Ask a Librarian

For help with research projects, searching the collections, interlibrary loan, genealogy, or using equipment, library apps or other online tools,

  • visit the Reference Desk on the upper level of the library,
  • e-mail the Reference Staff and someone will respond as soon as possible,
  • call the Reference Desk during normal Library hours at 906-226-4311
  • attend a Reference Department Program.
Research tools you can access online:
Search the collection:  PWPL Online Catalog
Mel (Michigan eLibray): (New database selection starting October 1, 2018.) Librarians have selected and purchased subscription databases that provide fulltext access to the print materials.  Over 30 subscription research databases are available through the portal on your home computer within Michigan.  Topics cover health, academic subjects, car maintenance, professional development, general education, business, pleasure reading and more.  Access to these databases is paid for by the State of Michigan.
Ancestry Library Edition:  Approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. Federal Census images and indexes from 1790 to 1930; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes); Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes); The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630; Social Security Death Index (updated monthly); WWI Draft Registration Cards; Federal Slave Narratives, and a strong Civil War collection.  Available on site only.
Detroit Free Press Access is available on three computer stations in the Reference Department on the upper level.  Print editions are no longer delivered to this area.
Mango Languages: Learn new languages (over sixty available) and connect with new cultures.  Can be accessed anywhere online by PWPL patrons with a library card.
Magill's Literary Annuals:  Resource for students of literature and readers interested in learning more about a particular work or author.  Can be accessed anywhere online by PWPL patrons with a library card.
Merck Manuals have long been trusted print resources for health information.  The online versions are provided free to our patrons with our paid print subscriptions:  Merck Manuals, Merck Veterinary Manual
Michigan Legal Help Center:  The Michigan Legal Help website was created to help people who have to handle simple civil legal problems without a lawyer. There are articles you can read to learn about a specific area of the law and toolkits to help you prepare to represent yourself in court.
Musescore: Website for sharing and finding open-source sheet music
Novelist Plus:  Great tool for selecting reading material.  Learn more about favorite authors and learn about more authors similar to your favorites.
Overdrive:  Check-out and download audio books and e-books from the Great Lakes Digital Library with your PWPL library card.  (Use the Libby App to access downloaded library materials on your smart phone or tablet.)
RBdigital:  Download popular magazines with your PWPL library card (formerly Zinio).
Sanborn Maps: provides digital access to 1793 large-scale maps of 339 Michigan towns and cities, including Lansing, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and nine maps of the City of Marquette as it grew between 1884 and 1946.  Can be accessed anywhere online by PWPL patrons with a library card.


Research Stations and Other Equipment

free wifi
adaptive technology
Micro-film readers
Public internet access computers
Designated station for Legal Help database searching

Reference Department Programs

Genealogy lock-ins: held in April and October, cover special topics and a fun opportunity to work side by side with other genealogy enthusiasts.
One-on-one computer lessons:  sessions are available several times a week.  Call 906/226-4312 to schedule a mutually suitable hour to work at your own pace with a member of the reference staff.
Computer Coaching:  Held Monday afternoons at 3:00 in the Computer Lab. Check the events calendar for upcoming topics or contact the reference desk, 226-4312, if you have questions.