We highly recommend you utilize your nearest public library's collections and services! Check out Eric Klinenberg's Palaces for the People (Crown, 2018) for a recent argument in support of public libraries and other social infrastructure. By using your library, you'll be saving money, building community, and showing support for a public resource that is absolutely life-changing for many Americans.
Aside from print books and magazines, public libraries commonly offer access to:
If you want access to a broader range of scholarly databases and books, or have specialized research needs, you may need to look to academic libraries. Below are a few types and how you might gain access. Feel free to consult us for more guidance.
Museum libraries and other specialized libraries/archives will often open their doors to those with an articulated research need. In most cases, you must make an appointment beforehand.
How can you find out these libraries exist? Well, most museum websites have a well-hidden library page with info. Or you can try searching the website. Another trick is to search Worldcat.org, which collects many library catalogs in one place. If you're searching for a book, it uses your location to tell you where the nearest copies of that item are found. If you're in New York looking for an exhibition catalogue, you will likely see it at the Whitney, the Met, and MoMA as well as local colleges and public libraries.