords (for laptops or whatever) across walkways. Work tables in the Pa. Dept. do NOT have built-in power outlets. Outlets can be found on the floor near the microfilm reader tables.

  • A coffee shop is located on the first floor of the library. A small cafeteria and vending machine area is in the library basement. Several restaurants are located on South Craig Street within a block of the Carnegie Library & Museum complex. Some restaurants may be closed on Sundays.

�2008 Debbie Kapp