FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

These are answers to both our most frequently asked questions and miscellaneous unusual/difficult questions we receive at the Reference Desk. This FAQ will be updated periodically, so please check back for new additions.

Please note that some reference sources mentioned in this FAQ may not be available at every branch. Please check the OPAC or call the branches to determine availability.

How can I find out if your library owns a particular item?
How can I get an item if it is currently checked out?
How can I get an item if your library does not own it?
I need an item ASAP. If you do not own it, where can I go?
Do you carry Federal Government Documents?
How can I find an address/phone number for a business or individual?
How can I research a company?
Can your library give me city directory information over the phone?
I need an obituary from a particular date. Can your library get it for me?
Do you have computers or typewriters for public use?

Q: How can I find out if your library owns a particular item?

A: Check the Online Public Access Catalog for Petersburg Public Library System holdings. The OPAC will indicate if we own an item, which branch has it, and whether or not it is presently available for borrowing.

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Q: How can I get an item if it is currently checked out?

A: As long as the item is not a current bestseller, new video, or reference material, you can request that it be held for you by placing a hold. We will contact you when the item is returned and then hold it for one week.

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Q: I need an item ASAP. If you do not own it, where can I go?

A: Your best choice is probably to go to a larger library. The largest public library in the Richmond/Petersburg metropolitan area is the Richmond Public Library. You may also try local colleges such as Virginia State University or Richard Bland College. Each library has its own policies regarding borrowing privileges so be sure to contact them to determine your eligibility.

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Q: Do you carry Federal Government Documents?

A: No. You may want to try the Virginia State University Library.

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Q: How can I find an address/phone number for a business or individual?

A: If you come into the library, we have several sources for both businesses and individuals:

  • Virginia telephone directories in hardcopy
  • Various business directories

The Internet offers many good sites for this information as well.

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Q: How can I research a company?

A: Depending on the depth of information you need, there are several sources available at the Central Library as well as a few Internet sites you can use. Some sources just list addresses and telephone numbers, others provide varying depths of information.
For publicly-owned companies (those that issue stock):

For privately-owned companies

  • Standard and Poor’s Corporate Directory

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Q: Can your library give me city directory information over the phone?

A: Yes–but only for the Petersburg vicinity and for a specific name, address or telephone number.

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Q: I need an obituary from a particular date. Can your library get it for me?

A: Yes. If you want us to mail it to you, please mail a written request to the Library indicating the person’s name and date of death (if known), and include a self-addressed stamped envelope. If you indicate a date of death, we can check the Petersburg Progress-Index. If you do not have a date of death, we can only check the Progress-Index up to within a few days of the present.

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Q: Do you have computers or typewriters for public use?

A: We do not have typewriters for public use but we do have computers that are equipped with word processing software.

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If you have any questions not covered in this list please contact Webmaster at (804) 733-2387 or e-mail at webmaster@www.ppls.org.