The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Library consists of the main location (on the 1st floor and basement of the NMNH’s East Court) and 11 specialized collections throughout the NMNH building. These collections are located within the NMNH Entomology, Invertebrate Zoology, Vertebrate Zoology, Mineral Sciences and Paleobiology departments. The NMNH Main Library and its satellite locations all have strong collections of 19th- and 20th-century literature (thanks in part to the gifts of early Smithsonian curators). Pre-1840 titles are accessible in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, which is part of the Special Collections Department, SIL.
The NMNH main location collects scholarly, highly technical and research-oriented materials in cross-disciplinary topics within the general areas of interest to the NMNH. It contains about 120,000 items on general science, biodiversity, biology, ecology, evolution, genomics, geology, oceanography, (invertebrate) paleontology and wildlife conservation. There are over 500 journal subscriptions and a number of journals received on exchange.
NMNH Satellite Libraries
- The Entomology Library (Room E-522) has a collection of approximately 3,200 titles, of which more than 830 are serials. The literature, focused on taxonomy and systematics, reflects the specimen collection of the museum and is global in scope.
- The Invertebrate Zoology Library (Room W346) contains roughly 16,000 items in its journal, book, and media collection. The major areas of focus include: systematics and taxonomy, morphology, anatomy, physiology, and marine ecology.
- The Mammals Library (Room 398) contains about 10,000 volumes supporting the Division of Mammals where the major areas of inquiry are systematics, distribution, evolution, and morphology.
- The Bird Library (Room E609) holds over 20,000 volumes, including approximately 100 print and many electronic journal subscriptions. The major scientific research in the Division of Birds, and thus the Birds Library, is systematics of Ornithology.
- The Amphibians & Reptiles and Fishes Library (Room WG32) holds approximately 12,500 volumes and 40 journal subscriptions. The Amphibians & Reptiles collection follows the research interests of the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles, which are evolution, morphology, and systematics. The Fishes collection follows the major research interests of the Division of Fishes, which are the systematics and zoogeography of fishes.
Mineral Sciences Library
The Mineral Sciences library (Room E435B) maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 items supporting the Department of Mineral Science’s three divisions: Petrology and Volcanology, Meteorites, and Mineralogy.
The Remington Kellogg Library of Marine Mammalogy
The Remington Kellogg Library of Marine Mammalogy (Room E101/E102) contains about 3,000 books and bound journals on all aspects of fossil and living marine mammals, including anatomy, behavioral biology, evolution, morphology, and systematics.
Vertebrate Paleontology Library
The Vertebrate Paleontology Library holds over 1,800 volumes focusing on physical geography, stratigraphy and systematic paleontology, and paleozoology of chordates and vertebrates of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Quaternary periods.
Additional Natural and Physical Science Libraries:
The Anthropology Library’s (Room 330-331) research-level collection includes all four subfields of American Anthropology — cultural, linguistics, archaeology, and physical — and related disciplines such as folklore and area studies.
The Botany and Horticulture Library (Room W422) holds over 100,000 volumes of books and journals. The literature is focused on taxonomy and systematics and reflects the specimen collection of the Department of Botany.
The Museum Support Center Library serves the research needs of all staff at the Smithsonian’s Museum Support Center (MSC) in Suitland, Maryland. One of the first such facilities in the world of its kind, the MSC was dedicated in May 1983. The facility covers 4 ½ acres of land and contains over half a million square feet of space. The Museum Support Center Library houses approximately 25,000 volumes, including over 500 serial titles as well as an audiovisual and microform collection with specialized subject coverage ranging from the conservation of museum objects to molecular biology.
The library for the National Zoological Park & Conservation Biology Institute is a unique branch without a central location. On-site collections focus on veterinary medicine, pathology, animal care, and nutrition, and are located on the Rock Creek, DC campus in the Veterinary Hospital and the Department of Nutrition offices, and on the Front Royal, VA campus in the Veterinary Offices building.
The SERC Library, located in Edgewater, MD (Mathias, Room 1118), houses about 15,000 items which support scientific and educational research in global change, landscape ecology, costal ecosystems, population and community ecology, and related subject areas. It also houses a separate collection of literature and reports about the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.