Using the NPM Library

postal libraryWelcome Home. The National Postal Museum Library is an information oasis. Come satisfy your thirst for knowledge. We guarantee an answer for every question. Our personal approach to professional librarianship for the philatelic community with a focus on routine timely communication is the hallmark of our postal history services. When you walk into this library, you are opening the door to your future.

The National Postal Museum Library is one of the premier philatelic collections in the world, and includes monographs, periodicals, catalogs, and archival documents. The Museum and its library provide a service unrivaled by any other organization. Here, researchers have the opportunity to supplement their consultations of philatelic literature with an examination of the philatelic material in question. This combination of object and background materials can make your visit an unparalleled research experience.

Library Catalog (SIRIS)

The National Postal Museum Library has 6,000 square feet and is equipped with:

  • 2 guest computers (one is internet-only)
  • a reading room
  • a photocopier (copyright rules are observed in any photcopying)
  • a fax machine
  • a TVCR 
  • a Philatelic Forensic Laboratory
  • a microfilm reader/printer
  • a scanner
  • free Wi-Fi
  • a printer
  • windows with natural light
  • the only Smithsonian library with a Food Court of 30+ restaurants right across the street

In 2010, the Global Philatelic Library website was created as a collaboration which provides online access to the collections of philatelic libraries worldwide.

You are welcome to make an appointment via email, telephone, or fax. This library is manned part time. Ten days' advance notice will almost certainly guarantee you a research time slot. On the third Saturday of each month, we are open to the public without appointments from 10am to 4pm. The library is staffed with one professional librarian volunteer on the third Saturday of each month.


The library is located across the street from Union Station, on the ground floor of the National Postal Museum, in the staff-only area. To gain access during your scheduled appointment, you may ask any National Postal Museum security officer to call the library. Someone from the library will meet you at security and bring you to your appointment. During the week, the library is staffed with one librarian and one library technician. Both the librarian and the technician rotate to another location, so it is necessary to make an appointment in advance so they can adjust their rotation to meet your research needs.

Using the NPM Library

Borrowing privileges are listed: here

Meals: although this museum does not have a cafe or designated eatery, Union Station is right across the street, and has many restaurants to choose from.

We look forward to seeing you during your next visit to Washington, D.C.!