Frequently Asked Questions

Access to Our Materials | Genealogy Services | Interlibrary Loan

Access to Our Materials

Can I borrow books?

State agency employees with a State Library card can borrow books from our general collection. Members of the general public are welcome and encouraged to use our materials on site.

Can I access your databases?

State agency employees with a State Library card can access many databases off site. Researchers and genealogists may only use our databases on site.

Can I look at your microfilm?

Anyone can use our microfilm on site. If you can't visit, some of our microfilm may also be borrowed through your local public library.

I am a state agency employee. How do I get a State Library card?

Fill out a library card application (doc) (pdf) and bring it to us or fax it in.

Do you have computers I can use?

Our computers are available for research and state business only. If you'd like to use a computer for personal reasons, visit a county public library in the area.

Genealogy Services

I'm a genealogy researcher and can't visit your library in person. Will you help me in an email, letter, or phone call?

Because of limited staff and time, our priority is helping our on-site researchers. However we're happy to help you in a limited capacity by phone, email, or letter. Just follow the guidelines below:

  • We will help with one question about one specific person (from or living in North Carolina) at a specific time period in a specific county or city.
  • Up to five indexes will be searched per request. Microforms and unindexed books cannot be searched.
  • Include your name, mailing address, and email address.
  • Allow 3-6 weeks for a response to emails and letters.

Will you make copies and mail them to me? How much does it cost?

  • We'll copy up to 15 pages.
  • Minimum charge: $3.00 + 10 cents per page
  • Once we let you know the charge, send us a check or money order (made out to "Department of Cultural Resources") for the full amount along with a business size self-addressed stamped envelope. We'll send you the copies.
  • We may refuse to accept a copying order if there we are concerned that it might violate copyright law.

Can my local library borrow books in your genealogical collection for me through Interlibrary Loan?
Because of their high use on site, we do not loan out our genealogy books.

Can someone search your collection for me to see if you have any information on my family?

Because of limited staff and time, we cannot perform searches like this for our many off-site patrons. Everyone can search our catalog from off site. You might also want to try our North Carolina Family Records Online.

Can you recommend professional genealogists for hire?

We can send you a list if you write or email us. You can also check this roster, from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary loan lets one library borrow a book, article, or other item from another library.

Who can ask us to borrow books for them?

Through ILL, we borrow items for state agency employees looking for work-related materials. Members of the general public who want to borrow our materials should ask about ILL at their local public library.

I'm a state agency employee.

How do I request an item?

Use this online form or fax this print form to (919) 733-5679.

How much does it cost?

We try and find a free lender first. If the lending library charges a fee, we'll ask you before we try to borrow it. Patrons are responsible for replacement costs if the item is damaged or lost in transit.

What can you get for me?

Whatever the lending library is willing to send. This includes books, copies of articles, and microfilm.

How long does it take?

We normally process requests within one business day.  It may take from two to six weeks to receive a response from the lending library. You'll be contacted within one business day of the arrival of the material.

Where do I pick up my item?

You can pick them up at our library, or we can arrange to get it delivered to your office. Copies are scanned and emailed to you.

I want to borrow through my public library.

Do you loan out your books or microfilm through ILL?

Here's what we loan, and to whom:

Type of Item Who can Request through ILL
General Collection All libraries
Government & History Collection North Carolina libraries
Genealogy Collection Books Do not circulate*
Newspapers on Microfilm United States and Canadian libraries
Genealogy Microfilm North Carolina libraries
Copies of Journal Articles All libraries
* Limited photocopying is available. Contact us.

What is your OCLC symbol?

The OCLC symbol for the State Library is NCS.

More questions?

Contact us and ask for Interlibrary Loan.