Situated at the center of the world's largest museum complex, the Smithsonian Libraries forms a vital part of the research, exhibition, and educational enterprise of the Institution. The Libraries unites 20 libraries into one system supported by central collections support services. We maintain publication exchanges with more than 4,000 institutions worldwide that supply Smithsonian scientists and curators with current periodicals, exhibition catalogs, and professional society publications. Through preservation treatments, experts work to save the Smithsonian's 2 million printed books and manuscripts for future generations. Skilled catalogers apply descriptive metadata to make both online and physical collections accessible. Our Digital Library creates electronic versions of rare books and other distinctive collections, as well as exhibitions and specialized finding aids. The Libraries also offers its treasures to the nation through exhibitions, lectures, special tours, and an extensive website.
The Smithsonian Libraries participates in the advancement of science and the arts just as we have from the inception of the Institution. Acting as both public and academic library, as both scholarly resource and general information service, the Libraries offers a galaxy of resources and the help of informed staff to anyone through the Internet or in person.
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Learn more about the Smithsonian Libraries in our Fact Sheet.