How Do I? Illinois State Library

Ask a Reference Question?
You may call the State Library at 217-782-7596 or email Reference questions may also be submitted to the Ask the Illinois State Library E-mail Reference Service. For a complete listing of our Reference Services, please visit our Reference and Information Services page.

Discover What is Available in the State Library's Collection?
You can search our collection through our online catalog. The State Library's collections include more than 5 million items with strengths in the areas of interest to state government including Illinois State and Federal documents. The State Library also has an extensive map collection with an emphasis on Illinois maps.

Access the State Library's Research Databases?
Access to all of the State Library's licensed research databases is provided in the Reference room located on the second floor of the library. Additionally, many of these databases are accessible from anywhere Internet access is available. However, remote access to these resources is restricted to current Illinois State Government Employees with a valid State Library card, and requires authentication by entering a 14-digit library ID number (located on the back of the library card) and a last name.

Find Out What Services are Available to me as a State Employee?
The State Library is the principal information resource for state government. Reference, circulation and interlibrary loan services are provided to elected officials and state employees.

Get a Library Card?
All persons employed by the State of Illinois may apply for an Illinois State Library Regular Card and, if approved, may borrow directly from the State Library's circulating collections and at any of the other member libraries in the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI). The library card application is available online, or at the Circulation desk. Simply fill out and email the library card application, or print out the application and send it to:
Illinois State Library
Circulation Desk
300 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62701

For more information on obtaining a library card, please call 217-782-7573 or email

Receive Table of Contents Alerts for Journals Available from the State Library?
Several State Library research databases allow Illinois State Government Employees to receive Journal Alerts via email whenever a new issue of a selected journal title is available. These Alerts provide a great way to stay abreast of newly published scholarly materials and receive tables of contents for the latest issues of your favorite journals. Direct links to the actual full text of articles (if available) can also be embedded in the body of the email message.

One of the more popular research databases that feature email Journal Alerts is EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier, a multi-disciplinary database that contains indexing and abstracts for more than 8,300 journals, with full text for more than 4,500 of those titles. To learn how to create and receive Table of Contents email alerts from Academic Search Premier and other subscribed EBSCOhost databases, simply follow these detailed instructions (requires Adobe Reader) or watch the brief video tutorial (requires Flash Player).