Reference Info

We are here to help you answer your questions and to use our print and electronic resources to find the information you need. Librarians can assist you in person, on the phone, and through e-mail.

Ask a Question

The Reference Department is located on the second floor of the library and is staffed during library hours.

The Reference Department can be reached by phone during normal business hours by calling the library at 978.468.5577 ext. 618.

You can email your question to Sarah Lauderdale, Head of the Reference Department by sending your question to It may take up to 48 hours for a response.


Nine computers with access to the library catalog, the Internet, Microsoft Word and Excel are available for public use on the second floor, near the Reference Desk. Click here to read our Computer Use and Internet Policy.  The library also offers wireless access to the Internet on both first and second floors. For more information, please see our Wireless Network Information below.

Electronic Resources

Your library card entitles you to access thousands of full-text magazines and newspaper articles, encyclopedia and reference book excerpts, TV and radio transcripts, e-Book collections, downloadable audio books and fiction guides.  Our Electronic Resources include resources purchased directly by the Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, such as Ancestry Library Edition (available only in the library), Booklist Online, Global Road Warrior, Heritage Quest, Freegal, Hoopla, Flipster, and more.  Other electronic resources are funded by the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC), the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and the Massachusetts Library System.


There are current genealogy books and information in the reference area.  The Dewey Decimal numbers for genealogy books are in the 929’s. We also have pamphlets listing pertinent books and web sites.


The library offers the extensive IN ENGLISH video language learning course: an excellent tool for personal learning and for teaching ESL, regardless of language of origin. DVDs are available through our catalog; PDF workbooks for the DVDs can be downloaded here. Be sure to match the right DVD with the right workbook!

IN ENGLISH Workbook Volume 1, Unit 1
Workbook Volume 1, Unit 2
Workbook Volume 1, Unit 3
Workbook Volume 1, Unit 4
Workbook Volume 2, Unit 5
Workbook Volume 2, Unit 6
Workbook Volume 3, Unit 7
Workbook Volume 3, Unit 8
Workbook Volume 4, Unit 9
Workbook Volume 4, Unit 10
Workbook Volume 5, Unit 11
Workbook Volume 5, Unit 12

Local History

Visit our Local History page for information about the Local History collection at Hamilton-Wenham Public Library.

We have a variety of holdings pertaining to the history of Hamilton, Wenham, and the area around the two towns, as well as other communities in Massachusetts. This includes items that can be checked out, items that must be viewed within the library, and items that can be viewed any time online. The Local History page offers more particulars, but you can also inquire with the reference librarian on the second floor or call 978-468-5577 to find out more.

Magazines and Newspapers

Visit our Magazines and Newspapers page for information about the titles to which our library subscribes.

You may also access articles from the Boston Globe (1980 to present) and thousands of magazine articles via EBSCOHost and InfoTrac, both available through our Electronic Resources page, or register for a Boston Public Library eCard to access electronic newspaper and magazine holdings through the Boston Public Library.


Audio books on CD and Playaways are kept on the low shelving behind the Main Display on the second floor.  Music CDs are kept in spinning racks near the Reference Desk.

Non-Fiction Collection

The non-fiction collection is located on the second floor of the library. These books are organized by subject and shelved by Dewey Decimal number. For example, you can find books on medicine in the 610s.

Biographies are located at the end of the non-fiction collection. These books are organized by the last name of the subjects, or biographies.  They have a call number of “B” followed by the subject’s last name.

Young adult non-fiction books and young adult biographies have a Y designation and are interfiled with our adult non-fiction collection. For example, you will find Y 808.02 HEN (The Young Writer’s Guide to Getting Published by Kathy Henderson) side by side with 808.02 MAG (Getting Published by David Magee). Children’s non-fiction books have a J designation and are on the first floor in the Children’s room.

Oversize books

Hamilton-Wenham’s collection of OV (oversized) nonfiction books is on the second floor, near the microfilm reader and the start of Reference.  OV items may be recognized in the catalog by the OV at the start of their call numbers.  For example, the call number for Medicine: An Illustrated History by Lyons Petrucelli is OV 610 LYO.

Printing and Photocopying

B&W and color printing and photocopying are available at the library.  B&W printing and copying is 20 cents per sheet.  Color printing and copying is 30 cents per sheet.  Payment must be made by cash or check.  If you need any help with the equipment or have special requests (double-sided printing, printing on resume paper, etc.), please ask our library staff.  If you haven’t printed on the second floor before, it is definitely good to ask for help the first time you do so!

Wireless B&W and color printing is available in the library for patrons who register for the service. Please ask staff for assistance printing wirelessly. You can also save your files to a flash drive or other form of personal storage and use one of our public access computers to print.

Visit our Fax, Copiers, Computers, etc. for more information about office equipment at our library.

Reference Collection

Our Reference Collection is located on the second floor of the library. Reference books all have a call number that begins with “R” and a yellow sticker on the spine label that says “Reference”. These books cannot be checked out.  Ask reference for comparable material that can be checked out or may be available online.

Study Rooms

The library has two study rooms on the second floor.  These rooms are available on a first-come first-serve basis and may be used for up to two hours a day. To use a study room, sign in at the reference desk.  If both study rooms are in use, inquire at the reference desk.  It is possible that staff may be able to accommodate you somewhere else.

Tax Information

We are unable to offer our library as a space for tax appointments in 2024 due to a lack of trained volunteers, which is outside of our control but which we regret very much.  We hope that we will be able to offer this service again in 2025.  As tax season approaches, you should be able to use the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Locator to find locations providing tax help, with information about days, times, phone numbers and more. You can also consult this list of Tax Aide Sites created by SeniorCare RSVP Volunteers, which focuses directly on the North Shore.  Make sure to double-check any information about a given location by calling that location directly. 

Reproducible versions of most tax forms can be found at the following web sites.

Visit the Order Forms & Publications page ( to order tax products for direct mailing from the IRS to your home address.

During tax season the library receives print copies of the most common state and federal tax forms, schedules and instructions.  Reference staff can print copies of any form or schedule not in stock at no charge for the first copy and 20 cents per sheet for additional copies.  Instructions are always 20 cents a sheet.

Wireless Network

The library offers wireless “WiFi” access for users with properly equipped laptops.  Please see our Wireless Access Point Policy for more information.