Getting Started

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Use subject dictionaries and encyclopedias to define terms and concepts in the context of American government and politics.

The Library has even more E-Reference Resources in Political Science and the Federal Government, as well as State and Local Resources.


Political Figures

Looking for information on a particular politician or political figure?  Try these resources:

Already have a political figure in mind?  Search our catalog for books and other materials.  Watch the video on the main Search page to find out more about what the library offers and how you can get to it!



Every issue has at least two sides.  Be ready for debate by staying on top of the issues.  The Library is here to help!

  • CQ Researcher is the perfect resource for staying on top of global and national issues. 
    • For instance, look over this entry for The Troubled Dollar.  On the right hand side, you'll see the Issue Tracker, which gives a timeline of events surrounding the issue.  Click the Pro/Con link on the left-hand menu to jump down to both sides of the issue concerning the U.S. Dollar and the Euro.
  • Opposing Viewpoints similarly places issues in the context of debate.  Each entry pulls together selected resources surrounding a specific topic. 

Once you've chosen an issue, don't forget to Search our catalog for books and other materials.


The Library subscribes to a variety of newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post,  and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Furthermore, access to the text of many newspapers is available through Proquest Newspapers and Lexis Nexis Academic.

See also this recent Library Blog post about Fetching Newspapers.

Article Databases

If you need more scholarly information regarding a topic or issue, the Library's subscriprtion article databases are usually your best bet.

  • CQ Electronic Library (CQ Press)
    Combines many CQ Press resources for research in American government, politics, history, public policy, and current affairs.
    • CQ Magazine - Each issue of CQ Weekly looks forward and back. Your readers get in-depth reports on issues looming on the congressional horizon, plus a complete wrap up the previous week's news, including the status of bills in play, behind-the-scenes maneuvering, committee and floor activity, debates and all roll-call votes.

Government Documents

Topics in American Government


Falvey Library has a wide selection of resources concerning elections and campaigns.  Try these to start:

Public Opinion and Polling

Here are some selected resources for public opinion and polling.  For a comprehensive list of library resources in this area, see the Polling Information Topic Guide.

News Media