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Inside Smithsonian Libraries

Daytime Tour

Monday, July 8, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Code: 1CSA03

Leslie Overstreet, curator of Natural-History Rare Books, reviews a volume in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History (Smithsonian Libraries)

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The largest and most diverse museum library system in the world, Smithsonian Libraries holds more than 2 million items in 21 branches in Washington, D.C., Maryland, New York, and Panama. These rich resources are used by curators, staff, researchers, and scholars throughout the Smithsonian, as well as members of the public.

Guided by outreach librarian Erin Rushing, take a rare look at some of the treasures of these holdings as you step into the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. It’s home to a dazzling and historically significant collection that covers approximately 10,000 volumes published before 1840 in fields from cultural anthropology to archeology, ornithology to geology.

The group visits the Book Conservation Annex to view how books are scanned, processed, and made available online, and also learns about the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium effort based at the Smithsonian to digitize the world’s biodiversity literature.

The behind-the-scenes work of a myriad of librarians is key to managing and maintaining these vast collections, and visitors have the opportunity to meet several of them, including specialists in rare books, book conservation, and digital collections, as well as the outreach and communications manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

The group meets in the Constitution Ave. lobby of the Natural History Museum, 10th St. and Constitution Ave., NW; a photo ID may be required.

Tour meets in the Constitution Ave lobby of
the National Museum of Natural History
(10th St & Constitution Ave NW)