Tools for the Researcher @ The Smithsonian Institution Libraries
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The Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL) contributes to the Institution's mission "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge" through its service to the Smithsonian in support of research, exhibitions, education programs, publishing, and the administration of the Institution. In addition, the Libraries serves the scholarly community and the public.

Collections, Resources and Services:

  • collections include: 1.5 million volumes, of which 40,000 are rare books, 2,000 manuscripts, 180,000 microfilm and microfiche, 300,000 commercial trade catalogs, representing more than 30,000 companies, dating form the mid-1800s (the nation's largest collection)
  • online catalog on the Internet at
  • Libraries' Home Page offers specialized reference information at
  • access to national databases and information networks

Services offered:

  • 20 branches located throughout the Smithsonian, on and off the National Mall
  • reference services and interlibrary loan
  • participate in reciprocal borrowing programs of OCLC and CIRLA (the Chesapeake Information and Research Library Alliance)

Professional affiliations:

  • Association of Research Libraries, composed of 119 of the largest research libraries in North America
  • CIRLA - Chesapeake Information and Research Library Alliance
  • IFLA - International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
  • FLICC - Federal Library and Information Center Committee, Federal Library Information Network
  • RLG- Research Libraries Group