Library Reference Services

The reference services from Smithsonian Libraries are available to both Smithsonian staff and the general public. We provide the following services to both the staff and public:

  • One-on-one help from a subject specialist librarian who can make recommendations for advanced research resources. Librarians can provide assistance on-site at a library branch or virtually.
  • Help in finding specific materials within a collection and guidance on how to use them (eBooks, multimedia, dissertations, etc.).
  • Orientations for patrons who are new to using libraries and research. This includes help with developing information, computer, and digital skills needed to access and understand research resources.
  • Tools needed to facilitate research, such as computers, photocopiers, and scanners. Library staff will aid patrons in utilizing these tools.

The following reference services are reserved for Smithsonian staff:

  • Advanced research consultation offered on-site at a library branch or virtually. Some library staff will also provide on-site reference in your office.
  • Assistance with resources to help Smithsonian staff plan, organize, share, and save research. This includes training on citation management programs, support for adding publications to Smithsonian Research Online, and creating and editing Smithsonian Profiles.
  • Customized trainings or orientations to the Libraries, their collections, and other research resources. Find what is already available via our Training Opportunities page.
  • Help with identifying, locating, and requesting resources through Interlibrary Loan.
  • Development of both systematic and literature reviews on specific subjects.

If you are interested in contacting library reference staff for assistance, we ask you to follow these steps:

  • First, consult the FAQs. You may find the answer to your question there.
  • Contact a librarian at any one of our 21 branches. Each branch specializes in specific subjects with librarians who are available to help answer your questions during weekday business hours
  • Still need assistance or don’t know whom to contact? You can get help by completing the Library Contact Form.
Last Updated March 30, 2021