The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Library, located in Edgewater, MD, is one of 20 branch libraries in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries system. It was founded in 1977 at the Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies (CBCES) to support the Center's research and education programs. The CBCES was renamed the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in 1986 upon the closing of the Smithsonian Radiation Biology Laboratory (SRBL) in Rockville, MD and the partial merging of staff and collections.
The SERC Library collections provide support for the scientists studying coastal zone ecosystems and the education staff which conveys information gleaned from SERC research on the human impact on the environment to the public, particularly children in grades K-12.
The library primarily serves the staff of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, the resident Chesapeake Research Consortium (CRC), other Smithsonian staff, fellows, research associates, other government agencies, professional associations, students, scholars, and the general public.
The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Branch Library houses a collection of materials which support the scientific and educational research in the following broad areas:
- Global change
- Landscape ecology
- Coastal ecosystems
- Population and community ecology, with emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay and its surroundings.
A separate collection (the Chesapeakiana collection) comprised mostly of grey literature dealing with the Chesapeake Bay area is also held.