Smithsonian Libraries: 50 Years Together

2018 marks the Smithsonian Libraries’ 50th Anniversary! As we celebrate this significant milestone, together we look back to honor the Libraries’ rich legacy and celebrate our impact supporting scholarship, research, and discovery at the Smithsonian. And together, we look forward to continuing the excellence of the Smithsonian Libraries for the next 50 years and beyond.
In 1968, Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley called for the unification of the various libraries across the Smithsonian into one unified system under a single director. While libraries have been a part of the Institution from its founding in 1846, in 1968 they became a separate administrative unit.
Today, the Smithsonian Libraries comprises a network of 21 specialized research libraries located in the Smithsonian’s museums and research centers. Our collection of over two million volumes includes 50,000 rare books and manuscripts, complemented by more than 120,000 electronic books, journals, and databases. They are overseen by an expert staff who daily serve the information needs of the Institution’s scientific, research, exhibition, and education colleagues, as well as in-person and online scholars, visitors, and curious minds from around the country and world.
We hope you will join us throughout the year at our special events and lectures, read and enjoy our publications, and find a way to grow your involvement with the Smithsonian Libraries as we celebrate 50 years together.

Sharing Knowledge, Preserving Treasures