Smithsonian Institution Libraries

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL) system comprises 20 branch libraries serving the various Smithsonian Institution museums and research centers, as well as central support services which include a Book Conservation Laboratory and an Imaging Center. The Libraries serve Smithsonian Institution staff as well as the scholarly community and general public with information and reference support. Its collections number over 1.5 million volumes including 40,000 rare books and 2,000 manuscripts. The Libraries also holds the nation's largest trade literature collection, which includes over 300,000 commercial catalogs dating from the early nineteenth century and representing more than 30,000 companies.

The Libraries' collections focus primarily on science, art, history and culture, and museology. SIL is continuously analyzing its mission and goals in order to best meet the information and knowledge needs of new generations of users, to strengthen research, and to reach through cyberspace those unable to visit the Smithsonian museums and research centers in person.

The shared SIL Catalog is part of the Smithsonian Research Information System (SIRIS) from which one can search 1.89 million records of text, images, video and sound files from across the Smithsonian Institution.

In 2008, SIL celebrated its 40th anniversary. Since 1997, the Director has been Nancy E. Gwinn, Ph.D.

Read more about Smithsonian Institution Libraries:  Mission, History, Digital Initiatives, Exhibitions, Lecture Series, Research Opportunities, Fellowships, Internships, Social Media, Grammar, Gallery

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