Special Services and Reference


Audio / Visual Materials and Equipment:

The Library has a collection of books in CD and downloadable format for both Adult and Children's audiences. Read by professional actors and actresses, the audio books are in unabridged format.  The collection also includes languages and other nonfiction titles.


The Library also has music compact discs and DVD's (standard and Blu Ray) in the Adult and Children’s movie collections. DVD's and Blu Ray’s are checked out for seven days and can be renewed once. 


Listening stations are available for all formats. Headphones must be used and are available for purchase at the Circulation Desk for a nominal fee. 



Besides a collection of circulating and reference books on art of all kinds, the Library also has works of art by local and regional artists. The Library owns two Grant Wood paintings, The Appraisal and Victorian Survival which are on loan to the Dubuque Museum of Art.  Support of the art work in the Library is made possible by the Lull Art Fund.


Books and DVD's To Go:

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, this program offers current best sellers and newly released movies, as an option to reserving popular titles.  Books, DVDs and Blu Rays-to-Go operate on a first-come, first-served basis.  Materials are checked out for one week only; they may not be reserved or set aside and they carry a higher fine for delinquent returns.  Older titles that have been withdrawn may be offered for sale.


Business Information:

Information about specific companies and industries can be found in business directories in the Library.  Resources also include a wide variety of print material and online databases. Patrons are also able to locate information about stocks from Value Line, and on mutual funds from Morning Star.


Circulation Policy:

See the Circulation Policy on Library Policies.


Copy Services:

The Library has three self-service photocopiers. The cost per page for black and white is $.10; the charge to have staff photocopy is $3.00 for the first page and $1.00 for each additional page.

For color copies, the cost per page is $.50 for 8-1/2x11" and $1.00 for 11x14".

The Library has microfilm reader-printers which cost between $.10 and $.25 per copy.


Extension Services:

Bulk loans of materials selected by the Library staff are available for senior centers, nursing homes, and other institutions that serve adults unable to visit the Library.  Please call the Library and ask for the Extension coordinator at (563)589-4225.



Patrons can send and receive faxes at the Library. The public fax number is (563) 589-

4306. Fees charged are as follows:  incoming or outgoing local or 800 numbers $1.00/page; incoming or outgoing long distance numbers $2.00 for the first page, $1.00/page thereafter.


Fine and Fees Schedule:

See the Fine and Fees Schedule on Library Policies.


Foreign Language Collection:

This small, but growing, collection of foreign language books includes Arabic, Bulgarian,

Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. 


The Youth Services Department collection offers a small number of foreign language books in several languages as well.  There are also a small number of book/compact disc kits, and DVDs to familiarize users with these languages. 



The Library maintains a genealogical reference collection with these notable resources:


1.  Locally produced indexes include an obituary index listing the location of obituaries published in local newspapers from the 1860s to the present. The obituary index also contains cards of the Dubuque County Cemetery Index compiled by the Dubuque County Historical Society giving the location of persons buried in Dubuque County Cemeteries, excluding Linwood, Mount Calvary, and Mount Olivet.  Also available are microfilm copies of Dubuque newspapers, including the Telegraph Herald.

2.  U.S. Federal Census covers the years 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 for Dubuque and surrounding Iowa counties. Also, the Library has the Iowa State Census for 1856, 1885, 1895, 1915, and 1925 for Dubuque County only.

3.  The Passenger and Immigration List Index and supplements lists applications for immigration or naturalization and their cities for the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.


4.  Germans to America; Lists of Passengers arriving at U.S. ports, 1850 source of German-surname immigrants. Ships that departed from German ports or carried passengers who declared themselves to be of German origin are included.

Government Documents:

The Library is a selective depository for Iowa and local government documents and includes bound volumes of past years of City Council proceedings. For Federal and State documents not available at the Library, the interlibrary loan service is available.

It is also an official depository for selective Environmental Protection Agency materials.


The Library adds many of these documents to the circulating collection to be checked out. The others are available as Reference materials for use in the Library.


Access to government information at the Federal and State level is also available through the Internet.


Interlibrary Loans:

If an item needed is not owned by the Library, a request can be made to obtain a book, movie, photocopies of a magazine article, census microfilms, and genealogical materials from another library through the interlibrary loan (ILL) service. 


