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Reference Center

Newark Public Library
2nd Floor, Main Library
5 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 733-7779 or
(973) 733-7820
fax: (973) 733-5648
Text messaging reference service: 201-563-1034

CDL number for New Jersey librarians: 1539

African-American Studies
Patents and Trademarks
U.S. Government Publications
Periodicals and Indexes

The Reference Center provides information about all subjects, including antiques, architecture, biography, business, career information, composers and composing, dance, economics, education, entertainment, fine art and artists, genealogy, geography, government, graphic arts, history, languages, literature, the music business, music history and theory, mythology, philosophy, psychology, pure and applied sciences--including astronomy, automotive repair, biology, chemistry, health and medicine, home improvement, and mathematics—religion, social sciences, sports, technology and travel.

This division serves as the statewide reference center for libraries researching art, business, music, patents and trademarks, and U.S. government documents questions.

Separate from the Reference Center is the Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center, which collects books, manuscripts, dissertations, photographs, maps, albums, newspapers and other serial publications, directories, census records, genealogies, audiovisual media, realia, and other materials about New Jersey.

The Newark Public Library is a New Jersey State Documents Depository. Indexes to the collections are created by staff to answer questions of all kinds about Newark, Essex County, and New Jersey. The librarians’ web guides for Newark and for New Jersey provide links to useful Internet resources. Archival and contemporary, scholarly and popular, the Center serves as an information hub for librarians statewide.

The Library is designated as both a Patent and Trademark Resource Center and a Regional Depository for U.S. Government Publications. Provided are:

  • Patents and Trademarks: Information about the Patent and Trademark Collection, search guides, and links to the Patent and Trademark Office.
  • U.S. Government Publications: Information on the extensive Newark Public Library Regional Depository Collection and links to Internet sites from the federal government.

Significant print collections include:

African-American Studies:
The Reference Center collection offers materials about the biographical and historical aspects of the African-American experience. Available for consultation are:

  • African American Culture and History
  • Black Biographical Dictionaries 1790-1950
  • Blacks in Selected Newspapers Censuses and Other Sources: An Index to Names and Subjects
  • Contemporary Black Biography
  • Encyclopedia Africana
  • Index to Black Periodicals
  • Kaiser Index to Black Resources
  • The Schomburg Clipping File

Please refer also to the web guide for African-American topics.

Art resources devoted to all time periods and places include auction and exhibit records, catalogues raisonnées, histories, biography, and criticism. The art information files feature exhibition catalogs, biographical clippings, and pamphlets. Among the significant titles in the extensive reference collection are:

  • Allgemeines Kunstler Lexicon
  • Art in Latin America
  • Benezit's Dictionary of Artists
  • Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide
  • Grove's The Dictionary of Art

Please refer also to the web guide for art topics.

The Reference center provides a wealth of biographical materials, including (but not limited to) nearly all of the volumes indexed in all editions of the Biography and Genealogy Master Index—a guide to biographical sketches in books and magazines.

Please refer also to the web guide for biographical information.

The business collection encompasses current and historical materials of value to the entrepreneur, the stock holder, and the business researcher. Among the most noteworthy sources are:

  • Capital Changes Reporter, with financial history of securities.
  • Financial Stock Guide Service, with current listings of active and worthless securities.

Some of our subscription Electronic Resources (for more databases see:

  • Hoovers contains comprehensive information about public, private, and international companies, people, various industries, and business news.
  • ReferenceUSA has information on over 13 million U.S. businesses
  • Standard and Poor's Net Advantage includes a "Register of Corporations, Executives, and Directors." It also has price records for stocks, dividends, and mutual funds.

Retrospective Business Collections include:

  • Annual reports
  • Retrospective microfiche collection, 1961-1994 for selected companies on the New York and American Exchanges
  • Moody's Manuals, on microfiche and bound:
    • Banking and Finance, 1928-2013
    • Industrial, 1920-2013
    • International, 1981-2000
    • Municipal and Government, 1918-2011
    • OTC, 1970-2002
    • Public Utility, 1914-2013
    • Transportation (formerly Railroad Manual), 1909-2000
    • Unlisted OTC, 1986-2002
  • National Stock Summary, 1922-January 1994
  • Semi-Annual Stock Summary, January 1994-June 2005
  • New Jersey Industrial Directories, 1913-present
  • Scudder and Fisher Manual of Extinct or Worthless Securities, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1937-1976
  • Standard and Poor's Daily Stock Price Record: American (from 1972-2011), New York (from 1961-2011), and OTC (from 1968-2011).
  • Standard and Poor's Dividend Record, 1956-2011 (Also Moody's/Mergent Dividend Record, 1980-2013)
  • Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, 1912-2005
  • Wall Street Journal microfilm, 1899-present

Please refer also to the web guide for business topics.

The literature section specializes in literary criticism for the traditional canon, as well as for the literature of diverse populations; the holdings are particularly strong for African-American authors. Also of note in the reference collection are the over 200 books of quotations and the 2,000 poetry anthologies. The anthologies represent most of the books indexed in all the editions of the Columbia-Granger Index to Poetry. Circulating materials supplement this vast collection, and several databases further enhance research.

Please refer also to the web guide for literature topics.

For patrons looking for the words and music to songs, the Library offers, in addition to the traditional sources, its own "Song Index" to over 200,000 songs in the reference collection. Also in the circulating and reference collections are music scores for classical, folk, jazz, opera, and popular works, as well as librettos for operas and operettas. Available for loan are over 6,000 compact discs. The reference collection boasts such sources as: Contemporary Musicians, The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, and The Grove Encyclopedia of Music and Musicians.

Please refer also to the web guide for music information.

Patents and Trademarks:
The Library is a designated U.S. Patent and Trademark Resource Center. Full text of utility patents from 1790 to the present are available. Design patents from 1908 to the present are also available. The collection also includes plant patents, the Official Gazette, the weekly announcement of new patents and trademarks, and a core collection of reference materials provided by the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Program. Librarians assist searchers with the Classification and Search Support Information System database (CASSIS) on CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs.

Please refer also to the web guides for patents, trademarks, and copyright.

U.S. Government Publications:
As the Regional Depository for United States Government Publications, The Newark Public Library's collection of these materials now numbers well over two million items: reports, hearings, federal laws and regulations, Supreme Court decisions, treaties, and other popular and scholarly documents. The collection includes finding aids to this significant body of information. Records of items published since 1976 are in the Library's online catalog.

Please refer also to the web guide for U.S. government publications.

Periodicals and Indexes:
The Library houses more than 1,000 popular and scholarly journals and newspapers, including significant nineteenth century American and British serials. Just a few noteworthy titles are:

  • The Afro-American, from its 1893 inception to date
  • American Statistics Index
  • Book Review Digest
  • Book Review Index
  • Cartoonists Profiles Index
  • CIS Annual Index
  • CQ Researcher
  • Education Index
  • Essay and General Literature Index
  • Facts on File
  • General Science Index
  • Humanities Index
  • New Jersey Architecture Index
  • The New York Amsterdam News, from its 1962 inception to date
  • The New York Times and its Index, from its 1851 inception to date (microfilm and database)
  • Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, including the Nineteenth Century volumes
  • Short Story Index
  • Social Sciences Index
  • Wall Street Journal from 1899 to date, its Index from 1958
  • The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900

Please refer also to the web guide for periodicals.

View the list of electronic resources to which the Reference Center subscribes.


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The Newark Public Library
5 Washington Street
P.O. Box 630 Newark, NJ 07101-0630