Reference Department


Each of our Branches maintains a reference collection and has professional librarians available to assist you. The eight reference departments in the Mercer County Library System answered 149,767 reference questions in 2015.

Lawrence Headquarters Branch maintains the most extensive collection and provides reference support to the Branches, including e-mail to save patrons the trouble of driving to Lawrence. The Lawrence reference collection has 20,000 volumes and 380 periodical titles in print format. All Branches have full-text access to tens of thousands of periodicals through such databases as EBSCOhost, Facts on File and Lexis-Nexis, many of which are accessible from home with a library card from our Databases page.

Please read our Reference Department Policies for more information.

Highlights of the Mercer County Library’s collection:

For Students: We maintain an excellent collection of timely sources in print format to support students in all grades and subject areas. Students can also access databases from home through our Databases page.

Business Resources: Each branch subscribes to ReferenceUSA, a database that can be used to locate businesses or generate lists based on various criteria. From home or office, patrons can access EBSCOhost's Business Source Elite and search for articles or Company Information. We have books to help you with everything from writing a business plan to incorporating in New Jersey. An invaluable resource is the Lawrence Headquarters vertical file clippings and index, with information from local newspapers and magazines on local businesses. Each branch has access to the indexes of the Lawrence HQ vertical files; please ask at your local branch’s reference desk for more information.

Legal Resources: Reference librarians have access to Lexis-Nexis, from which we can print or e-mail New Jersey and federal law, cases, bills, and articles from tens of thousands of periodicals. We also maintain a collection of legal self-help titles and can provide legal forms from such titles as New Jersey Family Law Practice.

Consumer Information: We subscribe to Consumer Reports Online, available from any of our Branches, and several databases to access articles on consumer products. Lawrence HQ also maintains a Consumer file, and clip-and-copy articles for quick access. Ask at the Lawrence reference desk for more information.

Local History: Lawrence HQ maintains a Jerseyana collection, and each branch has a clippings file of community interest material. Many Branches also have separate “New Jersey” collections consisting of NJ resources on various subjects. The Lawrence Township Historical Collection is housed at the Lawrence Branch (for appointment call Laura Nawrocik: 609-883-8292). The Hopewell Valley Historical Society Collection is housed at the Hopewell Branch Library; for an appointment, please contact Hopewell Branch Reference at 609-737-2610.