Interlibrary loan services are reserved for Dubuque residents, non-residents with a full service Library card, and those cities who have contracted for Library service. The fee is $3.00 for each ILL loan request, with a limit of three at a time.


Information on charges for interlibrary loan is available at the Reference Desk or by calling (563) 589-4225. 


Internet Access:

Access to our collection is provided through the Internet via our web site at www.dubuque.lib.ia.us.  You can search our Library's collection of both circulating and non-circulating items, place reserves and renew books as well.


The Library provides Internet access in the Adult, Teen, and Children’s areas.  Laptop computers are available for circulation for use inside the Library by adults and teens.  A library card in good standing is required for Internet computer use. 


Iowa Books:

The Iowa Books Area is a separate collection of fiction and nonfiction materials by and about Iowans from 1860 to the present. Particular emphasis is placed on items of current, historical, and biographical interest concerning Dubuque and Dubuque County. Books by Iowa authors are also collected, with emphasis on acquiring works by Dubuque area writers.


Specialized materials include City Directories from 1858 to the present, Dubuque County histories from 1880 and 1911, other Iowa county histories, and bound copies of Dubuque and Iowa periodicals.


Job Hunting:

The Library subscribes to 34 Sunday newspapers from all sections of the United States. The Library also has numerous guides to resume writing, interviewing, and study guides for Civil Service examinations as well as online resources.


Library Policies:

See the Library Policies.


Meeting Room Rental:

The Library has two meeting rooms that may be rented. Interested individuals or groups should contact the Administration Office at (563) 589-4313. (See the Meeting Room Policy under Library Policies.)


Microfilm Collections:

Newspaper Holdings: The Library has microfilm holdings of many of the newspapers that have been published in Dubuque, beginning in 1837 and continuing to date. For a complete list, see the Library's Genealogy page. 


Census Holdings: U.S. Federal Censuses held on microfilm cover the years 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 for Dubuque and surrounding Iowa counties.


Iowa State Censuses are available for 1856, 1885, 1895, 1915 and 1925 for Dubuque County only.


Also available are the Iowa Special Censuses for 1853, 1854 and 1905.  The Library also has the U.S. Federal Censuses of 1840, 1850, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 for Jo Daviess County, Illinois and Grant County, Wisconsin.


City Directory Holdings: The Library has Dubuque City Directories on microfilm that span the years from 1856 through 1983.


Vital Statistics Holdings: The Dubuque County Marriage Record for 1835 through 1914 is on microfilm, and there is also a Dubuque County Marriage Index from 1835 through 1936.


The Library also has holdings on microfilm of The New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register for the years 1946 through 1977.


Library Record Holdings: The records of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library from 1859 through 1961 are on microfilm.


City Record Holdings: The Library has the records of the Dubuque City Council on microfilm for April 1837 through December 1890, along with an index for 1854 through 1917. The Dubuque City Council Records of Deeds, Bonds, Mortgages and Contracts for 1859 through 1921 are on microfilm.


The Dubuque, Iowa Ordinance Record for May 1852 through October 1860 and the Dubuque, Iowa Revised Ordinances for January 1861 through April 1887 are on microfilm.


Magazine Holdings: 

Magazines held on microfilm include Life from January 1967 through June 1972; Newsweek from 1967 through 1972 and 1978 through 1980; and U.S. News and World Report from 1967 through June 1972.


Microfilm reader/printers are available and copies may be made for $.10 - $.25 per copy.


New Books:

In Adult Services, new books are marked with a red dot. Materials of high interest remain in this area for approximately six months. Books that are marked in the computerized card catalog as new materials will be shelved in this area.


In Youth Services, the spines of new books are marked with a purple dot and books keep this status for approximately three months.


Online Resources:

The Library provides access to several online information services. These are accessible from the Internet terminals and public access computers.


