Ask a Librarian Online Reference

The online reference service at TCPL is available for ready-reference questions. We can provide brief answers to questions or suggest locations and sources to answer your question.

All questions will be answered within two business days, Monday - Friday, by email only.

As with all reference questions, email and online reference questions will remain confidential.


What We Can Do
  • Answer simple, factual questions such as:
    Who was . . . ?
    When did . . . ?
    What is . . . ?
  • Answer your questions about the library and library services
  • Answer simple questions about Ithaca and Tompkins County
What We Cannot Do via the Ask-a-Librarian email Service
  • Answer lengthy or complex questions
  • Answer broad or vague questions
  • Genealogical questions or research. We do offer Tompkins County Research, but not through the "Ask-a-Librarian" service.

The public service reference desk is staffed all the hours the library is open. You may call the Reference Desk during library hours at 607-272-4556.

If you live outside our community, you may contact your local public, school, or college library.

Submit a Question

Please fill in all parts of the email reference form. If you do not enter a complete and valid email address, we may not be able to respond to your question. If you have difficulties submitting this form, please email us at or call the reference desk at 607-272-4556. Thank you.

Use the form below to submit reference questions to Tompkins County Public Library librarians.
  • This service is available for providing brief answers to factual questions, as well as suggestions for resources which might help you find what you need.
  • To find out if a question is appropriate for this service, please consult our guidelines.
  • Questions will be answered by e-mail Monday - Friday, with a response time of two business days (for example, a question received Friday will be answered by Tuesday).
  • If you need immediate reference assistance, please call our telephone reference service at 607-272-4556.

Please fill in all spaces as provided:

First Name:

Last Name:

Phone: (In case clarification is needed)


Your Reference Question:
(Please be clear and concise)

Sources Consulted:
(Please list resources that you have used such as books or the Internet.)

Reason for your Request:
Elementary/Middle School Student
High School Student
College Student

Note: If you experience difficulties applying online, please call:
607-272-4556 or send an e-mail to

(If you would like to chat with a librarian online to ask a reference question, please visit the Ask Us 24/7 information page. Note that you may not be chatting with a librarian from this library.)

Page last modified Mar 7, 2014