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Online Library Resources


Online resources for finding books, articles, useful websites, and helpful information.
This site is reviewed and updated monthly by our staff. Please contact us for suggestions or assistance finding additional resources.

Illinois State Library Services


The Illinois State Library provides you with services directly, through us, and in cooperation with other agencies.

  • Ask?Away Illinois: Librarians are online 24/7 to answer questions and help you find information.

  • FirstSearch: (Login required.) Through local libraries, the State Library provides most Illinois residents with access to archives of magazine articles and other research information. See our Online Library pages for access to specific resources.

  • Talking Book and Braille Service: Provides audiobooks and Braille texts to residents who are blind, visually handicapped, or have other physical limitations or a reading disability.

  • Find-It! Illinois: A portal for the State Library's online services, including the Illinois Government Information search engine, Illinois Digital Archives and Digital Illinois collections, Illinois Center for the Book/Illinois Authors, and more.

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Website Guides


These sites are local, state, and other useful websites that have been chosen by your librarians.


These sites are directories of websites which have been selected and recommended by librarians. They are excellent starting points when you need good information about almost anything.


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Consumer Help


Find product and auto reviews, shopping tips, information about recalls, and consumer-protection agencies.


Buying Guides & General Advice


  • Consumer Reports: A lot of free and useful information is available, but a paid subscription is required for product reviews and ratings.

  • ConsumerSearch: "Reviewing the reviews." Compiles and analyzes product reviews from magazines and websites. Great starting point.


Cars & Trucks


  • Car & Driver: Includes the magazine's road tests and reviews, interactive vehicle comparisons, and Kelley Blue Book values.

  • Reviews, comparisons, price and value information, and tips for buying new or used vehicles.

  • The Truth About Cars: Detailed reviews, written with a sense of humor.


Consumer Protection & Complaints


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Health Information


Reputable sources for information about health and medicine. (Items marked with ** require your library card number and catalog PIN for access from home.)

  • MedlinePlus: A medical super-site from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Includes extensive information and links on hundreds of conditions and health issues, drug descriptions, a medical encyclopedia, surgery videos, and more.

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' guide to health information.

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Illinois & Local History


Online documents, photos, articles, and other information about the history of Illinois and the local area.

  • Illinois Digital Archives: A portal to online exhibits and collections from libraries and museums across the state. A project of the Illinois State Library. Additional online collections are searchable through the Digital Illinois catalog.

  • Illinois History Resource Page: Dozens of links, compiled by the Illinois State Historical Society.

  • Cyndi's List - Illinois: Directory of genealogy and history websites. Also includes links for specific Illinois localities.

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Magazine & News Articles


Online archives and search engines for finding articles from magazines and newspapers.

(Items marked with ** require your library card number and catalog PIN for access from home.)


  • ArticleFirst via FirstSearch **: Index of articles from magazines and journals. For most publications, libraries which own them are listed.

  • BNET Research Center: (Formerly called Index of magazine articles which doesn't require a login. Many articles are available online for free, but "premium" articles carry a pricetag. Subjects covered include: arts, autos, business, health, home and garden, news, sports, and technology.

  • Google News: Search for articles from newspaper, TV news, newswires, and other reporting websites.

  • Topix: Find local news published on websites and blogs.

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Find Facts Fast

Encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, statistics, and other sites for quickly looking up facts.

(Items marked with ** require your library card number and catalog PIN for access from home.)


  • WorldAlmanac via FirstSearch **: Includes Funk & Wagnall's New Encylopedia, the World Almanac and Book of Facts, the World Almanac of the U.S.A., the World Almanac of U.S. Politics, and the World Almanac for Kids.

  • Information Please Almanac, atlases, and more.

  • Wikipedia: "The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit."

  • OneLook Dictionary Search: Look up words in almost 1000 online dictionaries at the same time.

  • World Factbook: The CIA's book of country profiles.

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Library Catalogs & Libraries


If you have a Library Card, we'll borrow items from other libraries for you! Delivery from most Illinois libraries is free.  (Items marked with ** require your library card number and catalog PIN for access from home.)


  • PrairieCat: Catalog for approximately 200 libraries in northern Illinois and eastern Iowa.

  • WorldCat via FirstSearch **: A catalog of more than a billion items in libraries worldwide.

  • An alternate way to search most of the WorldCat catalog, with no login required.

  • Every Library in ILLINET (ELI): Directory of hundreds of Illinois libraries, with links to many libraries' websites and catalogs.

  • Digital Illinois: Catalog of electronic collections of documents, photographs, etc., made available online by Illinois libraries.

  • Open-Access Text Archive: Thousands of public-domain books and other free books, for online viewing or downloading in plain text or scanned formats. Part of the Internet Archive site.

  • Library of Congress Digital Collections: A large number of pamphlets, letters, historic documents, pictures, early films and recordings, and other items are available online.

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