Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Ask a Librarian?
- What kinds of questions are answered by this service?
- Who answers my question?
- When will my question be answered?
- How do I submit a question?
- Can you mail me photocopied material?
- I am researching my family history, can you help me?
1. What is Ask a Librarian?
Ask a Librarian is the Birmingham Public Library's reference service by e-mail. Your query is automatically submitted to a librarian who will typically respond within 48 hours. Whatever the subject of your question, our librarians will find an answer or guide you to other sources of information that will help you.
2. What kinds of questions are answered by this service?
This service is intended to provide brief answers to factual questions, and guidance on how to start your research. For additional information or more in-depth research, please consult your local library.
3. Who answers my question?
The professional staff of the Birmingham Public Library will receive and answer your question.
4. When will my question be answered?
During weekdays, you will typically receive a response to your question within 48 hours. Questions submitted during a weekend may be handled the following Monday and questions submitted during a holiday will be answered the following workday.
If you are working against a deadline, you may get a faster response by visiting or calling your local library.
5. How do I submit a question?
Choose and complete the appropriate Ask a Librarian form and your query will be sent via e-mail to a reference librarian in the appropriate department.
6. Can you mail me photocopied material?
The library will mail photocopies of requested materials on a limited basis. To cover the costs of staff time, equipment, copying, and postage, a non-refundable fee will be charged. Submit your request through one of the Ask A Librarian forms and we will contact you with the total cost.
7. I am researching my family history, can you help me?
The staff of the Southern History Department cannot undertake genealogical research for patrons, but we can usually advise you where to start. You'll find some useful Web sites on the Library's Genealogy page. You may also call the Southern History Department at 226-3665 for more information.
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