Research Resources

Visiting the Library

Research Appointments

Appointments are required to visit and do research in the Grems-Doolittle Library. Researchers must contact the librarian at least one business day in advance to schedule an appointment. Please specify which materials will be accessed and the desired length of the appointment. Appointments will be available Monday-Friday, 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm, and Saturday, 10am-2pm. Contact the librarian at or 518-374-0263 x3.

All SCHS members may use the library at no charge as a benefit of their membership; non-members pay $6 per person, per visit to use the library. Admission must be prepaid; please see the Payment Options section at the bottom of this page.

Research Room Regulations

Researchers must wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose at all times while in the library. Researchers should bring their own masks. Please maintain 6ft. social distancing whenever possible while in the library.

Coats, briefcases, bookbags, parcels, and personal books are not permitted in the research area. Please leave them in the lockers provided in the entrance area. SCHS reserves the right to inspect all research materials and personal articles before the researcher leaves the library. Eating, drinking, and cell phone use are not permitted in the library. Cell phones can be used in the lobby area. Time limits may be placed on the use of the microfilm reader.

Access to Materials

Researchers must specify which materials they plan to use when they contact the librarian to schedule their research appointment. All materials will be retrieved for researchers by library staff. Peruse the Collections & Catalog page for finding aids, guides, indexes, and descriptions of materials in the library collections.

Our collections are intended for use, and are made available to the public. No special permission or letters of introduction are required for use of any library materials, including archives and manuscript collections. Researchers may be limited to using one folder or item at a time for some collections. In accordance with expert recommendations at this time, materials will be quarantined for up to 72 hours after use.

Handling of Materials

Please wash hands before entering the library. Use of hand sanitizer is not allowed while handling materials. All materials will be retrieved for researchers by library staff and volunteers. Please do not reshelve or refile materials; leave all materials on tables for reshelving by staff and volunteers.

All materials must be handled carefully. Use book cradles to support books. For archival items, use only one folder at a time and keep the papers in their existing order. Do not lean or press on archival materials. Do not trace maps or other records. Researchers will be provided with gloves to wear when handling photographs and negatives. No ink of any kind may be used in the research area; use pencils only.

Computers and Internet Access

Researchers are welcome to bring their laptops, tablets, and smartphones for use in their research. Wireless internet access is available. Use of the library’s computers is currently limited to library staff and volunteers.

Photocopying Materials

Library staff and volunteers will photocopy materials on request for a per item fee: $0.25/page for copies, sizes 8.5″ x 11″ (letter) and 8.5″ x 14″ (legal)

Scanning Materials

The librarian will scan collection materials on request for a per item fee (see list below). Researchers who wish to bring their personal scanners must consult with the librarian to confirm that scanning is approved for the intended collection material. Only flatbed and wand scanners will be allowed. Researchers using their own scanners must sign our Agreement for Permission to Photograph Library Collections.

– $5/image for low-resolution (300 dpi) JPG scans of photographs and documents made by SCHS staff
– $10/image for high-resolution (600 dpi) JPG scans made by SCHS staff
– $10/image for TIFF scans made by SCHS staff

The maximum size of scan area for our scanner is 12″ x 17″. Scans are made at a default resolution of 300 dpi. All fees must be prepaid (see Payment Options section at end of page).

To request digital copies of collection materials, please complete the Scanning by Staff Form.

Photographing Materials

Researchers wishing to photograph library collections must sign our Agreement for Permission to Photograph Library Collections. No fees apply for researchers using personal cameras. Photographs must be taken by the researcher without the use of flash or additional lights. Photographing materials must be in accordance with all library policies regarding the handling of library materials.

Permission to Publish and Copyright

Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the library’s collections is coordinated through the librarian. Please contact the librarian for information on obtaining permission to publish images or documents from our collections.

Agreement for Permission to Publish

Research Requests

The librarian will research your questions using the library collections and resources for a fee. Members who join SCHS at the sponsor level, or above, can contact the Librarian to receive one free hour of research each year. There are two types of research questions: “look-ups” and full research requests. Contact the librarian at or 518-374-0263 x3.


$5 for a “look-up,” or research on a single vital record such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records (detailed below).
$25/hour for a full research request or comprehensive research covering all library sources, primary and secondary, including family files, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and historic documents.

Library Policy on Research Requests
Almshouse and Poorhouse Lookup Form

Details on Look-Ups of  Records
Details on Look-Ups of  Records If you find a reference to a specific record or document of interest to you that is described in one of the finding aids on our Collections page, you can request a photocopy of the record for the $5 fee. Please contact 518-374-0263, option 3, or email our Librarian to request a copy of a specific record. Obituary and Marriage Record Look-Ups: The library has transcriptions of obituary and marriage notices from local newspapers for the years 1812-1884 (1812-1877 on microfilm). Almshouse/Poorhouse Record Look-Ups: In 1896, the New York Legislature passed legislation requiring officers of public almshouses and poorhouses to submit an annual census of inmates to the State Board of Charities. At a state conference of Superintendents of the Poor, a committee developed a standard form for reporting information about each inmate. This form was used unchanged until 1905 when the State Board made a few minor revisions. Although the records span the years from 1875 to 1920, there are often gaps of one or more years in the census returns from a particular county. Most records are in the 1900-1919 time period. The Historical Society has a microfilm copy of these records for the poorhouse in Schenectady County, New York. An index to the records can be found here. Naturalization Records: The library has naturalization records from 1809-1929 on microfilm.

Payment Options

Payment for library admission, research requests, and scanning can be made by personal check, by credit card, or through PayPal. Please make checks out to Schenectady County Historical Society and mail to SCHS, 32 Washington Ave, Schenectady, NY 12305. Please contact us at 518-374-0263×5 to pay by credit card over the phone. For PayPal, please use the button below.

Click on the button below to pay for your research request.