Reference Help                                                                                
Librarian at reference desk, ready to help
Ask a Librarian

For help with research projects, finding information, interlibrary loan, or general help,
  • 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.

Research tools you can access online:

Search the collection:  PWPL Online Catalog

Mel (Michigan eLibray):
 What's the best kept secret in online research?  How does one sort through the overabundance of information available online to get answers you can trust?  Mel Gateways at  

Librarians have sifted through and selected reliable websites 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, general education, business, pleasure reading and more.  Access to these databases is paid for by the State of Michigan.  

PWPL Online Tools:  The following online tools are funded by the Peter White Public Library:

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.  
Only available in library building.
Basic ESL:  A tool for learning English as a second language using relevant topics including family, home, and school.  Lessons are desinged for students of over a dozen different native languages.

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.

Novelist:  Great tool for selecting reading material.  Learn more about favorite authors and learn about more authors similar to your favorites.

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.

Foundation Directory Professional:  multiple filters and an assessment tool help non-profits identify their best potential funding sources.  Only available in library building.

Foundation Grants to Individuals Online:  a source for finding foundations willing to fund individual artists, inventors, scholars, and other individual grant-seekers.  Only available in library building.

Zinio:  Download popular magazines with your PWPL library card.

Overdrive:  Check-out and download audio books and e-books with your PWPL library card.

More useful websites:  check out our Web Links page for local resources and general reference tools.

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