Reference

We take pride in making our holdings available in as comfortable and welcoming a manner as possible. We cannot provide substantive responses to mail or email reference requests, and only a fraction of our materials are available online. Therefore, most researchers will need to visit the Victor H. and Margaret G. Schiro Reading Room, located on the 2nd floor of Jones Hall on the Tulane University uptown campus.

Before visiting our reading room, please do the following.

  1. Review our reading room guidelines. You should be familiar with our guidelines before you arrive.
  2. Search our online discovery tools to identify items relevant to your project. You will find a “search box” on the upper left corner of our homepage. Note that there are separate searches for “Catalog,” “Archives,” “Digital Collections,” and “Ephemera.”
  • Select “Catalog” to search mainly books and other printed materials, but also all holdings with a formal catalog record. When you find items you would like to see, record the call number and bring it with you.
  • Select “Archives” to search guides to archival collections. When you find items you would like to see,record the collection and box numbers and bring them with you. If, at the top of the page, the collection description says “Offsite Repository,” then email your collection numbers and box numbers to our Public Services Librarian and we will normally have the collection retrieved for you within two business days.
  • Select “Digital Collections” to view images from our online holdings.
  • Select “Ephemera” to search LaRC’s collection of pamphlets, brochures, menus, programs, and other small printed items. When you find items you would like to see, record the file folder titles and bring them with you.

Therefore, you have “homework” to complete before you visit us. When you arrive, you should already be familiar with our reading room policies and you should bring with you citations for the materials you wish to see.

When you visit, the reading room supervisor will review our guidelines with you and ask you to place your belongings in a locker. We will then review the citations that you have brought with you and be happy to discuss additional ways to search our holdings.

Please note that we provide an easy-to-use self-service scanner from which you can email scans directly to yourself or save them to a flash drive. If you plan to create many scans, then we recommend that you bring a flash drive.

“I may not be able to visit in person. Can LaRC staff do my research for me?”

No. There is a difference between reference and research; we will not do research for patrons. Research, writing, and publishing are all part of the larger research process. Researchers must take responsibility for doing their own research and drawing their own conclusions from their research. If researchers reached conclusions and published based on research that we did for them, then that, under some circumstances, could be perceived as taking improper advantage of others’ work or could implicate our department in a form of plagiarism.

Therefore, while we will do everything we can to direct you to useful resources within our holdings, we will not choose, select, read, translate, or interpret our holdings for you. It may be helpful to contact an academic department at Tulane related to your area of research. They often will know of graduate students willing to do research-for-hire.

"Do you have genealogical information?”

Unlike public libraries, LaRC is not a genealogical research center. We do not acquire non-Louisiana genealogical materials and do not have a genealogist on staff. Genealogists doing local research should first contact the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans Public Library and the Special Collections Room of the West Bank Regional Library. After exhausting those libraries’ resources, genealogists should search our catalog and our online archival finding aids database. We preserve materials pertaining to many Louisiana families, so if you find a reference to the family you are researching, you are welcome to make an onsite visit to use the collection. Be sure to bring with you the collection numbers and box numbers you would like to use during your visit.

You may also wish to hire a professional genealogist. Local genealogical societies, such as the Genealogical Research Society of New Orleans and the Jefferson Genealogical Society, will often maintain lists of professional genealogists in the New Orleans area.