For Educators

Online and across our research network of 21 locations, the Smithsonian Libraries provides print and electronic resources and services in support of PreK-12 education, teacher programs, and early learning. Materials include access to education journals and books, resources for fact-checking and background research, illustrations and maps, and special collections to provide inspiration for your programs.


Ask a Librarian
Ask a Librarian is our remote reference service. Contact us at any time with questions and we will get back to you within a few days.

Visit the Libraries (For Educators)
We encourage educators to visit our libraries to take full advantage of our resources. Most of our libraries are in the DC Metro area, but we also have branches in New York City and Panama. See a list of our locations. Our Libraries are generally open from 9:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday, excluding U.S. government holidays. Because we are located behind-the-scenes, most locations require an appointment; please call ahead. Not sure which locations may have the material you are interested in using? Browse our branch websites, search our catalog, or contact Ask a Librarian to find where collections are housed. For more information, see: FAQs on using the Libraries.

Visit the Libraries (For Classes)
Contact Ask a Librarian to discuss options for field trips to engage our library resources or learn about what we do. Let us know about your interests and plans, what you’re hoping to discover.

Traveling Trunks
Traveling Trunks is a resource-lending program from the Smithsonian Libraries. These multimedia library kits are packed full of resources from across the Smithsonian Institution that deliver immersive experiences. Through touch, tech, sound, and sight, Traveling Trunks creates a screen-free sensorial rich environment. The program is a free resource for young learners and their educators. Traveling Trunks can be sent to libraries, schools, community centers, and other learning sites for a month-long lending period, with the option to renew, anywhere in the United States. All costs, including shipping are covered; we just ask that users have access to a FedEx office.

Smithsonian Libraries Digital Collections
The Libraries has digitized rare books (pre-1924), journals, and manuscripts on subjects ranging from advertising and aeronautics to zinc sculpture and Zuni cuisine. Our online collections include images from illustrated books, digitized drawings and photos, as well as indexes to some of our special collections such as art and artist vertical files, trade catalogs, postal history ephemera and more!

Smithsonian Libraries Online Exhibitions
Thematic, online exhibitions featuring items from our collections, from Artists’ Books in Africa to Zoos: A Historical Perspective.

Smithsonian Libraries Blog Unbound
Explore our blog to find amazing items and ideas highlighted in our collections.

Color our Collections
Free, downloadable coloring packets based on images in our collection. Three packets are available, Volume I, Volume II, and Color in New Light .

Research Guides
Guides developed by our library subject experts offer a collection of vetted resources in the following areas: Art & Design Research Guides, History & Culture Research Guides, and Natural & Physical Sciences Research Guides.


Smithsonian Learning Lab
Smithsonian Learning Lab puts the treasures of the world's largest museum, education, and research complex within reach. The Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources, creating content with online tools, and sharing in the Smithsonian's expansive community of knowledge and learning. As a focused extension of Learning Lab, Distance Learning Resources, are committed to supporting teachers and their students around the globe.

Smithsonian Open Access
Download, share, reuse, and remix millions of Smithsonian images—right now, for free. Access nearly 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from our collections—with many more to come. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s nineteen museums, nine research centers, twenty-one libraries, numerous archives, and the National Zoo.

Biodiversity Heritage Library
This digital library provides free and open access to over 250,000 volumes from the 15th-21st centuries on a wide range of biodiversity subjects. Find primary resources, images, thematic collections, and citizen science projects. Learn more. Also check out the BHL Flickr feed for stunning sets of illustrations.