Do Research and What to Expect from a Trip to NEWBERRY LIBRARY
                                    Cook County, Illinois


Information contributed for use in Cook County ILGenWeb (from Cook-Co-L mail-list)
        with permission from original submitter

Tips on Going to NEWBERRY LIBRARY in Chicago for Genealogy Research

BEV writes:

 The Newberry  can be intimidating, especially if you don't
 know what to expect.  So, for out-of-towners and anyone else who hasn't been
 there yet I offer the following.

 There are parking garages in the area - but not cheap.  On Saturdays they
 have an "early bird" special in by 10 and out by 6 will cost you $7.50.  The
 minimum rate is $5.50 for the first 1/2 hour.  The library has a deal with a
 lot on Chestnut and will validate your ticket.  This will give you a better
 rate, but is only for 5-6 hours.  I don't have the details on this but a call
 to the Newberry ahead of time will solve that.  There are also a small number
 of parking meters for street parking, but you'll have to run down every
 couple of hours to feed the meter.  You might find public transportation a
 good alternative.  The Newberry can provide the bus routes, if it is not on
 the web site try e-mailing them.

 When you enter the lobby, there is a security desk front and center.  To your
 left is a coat room with lockers.  You will not be allowed to carry in coats,
 bags, briefcases, etc.  Put them in a locker and carry your notebooks,
 computers, etc.  The locker will cost a quarter, which will be returned to
 you when you open it back up.  Go back to the security guard and tell him you
 need an application for a reader's card and sign in for the 2nd and 3rd
 floors.  You will need a photo id to get the reader's card - like a driver's
 licence.  Once he buzzed you through head left to the elevators and go to the
 3rd floor.

 On the third floor, fill out the application and turn it in at the desk.
 They will give you a readers card.  They will also ask for a donation.  This
 is voluntary.  You decide if and how much.  I will only offer that this is
 not a public library and receives no tax support.  It was created out of the
 estate of a wealthy man in the 1880s.

 On the third floor you will find 2 separate catalogs.  You must check them
 both.  The bulk of the collection - items acquired before 1980 - is on the
 traditional paper cards in cabinets.  The computer catalog (available on
 their web site as well) covers acquisitions from 1980 to present.  There are
 a couple of special catalogs to consider.  In the paper catalog area, all the
 way to the end, you'll find a separate card file for city directories,
 vertical files for place and surname, and some indexes to Cook county
 historical and biographical works.  I suggest you write all references in
 your notebook first, before filling out call slips as they will not be
 returned to you.

 Search for your SURNAMES and PLACES - both city and county and even state.
 They have a wide range of material including genealogies, surname society
 newsletters, county histories, "mug" books, etc.

 Now go down to the second floor.  You must check in at the desk with your
 readers card and get a seat assignment.  It will be something like "J-2"
 which is table J seat 2.  You'll see that these are labled on the corners of
 the tables.  Any call slip you submit must have the seat assignment on it.

 CLOSED STACK LIBRARY - For many of you this will be your first encounter with
 a closed stack library.  On the second floor you will find many of the
 how-to, indexes, and genealogical periodicals that are frequently used.
 Everything else is out of public access.  You must fill out a call slip and
 request that it be brought to you.  You may only turn in 3 call slips at a
 time.  The call slip requires your name and address.  I usually bring return
 address lables or a return address stamp to save time and wear on my hands.

 If you stand in the entrance of the room facing the windows, the desk is on
 your right, the tables are ahead, and to your left is the microfilm/fiche
 area.  Head that direction now.  Just before getting to the "Local History"
 desk you'll see census indexes on your left.  Also, there is a rack on the
 wall with research guides or pathfinders.  These have been made up for
 various topics and are extremely helpful.  Some topics are Chicago, Polish,
 Irish, German, Immigration ...  These are also available from their web site.

 COPIES - You may not make any photocopies yourself.  If you find a something
 in a book, etc., you must fill out a request (at the main desk) for copies.
 There are restrictions on the number of pages you may copy (I think 25).
 Then turn in the book with the request.  They will make the copies for you
 and you may pick them up on the 1st floor in the book shop.  Check them
 carefully to make sure that they are legible before paying.  The cost of
 copies is also quite high.  This is to discourage you from making any.

 In order to use microfilm/fiche, you must ask at the LH desk (in that area)
 for a reader.  You will need your seat assignment/reader card - don't ask me
 why.  Once you have your reader, most of the film/fiche is self serve.  You
 get it, you put it back.  Behind the LH desk are cabinets containing census
 and soundex, city directories, and newspapers.

 CENSUS - They have IL census for all available years along with printed
 indexes, and the 1900 and 1920 soundex.  They do not have the 1910 soundex
 --BUT-- they have a finding aid.  You find them in the city directory for
 1910, then you locate that address on a map that they have prepared with the
 enumeration districts marked.  From there you go to the film and ed and
 search for the street and address.  I have found people this way that were
 not in the soundex.

 In addition to IL they have all the states from 1790 to 1850.  After 1850
 they have scattered stuff on other states.  Look in the notebooks on the LH
 desk.  The card catalog might also point to some state censuses (like 1875 NY
 census for Rensselaer Co.).  These are very spotty in coverage and you will
 have to submit a call slip to get them.

 CITY DIRECTORIES - a full run of Chicago on microfilm.

 NEWSPAPERS - Daily News up to 1935, Tribune 1936-early 1970s on microfilm.

 The fiche cabinet has many of the vital records indexes that are also
 available through the LDS.
    Births - Cook Co. - 1871-1916
    Deaths - Cook Co. - 1871-1916
    Deaths - Illinois - 1916-1944

 There are film/fiche printers near the LH desk.  It's 50 cents a page.

 They have city directories from some of the suburbs and even from places like
 Seattle WA.  For these you need to look at the card catalog drawer mentioned
 above on the 3rd floor.

 PHONE BOOKS - They have many fragile, paper, telephone books from the city
 and suburbs.  For availability, check at the main desk where you turn in call
 slips.  They have a notebook of the holdings.

 FOOD, DRINKS, RESTROOMS - There are restrooms on every floor.  On 2 and 3
 they are down the hall - away from the elevators.  There is a visitor lounge
 on the 1st floor.  As you come down the stairs and pass security, it is down
 the hall to your right.  There are restrooms there as well.

 No food or drinks in the library.  There are water fountains on each floor
 near the elevators.  The vistor lounge has pop, candy, and coffee machines
 and tables/chairs.  You should probably bring a lunch if you are making a day
 of it as there are not many places to eat nearby.  If you do, leave it in
 your locker until lunchtime.

 That is obviously not everything there is to know about the Newberry, but
 covers the big stuff.

(MANY thanks to Bev for providing this info)

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