Call Center


Call 718.YOUR.BPL or 718.968.7275.  Available during Central Library hours.

Ask brief ready-reference type questions. For in-depth research try our articles & databases, our catalog, or visit any branch.

Telephone Reference has been answering questions from Brooklyn and around the country since 1953. We use books, magazines, newspapers, clipping files, and electronic sources to answer reference questions.

These are some of the things we do:
  • spelling and definitions of words
  • used car prices
  • "Was November 4, 1965 a Monday?"
  • publisher of a book
  • short, factual questions or referrals for students
  • phone numbers and addresses
  • biographical information
  • locations of local library branches
  • statistics
  • referrals to special libraries, associations, government agencies, etc.
  • doctor's credentials and the spellings of medical terms — sorry, no medical definitions or side effects of drugs
Typical Questions:
  1. In what film did Mary Tyler Moore play a nun opposite Elvis Presley?
  2. Who are my local elected officials and how do I reach them?
  3. Can I have the address of the Helen of Troy Corp.; do they market hair-care products?
These are some of the reference sources used for answering your questions:
  • The Academy Awards Index
  • The Animals Who's Who
  • The Baseball Encyclopedia
  • The Best Loved Songs of the American People
  • The Brooklyn Almanac
  • Celebrity Directory
  • Emily Post's Etiquette
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Facts on File, from 1941
  • Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals
  • Internet Yellow Pages
  • The Kennedy Encyclopedia
  • Life-Spans: Or How Long Things Last
  • Statistical Abstract of the US
In addition to print resources, we use numerous electronic databases:
  • Biography & Genealogy Master Index
  • EBSCOhost (periodicals index & selected fulltext)
  • Encyclopedia of Associations
  • Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia
  • Library's catalog
  • New York Census of Population & Housing
  • Serials Directory
  • The Internet and other news sources