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Research 101: Primary Sources for Teens

Are you working on your school research paper? Have you found tons of secondary sources, but not enough primary sources? Do you feel like you've exhausted all of your research tools? If this describes you to a tee, then we've got a few tips for you. (And, no they don’t involve pulling your hair out or changing your research topic.)

Take a break, and visit Richland Library. We can help.

It goes without saying that the library has great books that can be used as primary sources. But we've also got some amazing alternative resources that you may not have considered.

Databases (You’ll need your library card for these.)
Whether you've had your library card for years, or are just now getting your first library card, you'll be excited to find out that we offer some awesome databases that are sure to get you on the right track and lead you to some great primary sources. These databases can be accessed freely from your home computer or right here in the library via the Look it Up tab on the library web page.

Some of the best databases for primary sources include:
Heritage Quest- Provides a keyword searchable collection of genealogical research materials for tracing family history and American culture.
Ancestry Library Edition- Provides access to a number of genealogical sources, including Census, military and immigration records and more.
NewsBank Newspaper Source Plus- Includes more than 1,000 full-text newspapers, providing more than 38 million full-text articles.

Expertise (No library card required!)
Another great resource can be found in the Local History room at Richland Library Main. You can review census information, look up historic material, or research genealogy records in the Local History Room, and most importantly, you get knowledgeable, one-on-one assistance. For more information on Local History, please contact Debbie Bloom at

Now go forth and research! Use these tips, and you'll be on your way to writing a fantastic research paper.