Schenectady's home for history

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 two business days in advance to schedule an appointment and must provide a list of specific items to view during the appointment (e.g. Deed 55, Smith Family File). Appointments are available Monday-Friday, 10am-12pm and 2:30pm-5pm, and Saturday, 10am-2pm. Contact the librarian at or 518-374-0263 x3. A minimum of two business days notice is required to allow time for materials to be prepped for the appointment.

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.

Please visit the Collections and Catalog page for information about the materials in our collection. Please compile a list of specific items to view during the research appointment.

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.

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:

– $0.50/page for black-and-white copies, 8.5″ x 11″ (letter)

– $0.75/page for black-and-white copies, 8.5″ x 14″ (legal)

Copy requests can be made in person or remotely. Completed requests can be picked up in person at 32 Washington Ave. or mailed to the requester (shipping minimum is $5; estimated shipping cost will be provided).

Scanning Materials

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 and must be approved by the librarian prior to use.

The librarian will scan collection materials on request for a per item fee:

– $15/image for low-resolution (300 dpi) JPG, max size of original 12″x17″
– $20/image for high-resolution (600 dpi) JPG, max size of original 12″x17″
– $20/image for low-resolution (300 dpi) TIFF, max size of original 12″x17″
$20/image for low-resolution (300 dpi) JPG, oversized materials: max size of original 30″x36″

All fees must be prepaid (see Payment Options section at end of page).

Photographing Materials

Researchers wishing to photograph library collections using their personal devices must receive permission from the librarian prior to use. 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.


$10 for a “look-up,” or research on a single vital record such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records (single name/fact per source).

$35/hour for a comprehensive research covering all library sources, primary and secondary, including family files, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and historic documents. A minimum of 1 hour must be paid upfront.

Contact the librarian at to submit your research request.

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 $10 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: The SCHS Library has a microfilm copy of the standard inmate census/intake form for reporting information about inmates for the poorhouse in Schenectady County, New York. 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. Search the index: Almshouse Records Index Naturalization Records: The library has naturalization records from 1809-1929 on microfilm.
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