Reference Services

Reference service is the main responsibility of the Information Services Department. We maintain a wide variety of reference material on a range of subjects covering the entire spectrum of knowledge. Material from the reference collection does not circulate and is thus available for use in the library whenever needed. In addition to the print collection, we provide access to numerous electronic resources. These resources are listed below and are also available from the library’s home page at These resources can be accessed from any computer, inside or outside the library, with a valid Luzerne County System Card. We provide individual as well as group training in using these resources. Trained librarians are available to answer your questions in person, by telephone or by e-mail. For after-hour service you can always try Ask Here Pa, a 24/7 reference service. You may contact us using one of the following:

Direct Reference: 570-821-1959

For after-hour questions you can send an email or leave a phone message with your question and contact information and you will receive a response on the next business day.

Interlibrary Loan

Book Requests
Interlibrary loan requests are limited to five requests per patron per week, including requests taken over the telephone. There is no charge for this service unless the lending library charges a fee. Usually the patron can be informed of any such fee prior to the book being shipped.

Requests For Television Series On DVD                                                                                           Television series on DVD cannot be requested on Interlibrary Loan from other libraries.

Photocopy Requests
To request a periodical article via interlibrary loan, a patron must submit, in addition to the title of the periodical, a volume number and/or date. It is also necessary to have either the appropriate page numbers or an accurate title for the article in question. Photocopies will be provided to the patron at the cost of TWENTY CENTS per page. Any charges by the lending library are assumed by the patron. You will be notified beforehand. If a periodical is owned by a library within walking distance of the Osterhout Free Library (e.g., King’s College or Wilkes University), the patron is encouraged to go to that library and photocopy the article.

Patron Notification
Patrons will be notified by phone (or by mail if requested) when the requested material has arrived. The patron must have a current Luzerne County Library System card in good standing in order to request and receive material through interlibrary loan. If the item requested cannot be borrowed from another library, for whatever reason, the patron will be notified by mail or phone.

Returning Interlibrary Loan Books
Borrowed material must be returned to the Osterhout Free Library on or before the due date. This is very important because the Osterhout Free Library has an obligation to return the material on time to the library from which it was borrowed. The patron will be charged fifty cents per day for each day any title is late. Requests to renew an interlibrary item must be made at least 7 days before the due date. The approval or denial of a renewal request is solely the decision of the lending library and not the Osterhout Free Library.

Late or Lost Interlibrary Loan Books
If a patron loses or otherwise does not return a book, he will be billed for the replacement of the book plus any processing fees charged by the lending library. Failure to return a book will result in suspension of interlibrary loan borrowing privileges until the book is paid for or returned. If the patron does not return a book and does not pay replacement and processing charges, interlibrary loan privileges will be suspended.

Even though a patron may lose a book and pay the resulting fees, if this occurs three times, interlibrary loan privileges will be suspended for one year. If a patron repeatedly (three times) returns books two or more weeks late, interlibrary loan privileges will be suspended for three months. In addition, the patron is liable for payments of any overdue charges before interlibrary loan privileges are reinstated.

Interlibrary Loan Requests Canceled
A patron is requested to notify the Interlibrary Loan Department if a title requested is no longer needed. If a patron repeatedly (three times) does not pick up material requested on interlibrary loan, interlibrary loan privileges will be suspended for three months.


Holds may be placed on material currently checked out or on order. The only requirement is that the person making the request must have a valid library card with current address and telephone number. Once the items become available, the patron will be notified, usually by phone. The items may be picked up at the Library’s circulation desk within 3 days.

In order to process your request you must have a valid Luzerne County Library System Card with current address and a phone number. To place a hold on the item, please call 821-1959 with the title, author, type of item (book, DVD, large-print book, etc.).

Database Training

The Information Services Department provides individual as well as group training on the use of our electronic resources. To schedule an appointment, please call 821-1959 or send an e-mail to:

Click here to read our Digital Resource Guide.



The Information Services Department provides individual as well as group training on the use of our electronic resources. To schedule an appointment, please call 821-1959 or send an e-mail to:


The Osterhout Free Library is committed to its mission of assuring public access to information and supporting lifelong learning for its users. Providing access to the Internet allows the library to greatly expand its role as information provider. However, before using the Internet at the Osterhout Free Library, you should be aware that:

Not all sources on the Internet provide information that is accurate, complete, current, legal or philosophically acceptable to all citizens. Internet users must evaluate the validity and/or appropriateness of information.

The Osterhout Free Library is unable to control or monitor the content of Internet sites, which change frequently and unpredictably.

Parents and guardians are the best and final judges of what is appropriate for their children and are responsible for their children’s Internet use. Parents are advised to supervise their children’s Internet sessions.

The Osterhout Free Library network and computers does not support certain file types available on the Internet, such as sound or moving images, IRC, instant messaging or chat rooms.

The Library expressly prohibits any use of library computers for illegal activities, or to access material that contains or makes reference to explicit sexual material as defined in 18 Pa. C.S. 5903, is obscene, contains child pornography, or is harmful to minors.

Altering Osterhout Free Library computer settings, removing privacy screens and other activities, which disrupt the library or its network, are prohibited.

Users must have a valid Luzerne County Library System library card.

There is a limit of one session per day of up to 60 minutes duration per cardholder.

Users must type their Luzerne County Library System Library Card barcode number and last name at the “Reservation Station” computer.  Users will be assigned a computer and starting time by the “Reservation Station” computer.  Reservations are made on a first come basis.  At the end of a 60 minute session, user is automatically logged off.

