The Steve Neal Reading Room is located on the first floor of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. It serves as the main reading room for the Printed Materials Collection and is the location of the Reference Desk.
Selected materials from the Printed Materials Collection and basic Lincoln reference books are readily accessible on shelves in the Reading Room. Library users will find Illinois county histories, biographical dictionaries, volumes of cemetery inscriptions, and indexes to records of marriage, wills, naturalization, and other research and reference materials. There are general reference materials on the Civil War, Revolutionary War, genealogy, and the Illinois Daughters of the American Revolution, as well as selected histories of other states. However, the vast majority of books are shelved in climate-controlled closed stacks on the lower level.
In the Reading Room, researchers may search the Library's online catalog to identify titles they wish to examine and request them from the Reference Desk staff. Books may not be checked out of the Library and no library cards are issued.
Computers are available in the Reading Room to access materials for genealogical or historical research. Flash drives may not be used in Library computers, nor is word processing available. Researchers must sign in at the Reference Desk and present a valid driver's license or student I.D. for permission to use a computer.The following databases are available in the Reading Room: Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest, HarpWeek, Sanborn Maps, Historical Chicago Tribune, America: History and Life.
The Library's Main Reading Room was named in honor of the late Steve Neal, the Chicago Sun-Times writer whose frequent columns about the development of the Presidential Library kept the project in the public's eye. Neal authored ten books on U.S. history, including his 2004 book Happy Days Are Here Again, about the 1932 Democratic Convention. Contact the Reference Librarian: (217) 524-6358
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