Holiday Closing: All branches will be closed on Sunday, May 29, and Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. eBooks, eAudio, and eMagazines available 24/7!


Research Tools A-Z

The following are research tools that the Library provides. To access them, you will need your 14-digit library barcode or to be in a library branch. Click on the title to go straight to the research tool, or click on "More about this research tool" to read specific information about what the research tool offers. Troubleshoot connection problems with our handy guide.
If you do not have a library card, you can request one and gain access to research tools here.

To see the research tools ordered by category, click here.

To see a PDF that you can save and print out, click here.


Available for genealogy research at all library locations.  Use either Firefox or Chrome as your browser, as Ancestry is no longer supported in the Internet Explorer browser. Not available remotely.

Biography In Context

Search for people by name, birth or death year, nationality, ethnicity, occupation or gender.

Birds of North America

View image and video galleries showing behaviors, habitat, nests, eggs and nestlings, and listen to recordings of bird songs and calls.

Books and Authors

A customizable, rich experience to answer that age-old question of “What do I read next?”   Fiction and nonfiction recommendations.

Business Insights: Essentials

Includes industry news, company profiles, brand information, rankings, investment reports, company histories, chronologies and periodicals.

CQ Researcher

In-depth exploration of  hot issues in the news, updated each week. Topics include social and teen issues, environment, health, education, and science & technology.

Consumer Reports

Product reviews and ratings on cars, appliances, electronics, and more.  Not available remotely.  Please see a librarian to log in.  


Content from current magazines and newspapers, pictures, maps, and TV & radio transcripts. (Provided by Find It Virginia)

Britannica Online Ref. Center

The classic encyclopedia, plus Internet Guide, Merriam Webster Dictionary & Thesaurus, video and media collection, World Atlas, Year in Review, and Timeline.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Spanish)

 En espanol, Spanish-language articles.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Kids

Kids can search or browse arts, geography, language arts, mathematics, religion, science, social studies, sports. The Student Center includes How to Write a Research Paper and more.


Find lists of the most popular series by character, location, subject, author, or title.

Foundation Center

Comprehensive information for grant seekers on over 120,000 foundations and corporate donors.  Updated weekly. Available at Headquarters. Not available remotely.


Free Lance-Star

Full-color, page-by-page scanned images of the newspaper from late 2008 to the present.  Not available remotely.

Gale Virtual Reference Library (eBooks)

Specialized reference sources covering the arts, biography, business, the environment, history, popular culture, the nation and world, and science. Mobile app available.

General OneFile

Articles from general, specialized, and professional newspapers and periodicals, many with full text and images. Includes Fodor’s travel guides, NPR programs, and full text of the New York Times from 1985 to the present. Updated daily. (Provided by Find It Virginia)

Grants Connection

Profiles on nearly 1,000 private, corporate, and community foundations in Virginia.  Available for use in the Headquarters library and at England Run, Porter and Salem Church branches. Please ask a librarian for assistance. Not available remotely.

Information for individual grant seekers, primarily to fund education or to support artistic or research projects.  Available at Headquarters. Not available remotely.

Health & Wellness Resource Center

Articles from health and fitness magazines and scholarly medical journals, medical dictionary and encyclopedias, health organization directory, drug and herb finder, alternative health resources, and health assessment tools.


Live tutors available 2:00 - 11:00 pm daily  to assist learners in most subjects at all ages: grades K-12, college students, and adults in English and Spanish.  Also includes resources 24/7 that provide test preparation for students and adults (SAT, ACT and standardized state tests, citizenship tests, computer literacy, and GED). Mobile app available. 

Infotrac Newsstand

Search a collection of more than 1,000 newspapers, translate articles into 11 different languages, and create email alerts.

Infotrac Student Edition

Designed for high school students, with a variety of indexed and full-text magazines, newspapers and reference books for information on current events, the arts, science, popular culture, health, people, government, history, sports, and more. (Provided by Find It Virginia)



Live coaches [available 2:00-11:00 pm daily] help users strategically target jobs best suited to their interests and qualifications, work on interview skills, and craft effective résumés and cover letters. Includes 24/7 access to a carefully selected library of job resources.


Academic journal articles covering most disciplines, including arts, history, humanities, science, medicine, and law. 

Kids InfoBits

Highly visual, guided research tools for students in kindergarten through grade 5. (Provided by Find It Virginia)

Over 3 million full-text entries in subjects such as health, history, literature, languages, technology, and science.  Includes over 500,000 images, audio and video clips.  Homework Help includes live tutoring in math, reading & writing for grades 3-12. Click on the "Homework Help" tab at the far right of your screen, Monday –Thursday 3 to 9pm; Saturday 9am-3pm. (Provided by Find It Virginia)

Biographical/critical introductions, listings of principal works, and sources for further study on contemporary authors.

Literature Resource Center

Biographies, lists of authors' works, and critical analyses of authors from every age and literary discipline. Search by author name, title, genre, literary movement or literary themes.

Mango Languages

An online language learning system that can help you learn languages such as French, Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Greek, Italian, Russian, and many more. Mobile app available. 

 Morningstar Investment Research Center

Research, data, and analysis for investors.  Includes many portfolio tools to calculate asset mixes, retirement costs, college savings, etc. Mobile app available. 

National Geographic Kids

Access to the National Geographic Kids magazine (from 2009 to present), more than 200 National Geographic Kids books, and hundreds of downloadable images. (Provided by Find It Virginia)

Natural Medicines

High-quality, evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies from health care providers and researchers. Mobile app available. 


Business, residential, and market research data for entrepreneurs, businesses, students, job-seekers or anyone wanting access to information on tens of millions of businesses and hundreds of millions of consumers. Mobile app available. 

Research in Context

Designed for students in junior high and middle school.  Magazines, newspapers and reference books (most are full-text) with information on current events, the arts, science, popular culture, health, people, government, history, sports and more. (Provided by Find It Virginia)

Salem Health

Online access to award-winning health reference work, Magill’s Medical Guide.

Sanborn Maps

Detailed historical property and land-use records for Virginia.

Testing & Education Reference Center

Information on colleges, technical schools and executive programs. Find application forms, identify scholarships. Use test-prep eBooks. Practice ASVAB, GED, SAT, AP, CLEP, GRE, PRAXIS, TOEFL, U.S. Citizenship, Civil Service, EMS, firefighter, real estate and many more exams.

Available for legal research at all branches.  Includes cases, statutes, regulations, forms, trial documents and transcripts, and the Virginia Practice Series.  Not available remotely.

Value Line - Expanded Library Edition

Weekly online presentation of Value Line's Investment Survey.  Analyst commentaries and rankings on current operations and future prospects for thousands of large, small, and mid-cap companies.

World Vital Records

Billions of family history and genealogy records, and millions of family trees.  Complete U.S. Federal Census images and indexes from 1790 to 1940; military records; enhanced Social Security Death Index (SSDI) records; unique local and international collections.