  • Ancestory.com: (available in the Library) A genealogy database with access to U.S. Federal Census records, passenger lists, birth, death, marriage, military records and more
  • Consumer Reports:  A trusted source for information and advice on consumer products and services
  • EBSCO:  Full-text reference database that allows users to search newspapers, newswire services, magazines, television and radio transcripts, books, and photographs. This resource is provided by Carnegie-Stout Public Library in cooperation with the State Library of Iowa
  • Ebsco Auto Repair:  Auto repair databases from 1954
  • FirstSearch:  The largest online catalog in the world includes books, catalogs, indexes, maps and non-print resources to mention some
  • Freegal:  Select from over 7 million music titles to download to your digital device
  • Heritage Quest Online:  A resource for census data, family records and local histories
  • LawChek: Reference product designed for both the layperson and the attorney which covers eleven areas of law and all states, this database is user everyday legal questions
  • Learn-A-Test: Self-testing software for testing at your own pace
  • Mango Languages:  A language-learning system that can help you learn languages like Spanish, French, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Mandarin Chinese, Greek, Italian, Russian and more
  • Morningstar Investment Center: Find a stock or fund to meet your needs. Research thousands of mutual funds and stocks using unbiased information and independent research
  • NewsBank:  Full-text newspaper reference for the 20 national newspapers, including

The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Des Moines Register and Wisconsin State Journal.  It is updated daily

  • Novelist:  A resource that guides readers to find new fiction books based on titles they have read or topics in which they are interested. NoveList contains materials for all ages and provides enhanced subject to over 90,000 fiction titles
  • One Click Digital:  Download audiobooks
  • Overdrive: Audio books that can be downloaded to your computer or digital device
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers:  Full-text and full-image articles for newspapers dating back to the 18th century
  • Reference USA: Business informational database
  • Tutor.com: Homework help and tutoring
  • Zinio Magazines:  Choose from over 120 magazine titles to download to your computer or digital device


Magazines and Periodicals:

The Library subscribes to over 500 magazines. Some titles are restricted to in-library use, but most may be checked out for home use. In addition, the Library has available an online service (EBSCO) that contains full-text magazines articles as well as abstracts. 



The Library conducts children’s programs aimed primarily at preschool ages throughout the school year. During the summer, the Children’s Summer Reading Program is for children from preschool through sixth grade and the Young Adult  reading program for those ages 12 – 18. The program schedules also appear in the City’s Leisure Services Activities booklets. Adult programs are scheduled frequently. Check the events on the Library's homepage.


Reserves (Holds):

Patrons who are interested in obtaining a copy of an item that is checked out may request to reserve that item. The patron will be notified by telephone, mail, email, or text message when the item becomes available.  The patron has five days from the date of the notice to pick up the requested item. Fifty cents will be assessed for items that have been reserved and not picked up. Reserve requests may be canceled without charge to the patron if the cancellation is made prior to the end of the five day hold period. 


Patrons are encouraged to place their own reserves on items using the online catalog. Reserves may also be placed using a home computer. In addition, reserve service is offered at both the Adult and Youth Services Desks. Reserves may be placed by calling the Library at (563) 589-4225.


Suggestions for Purchase:

Library patrons may make suggestions for additions to the Library's collection. Requests may be submitted at either the Adult Services, Youth Services Information Desks or online. 


Telephone Directories:

The Library has a small collection of telephone books from cities and towns in the United States.  They are shelved alphabetically by city. Telephone numbers can also be found using online directories. Call (563) 589-4225 or ask at the Reference Desk for more information. 


Telephone Inquiries:

Reference inquiries may be made by calling (563) 589-4225 and asking for the Reference Desk.  


Telephone reference is restricted to factual, quick research items such as directory and almanac/encyclopedia/dictionary questions. Questions necessitating longer research or multiple questions may require a call back, or a Library visit by the patron. If the Reference Librarian is busy helping in the Library, a return telephone call will be made.

Patrons may also call the Library at (563) 589-4225 to ask if a specific title is available.  


Vertical Files (Pamphlets, maps, etc.):

The Library has three Vertical File collections that are filing cabinets in which materials arranged alphabetically by subject in file folders. Some items may be checked out; some are designated for reference use only. The availability for circulation or reference is indicated on each item. 


The General, Dubuque, and Iowa vertical files contain a collection of pamphlets, brochures, maps, government publications, clippings, ephemera, and other items on popular topics.  Patrons may select whichever files they need directly from the cabinets.  Patrons should return used files to the top of the cabinet.


Young Adult Materials:

The Library maintains a special collection of fiction and magazines chosen for the young adult reader.  Books, magazines and audio books are in the Teen Zone.