Main Library · Information and Reference Department

Second Floor—South Building

Manager: Ben Lathrop
Reference Team Leader Phoebe Acheson

Hours of Service
Mon–Wed 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Thu–Sat 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sun 1 p.m.–5 p.m.

About the Department

In 2007, a dynamic new service model was developed for the Main Library. Under this new plan, resources previously divided among individual Main Library subject departments were drawn together into the Information and Reference Department. The Information and Reference Department offers customers expert reference assistance across a broad range of subjects from the 2nd floor service desk.

The Collection

The Information and Reference Department has an extensive nonfiction collection that encompasses a wide cross-section of subjects including: philosophy, psychology, religion, sports, chemistry, cooking, consumer research, gardening, engineering, natural history, health and medicine, parenting, car repair, business, government, computers, politics, investments, jobs, art, architecture, design, crafts, television and movies, photography, theater, journalism, literary analysis, biographies, publishing, poetry, history, geography, travel, popular culture, and current events.

The Information and Reference Department collection includes circulating copies of popular local, national, and international magazines, as well as scholarly and trade journals. The department also houses an extensive collection of local, national, and international newspapers and a microfilm collection containing many of Cincinnati’s newspapers dating back to the 19th century. Current issues of many magazines and newspapers are on display in the department. Ask at the reference desk for other titles or back issues.

As a designated Government Documents and Patent and Trademark Depository Library, the Department’s collection also includes many publications received from the federal government and the Patent and Trademark Depository Library program.

Resource Centers

  • Grants. Resources to help non-profit organizations identify and pursue funding opportunities.
  • Careers. Resources about career choices, job searching, resume writing, and interviewing.
  • Small Businesses. Information on the management, planning, finance and legal aspects of starting a small business, as well as information on industry and market analysis.
  • Public documents. Public documents received on deposit from the federal government, including publications from the Executive Branch, the Supreme Court, the Congress, the Patent and Trademark Office, and numerous independent agencies.


The Information and Reference Department staff offer professional, expert assistance to all customers having questions, from simple fact checking to in-depth research. Although the primary service point is the 2nd floor central desk, “Roving reference” staff are also available on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floor to help customers locate material and use Library resources. Staff in the “Remote Reference Center” handle phone calls and emails. Passport application are also accepted in the Department, please see our Passport site for more details about this service.