Research and Reference Services

"Here open to all is the history of this people." 

Welcome to all researchers exploring Nebraska history!

NSHS Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve. 

 

Using the Reference Room

Library assistants and volunteers are on hand to assist you with your research questions and requests. We strive to make your research efficient, pleasant, and productive. We're happy to give you a brief introduction to our collections, finding aids, and services during your first visit.

Reference Room Rules

  • Patrons are required to register daily at the Reference Desk. 
  • Coat racks and lockers are located to your right as you enter the library.
  • No briefcases, packages, purses or fanny packs may be taken into the room.
  • Pencils only for note-taking. Pencils are available at the desk and on the tables.
  • No food or drink is allowed 
  • Laptop computers are allowed in the Reference Room, but the use of personal scanners and copiers is strictly prohibited. 
  • Photocopy and scanning services (for a fee) are available upon request. 
  • The use of personal cameras is allowed on a LIMITED basis. See our Personal Camera Use Policy for more detailed information.

Requesting Library and Archives Collections

  • Most of the library and archives collections are stored in secure stacks closed to the public. These collections are cataloged and can be located by using the card catalogs and finding aids noted on the map
  • Collections and books can be requested by filling out Call Slips which are located at the Reference Desk.
  • Generally materials requested are retrieved within a very short period of time. However some collections, such as our government records, are stored off site and cannot be retrieved on the same day that they are requested.
  • Weekend reference service is limited and archival and photographic materials which are not on microform cannot be retrieved on Saturdays.
  • Patrons can request retrieval of materials by the Wednesday of the preceding week for use in the Library on Saturday.

Copy Services

  • Photocopy services are available for all but a few oversize or fragile items. 
  • Self-service copy machines for library materials and microfilm are located in the center of the library and change for small bills can be obtained at the Reference Desk.
  • Original manuscripts, public records, photographs, and maps must be copied by staff.
    • Library staff will be happy to explain how to order copies from these collections.
    • Most copies cannot be made immediately upon request, but Copy Orders will be filled as soon as possible depending upon the size of the order and copy staff availability.
  • Patrons may either pick up their order or make arrangements to have the material mailed.

Map of Reference Room

Reference Room Map

Research Services

While we hope that you will be able to visit our Reference Room, we recognize that some research requires access to our materials without traveling to Lincoln. In those cases, we will be happy to check our resources for you, if you submit a specific, written request. Such requests can be submitted by email to: nshs.reference@nebraska.gov; or by mail to: Library/Archives, Nebraska State Historical Society, PO Box 82554, Lincoln, NE, 68501

  • We answer written queries in the order in which they are received.
  • Because of the number of requests - usually numbering several hundred per month - there may be a lengthy delay until we are able to respond. 
  • Once we receive your request, we will let you know within five business days how long we anticipate the research will take.
  • At that point, you might decide that you would prefer to have a private researcher-for-hire assist you.
  • Additionally, most newspapers and some manuscript collections, government records, and county atlases, all on microfilm, are available via interlibrary loan. We will advise you of that possibility when research requests can't be responded to quickly. Information about our interlibrary loan policies/procedures can be found at Interlibrary Loan procedures.

For additional information about any of the services we provide, please contact our Reference Staff at 402-471-4751 or by e-mail: nshs.reference@nebraska.gov

Yearly memberships start at $32

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