Pennsylvania Room

The Pennsylvania Room of the Reading Public Library is a treasure trove of local history and genealogy for Reading and Berks County. You will find imprints from local publishers, family histories, church histories, and historical information on the city and surrounding towns. You will also find city directories from 1856 until the present and high school yearbooks, both of which are among our most popular items. In the room are also many other kinds of information to answer your questions or help you find information about your family.

Although you may not take any of the items from the room, you may use them there; and many may be photocopied. There is always a staff member on duty during the Room’s open hours, and he or she will be happy to help you find the information you need.

The Pennsylvania Room hours are listed below:

Monday & Tuesday
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Wednesday
Closed

Thursday & Friday
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Saturday
12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

If you live outside Berks County, please call or write to us at the address above or email us at reference@reading.lib.pa.us for answers to any questions you might have. We will explain our policies and fees to you and attempt to answer any other questions.


 

The Pennsylvania Room is a special collection found on the third level of the Main Branch of the Reading Public Library.

The collection is dedicated to three primary areas:

  • pennsylvania-roomHistory of Berks County
  • History of the City of Reading
  • Genealogical resources of both

Resources include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Ancestry.com (Library Edition)
  • Archived City of Reading telephone directories and telephone books
  • Archived Berks County Suburban telephone directories
  • Cemetery Records
  • Census Records
  • Church Records
  • Civil War Regimental Histories
  • County & Township Histories
  • Family Histories
  • High School and College Yearbooks
  • Maps of Berks County and Reading
  • Reading Eagle microfilm as well as digital archive access (digital archives covers years October of 1989—present)

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT SOME MATERIALS ARE TOO FRAGILE TO PHOTOCOPY. DETERMINATION OF SUCH WILL BE MADE BY OUR STAFF.


 

THE PENNSYLVANIA ROOM POLICY

We ask that every visitor to the Pennsylvania Room record each visit by signing a guest log. We kindly ask each person to clearly note full name, mailing address, time of arrival, and purpose of visit. Please remember to sign out at the time of departure as well.

Due to the archival nature of the Pennsylvania’s Room holdings, our policy is to restrict browsing of materials.

An exception is the last aisle located closest to the windows; this aisle contains city and county directories, yearbooks, periodicals—and it is open to patron browsing.

The entire Pennsylvania Room collection is recorded in the Horizon Catalog of the general library’s holdings.

Separate genealogical catalogs are available for research assistance in the Pennsylvania Room itself on the research table.

Please request the Pennsylvania Room attendant to retrieve materials. No material may leave the room, and viewing of materials must be conducted during established Pennsylvania Room operational hours.

Due to security concerns, we ask that NO personal items be on the research table or in the aisle. Outerwear must be placed on the coat rack provided and large personal items must be kept near the coat rack or in an area agreeable to our staff.

Smaller items and valuables must be checked in and stored in a file drawer. Pens are strictly prohibited, but pencils are provided. A power source suitable for laptop computers is available. All photocopies are 10¢ per page; payment is made at the Circulation Desk on the first floor.