Since our space is limited and increased noise from group conversation is disruptive to others, only two users may gather at a workstation.

Staff assistance is limited.  Staff can show a user where to type in an address (URL) and direct user where to initiate a search.

The Library does not provide email accounts and cannot assist with setting up an email account.

Users may not use their own software.  Flash drives, writable CD’s and floppy discs must be scanned for computer virus at the Information Services desk before using.  This will help prevent computer viruses, which are common on public computers.

The cost of printouts is 20 cents per page.

Failure to use the Internet computer appropriately and responsibly may result in revocation of Internet Use Privileges, Library Privileges and/or Criminal Prosecution.











As required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”), in order to remain eligible for certain federal funding, the Library has implemented software filtering on all of its Internet-accessible computer terminals. The software installed on Internet-accessible computers at the library protects against access to visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and, in the case of persons under the age of 17 years, material that are “harmful to minors.” Users should be aware, however, that all currently available filtering software results in a degree of both “under blocking” (i.e., permitting access to certain material that falls within the foregoing categories) and “over blocking” (i.e., denying access to certain constitutionally protected material that does not fall within the foregoing categories). The Library has attempted to select filtering software that best complies with CIPA while providing Library users with the broadest possible access to constitutionally protected speech and information. The Library cannot and does not guarantee that the filtering software will block all obscenity, child pornography, or material that are harmful to minors. Nor can the Library guarantee that the filtering software will not restrict access to sites that may have legitimate research or other value.

Any adult (17 years of older, as defined by CIPA) may request that the filter or technology protection measure be disabled by an authorized Osterhout Free Library staff member without significant delay for the purpose of unfiltered Internet access for bona fide research or other lawful purpose.

An authorized Osterhout Free Library staff member may override the filter for a minor (age 16 years or younger, as defined by CIPA) in the event the filter wrongly blocks or filters Internet access to a site with legitimate information value.

The Osterhout Free Library cannot be responsible for any patron’s unauthorized use of a computer with a disabled filter.

The Osterhout Free Library reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

Approved by the Board of Directors June 20, 1997

Revised by the Board of Directors May 21, 1999; October 15, 1999; June 22, 2001; March 22, 2005; November 2007.

  • The Osterhout Free Library Internet Acceptable Use Statement applies to all wireless connections provided by the Library. The user name and password provided is for you alone. Sharing of this login information will result in loss of privileges.
  • You must provide your own laptop computer with a compatible network card and your own browser software. The Osterhout Free Library provides no guarantee that your equipment will be compatible or that you will be able to make a wireless connection.
  • Username and passwords are provided at the Information Services Desk for a two hour session. Password is valid that day only. You must show your valid library card in order to obtain a password.
  • Library staff is not able to provide technical assistance for any equipment or connection to the system.
  • The Osterhout Free Library is not responsible for damage to your computer or computer files due to your use of the wireless network.
  • All Internet use through the Library wireless network will be filtered using the same criteria as the filters on the Library’s computers.
  • The Osterhout Free Library’s wireless network is not secure and you must provide your own virus protection. Information sent from your laptop can be captured by anyone with a wireless device and appropriate software.
  • Printing is not available through the Osterhout Free Library network for wireless users.
  • The Library is not responsible for stolen equipment. Please do not leave your laptop unattended at the Library.
  • The Osterhout Free Library Board of Directors reserves the right to alter this policy without prior notice.
Open Computer Lab


The Gates Computer Lab on the 2nd floor of the Main Library on S. Franklin St. is open to the public during the following hours:

Monday 5pm-7:30pm
Wednesday 5pm-7:30pm
Saturday 1pm-3:30pm

Advantages of using the Open Lab include:

  • No need to log on, just show your library card to the attendant.
  • No time limit on usage, unless others are waiting.
  • Headphones available to access audio content.
  • Access to library resources, including Microsoft Office, children’s games, and a printer.
  • Even if you have used the public computers on the first floor of the library (which are limited to one use per day), you may still use the open lab.

Please note that the lab may be closed during these scheduled hours if the room is being used for other programs. If you plan on coming to the library to use the open lab, you may wish to call the Information Desk at 570-821-1959 to inquire if the lab will be open that day.

Also, a sign on the wall at the bottom of the library’s side stairwell informs you if the lab is currently Open or Closed.

For more info contact:

Information Services
Osterhout Free Library
71 S Franklin St.
Wilkes-Barre PA 18701


Readers' Advisory

Collection of eBooks and audiobooks
Multiple reviews and an excerpt of carefully selected current books
Book reviews, book awards, poetry, literary criticism, authors and more…

Fiction books reference

New York Times Best Seller List
A compilation of the best seller books by the New York Times

Suggestions for book discussion groups

Romance books reference

Stop, You’re Killing Me!
Title lists of your favorite mystery authors and series characters

Book lists & info from the Young Adult Library Services Association

Word Fountain Literary Magazine

sample lit mag


The Literary Magazine

of the Osterhout Free Library

Filled with writing by community members of all ages, including poems, stories, and essays.


Read our blog for the latest information on an upcoming issue, including guidelines and deadlines; to read about our activities; or to read back issues of the magazine.zany

Also, find us on FACEBOOK and TWITTER .

Osterhout Free Library
ATTN: Word Fountain Staff
71 S. Franklin Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701



Websites By Subject

Websites by Subject 

DISCLAIMER: The Osterhout Free Library is not responsible for the content of these websites. They are provided for informational purposes only.