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Reference Services

Reference service is provided at the Information Desk, which is located on the Marvin K. Peterson Library's entry level, facing you and diagonally to the left as you enter the building. The reference staff assists patrons in the use of print and electronic resources, provide help in finding information on a topic, and can answer questions about library policies, services and facilities.

The reference desk is open the following hours:


8:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.


8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


2:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Please note that our schedule varies during exams, the summer, and holiday breaks. For more information, consult our schedule online.

The Reference Collection

The reference collection includes encyclopedias and dictionaries, biographical sources, guides and manuals, handbooks, directories, indexes and abstracts, atlases, legal materials, and statistical sources. Reference books in great demand, such as the latest edition of the World Almanac, Statistical Abstract of the United States, or the APA Manual of Style are kept near the Information Desk.

Some of the resources in the reference collection, such as the Statistical Abstract, CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, engineering handbooks, and others, are now also available online. For more on our electronic resources, see the next section, below.

All reference books are listed in the library's catalog, with the location shown as "Reference Collection - Entry Level Stacks." Reference books are for in-house use only; therefore they may not be checked out of the library. 

Electronic Resources

Computer workstations available in the library provide access to databases. Some books and journals are also available online from our Library Catalog's "Linked Resources" tab.  Currently registered students, faculty and staff can access many databases remotely through the proxy connection link on our home page. For database descriptions, see our Annotated List of Databases.

Other Resources

Map Collection. Located in the gray metal cabinets near the library entrance, our maps are arranged by geographic area. Many are CIA maps received as part of our federal depository library collection; these are listed in our library catalog and available online from the catalog's "Linked Resources" tab. Several drawers also contain collections of other U.S. government maps (e.g., Census Bureau, Geological Survey, and transportation maps). The National Atlas is also freely available online. This map includes social as well as geographic features. For other geographic information, use our print atlases. For driving directions, try MapQuest or Google Maps.

Annual Reports. Back issues of company annual reports from 1978 to 1998 are kept on microfiche. Current ones can be found on the Internet at individual company websites, and annual financial information can be found by searching the EDGAR database from the SEC or some of our subscription databases. See our Annotated List of Databases for descriptions of these databases and how to access them.

University of New Haven Archives. The Archives contain publications by and about UNH departments and the institution as a whole. The UNH Archives are a great source for items such as faculty publications, faculty senate hearings, photographs of campus events, the UNH school newspaper (from 1928 to the present), yearbooks, honors theses and more. If possible, request archival material in advance. For access to the archives, come to the Information Desk. Material from the archives can be used only in the library. 

Microforms. Many periodicals and newspapers are available on microfilm or microfiche, which are reduced photocopies of journals or newspapers that must be read with special readers. Both film and fiche readers are located in the lower level of the library. For more information, read our info sheet on microforms.

Government Documents. As a partial U.S. Government Depository, the Peterson Library receives over a third of all U.S. government documents, which cover a wide range of topics, including criminal justice, education, federal regulations, nutrition, taxation, terrorism, and more. Many documents are available directly via links in the library catalog. For more information, consult our Government Documents guide.Reference Services

Ask A Librarian. Assistance from a professional librarian is available 24/7 through InfoAnytime's Ask A Librarian online chat service. Share web pages, exchange files and save and print your research results. To access this service, click here.

Online tutorials. Help is available for library catalog and database searching. In addition, there is a virtual reference tour to familiarize you with the library's reference department. Access these tutorials here.

Adaptive Technology. The library has a computer with special equipment for any UNH student, faculty, or staff members who need to magnify text or pictures. The equipment is housed in Room 200.  A UNH ID can reserve the room and equipment ahead of time or on the spot, if the room is not already in use. The computer has a larger screen monitor, large print keyboard, and ZoomText Magnifier/Screen Reader software. A CCTV system is also available to magnify print or images from any physical source (book, notebook, magazine, etc.).

Computers. Within the Information Commons area on the entry level of the library, there are the following computers:

  • 52 PC computers for use by the UNH community for library research and study
  • 2 PCs reserved as print-only workstations
  • 1 PC designated for catalog searching only
  • 6 Macintosh computers
  • 36 laptop computers with printing capabilities are available for checkout at the Circulation desk
  • 2 additional PC computers, one on the library's upper level and one on the lower level; these computers have floppy drives
  • All computers offer the Microsoft Office Suite and Internet access. SPSS is available on library laptops. To log on to a computer, enter your UNH e-mail account name and password.
  • To print, you will need to swipe your UNH ID card at the print management workstation to release your printouts.

Wireless. The entire library is a UNH Wireless zone. In addition, there are network connection boxes on the walls and columns near tables and desks that allow you to plug your laptops directly into the UNH network. They are located on all three floors. All you need is an Ethernet card and network cable to connect your laptop to the campus network.

Interlibrary Loan. Books, periodical articles and audiovisual materials needed for course work and research and not owned by the UNH Library can often be obtained from other libraries for currently enrolled students, faculty and staff of UNH. Requests for Interlibrary Loan can be made at the Information Desk. Online ILL forms are accessible from the link on our home page. Alumni may use our service for a processing fee of $5.00.

Reference Advisory Service. Staff at the Information Desk provide assistance in the use of the library's resources. They answer specific questions, suggest sources for finding information, help you get started on your papers, and show you how to locate books, periodicals and other materials for your research.

Telephone Reference. The Reference Department answers brief calls from patrons requesting information about library services and library holdings, and responds to phone requests for other types of readily available information. Phone (203) 932-7189. 

E-mail Reference. Requests for information may be e-mailed to us at You may also use the e-mail links throughout our web pages.

One-on-One Assistance. Staff at the Information Desk provide brief one-on-one instruction in the use of databases and can suggest which ones to search for information on your topic. For more in-depth instruction, please schedule an individual appointment by stopping at the Information Desk, calling or e-mailing us.

Library Instruction for Groups. Librarians from the Reference Department provide orientations to library resources and research for class groups throughout the year. Faculty can arrange these sessions through the Head of Reference. Contact us at the Information Desk to schedule a class session.

Library Guides. The Reference Department prepares subject, research and style guides, which are available on our home page -- look for the Guides link. Subject guides cover a wide range of topics, such as accounting and taxation, education, engineering, criminal justice, fire science and sports management. Ideas for other library guides are welcome.

Any questions?  Come to the Information Desk, call us at (203) 932-7189, or e-mail us. 

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