About Our Collections

The Libraries physical collections comprise 1.5 million books and manuscripts, along with over 400,000 pieces of ephemera, microfilm, photo collections and a/v material, housed in over 20 locations in Washington, Maryland, New York, and Panama.

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For more information about using our collections in person, please visit the appropriate branch library page for contact information, hours and to determine if you need an appointment.

If you would like to borrow a book, please make an inter-library loan request through your local public, school, or organizational library.
If you're with an organization interested in using one of our collections items in an exhibition, please see Exhibition Loan Services.

Trade Literature

The Libraries' 450,000 pieces of trade literature is a premier collection of catalogs, manuals, brochures, and related material from the 19th and 20th centuries.

SI Digital Repository

A bibliography of publications by Smithsonian researchers and affiliated staff are maintained in Smithsonian Research Online (SRO.)

Publications by staff available in full-text, including historical publications like the Publications of the U.S. National Museum, are available in our Digital Repository.


The Libraries also manages the web presence for several titles published by the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press including