Our reference librarians can answer specific questions with brief, factual answers. We may also refer you to other sources. For answers to more complex questions or for research assistance, please stop in and see us.

Questions will be answered within 2-5 business days. Questions without contact information cannot be answered.


Please read these guidelines for submitting reference questions before using Ask a Librarian. If you request that we send your answer via mail or fax, please include your address.

Types of questions we can answer:

  • Brief questions that have a documented factual answer, such as a historical date or fact or the source of a quotation.
  • Requests for suggestions about appropriate sources to research a topic. List any resources that you have already consulted so we do not duplicate your attempts. We can suggest additional sources you might want to consult.

Types of questions we cannot answer:

  • Requests which require lengthy research.
  • Questions requiring legal or medical interpretation. We can recommend and provide sources of information you can consult, but the Library cannot offer guidance or opinion in regard to these questions.
  • Essays and school assignments. We can point you to information sources on your topic, but you will need to do the work of interpreting the resources and answering the question your teacher has assigned you.

Questions we can answer

“Who was mayor of Stamford in 1923?”

“Is there a city or telephone directory listing for William Brewer in Stamford in 1885?”

“How many people died in the Hartford Circus Fire on July 6, 1944?”

“Is the Stamford Trust Co. still in existence, if not, when did it close?”

“What was the headline of the Stamford Advocate for May 1,1952?”

“Can I get a copy of the Stamford High School Yearbook for 1960?”

“Who was the owner of the Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company?”

Questions on any Library events, programs, etc.

Questions we cannot answer

Any question that starts out “I need some information about…” is probably too broad and too vague. Please be specific and detailed in your request.

“I want a copy of a death notice for a family member. His name was James Noonan and he died in Stamford in 1941.”

We need to have a specific day, month and year to check local newspapers for any such
information. Also, we cannot provide in-depth genealogical research, but we have identified resources to help you in your search, “Genealogy”.

“Can you send me some information about the textile industry?”

Since there are numerous books and Internet resources for such topics, we would expect you to do this basic research. We will try to answer a specific question, for example, about a specific company or person that had some link to Stamford or Connecticut.

“What are some interesting facts about Connecticut?”

We cannot research this type of question. We can confirm a fact, or give information on a particular fact. Please use historical chronologies for this type of information.

“What can you tell me about the Blizzard of ’88?”

We cannot research this type of question without some further specific information. Please be specific and detailed in your request.

The Ferguson Library’s primary responsibility for reference and bibliographic services is to the residents of Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. Requests from the Stamford community will be placed ahead of non-Connecticut patrons in the queue waiting for responses. We wish to assist you with your information needs, but we must request that you obtain information from your local libraries and resources when appropriate. For requests from outside the U.S., we can only process requests that are specific to our collections or are for unique information regarding Stamford.

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  • (Don't forget to include your mailing address if you would like your information mailed to you.)

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For immediate service during business hours, or if you do not have an email account, please call our Reference Desk at 203-351-8221/8222.