The Biodiversity Heritage Library celebrates 10 years!

Grace Costantino : April 11, 2016 9:00 am : Biodiversity Heritage Library, Digitization, Events, Natural and Physical Sciences, Research, Special Collections

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL,!


Since 2006, the Biodiversity Heritage Library has transformed the way scientists, researchers, and librarians around the world access knowledge about and study life on Earth. In order to document Earth’s species and understand the complexities of swiftly-changing ecosystems in the midst of a major extinction crisis and widespread climate change, scientists need something that no single library can provide – access to the world’s collective knowledge about biodiversity. Beyond the scientific realm, such information also allows scholars to answer complex research questions related to human exploration, culture, and the history of science. Through a worldwide partnership of natural history and botanical libraries, BHL has become the largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature, allowing everyone, everywhere to freely access library collections from across global and empowering research like never before.

We’re celebrating our anniversary with our #BHLat10 campaign this week, 11-15 April 2016. The campaign highlights BHL’s impact on the global science community; our history, growth, and Member and Affiliate contributions; and collections that highlight our 10th anniversary theme. Content will be published through our blog, Twitter, and Facebook. We also have a Flickr collection made up of the most-viewed albums from our Members and Affiliates. Finally, check out the most-downloaded books from each of our Members and Affiliates in our BHL book collection. Learn more about our campaign here:

We’ll also have programming throughout the week that celebrates our 10th anniversary and highlights our #BHLat10 themes. Check out our full list of programs below:


From Shelf to Screen

In the past 10 years, BHL’s collections have grown to over 48 million pages! Find out how a book goes from a library’s shelves to BHL by going behind-the-scenes at the Smithsonian Libraries’ digitization lab!

When? 10am EST/3pm BST, 11 April 2016



BHL Day at the Natural History Museum, London

A programme highlighting BHL’s impact on the global science community and featuring speakers from biodiversity-related disciplines.

When? 1-6pm BST, 12 April 2016

Where? Follow #BHLDay to join the live tweeting of this event.


Let’s Talk Impact: An Interview with Rod Page at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Join us for a live interview at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with Martin R. Kalfatovic (@UDCMRK), BHL Program Director, and Rod Page (@rdmpage), creator of BioStor (@biostor_org), for a discussion about BHL’s impact on science and possibilities for the future.

When? 11am EST/4pm BST, 13 April 2016

Where? Google Hangouts:


Behind the Scenes at Tring

BHL’s partner libraries are full of amazing treasures. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at selections from the Ornithology and Rothschild Libraries’ incredible collections at the Natural History Museum at Tring.

When? 6:10am EST/11:10am BST, 15 April 2016



It’s a great week to celebrate our 10th anniversary because it’s also the American Library Association’s National Library Week. This year’s NLW theme is #LibrariesTransform. BHL has been transforming scientific research for 10 years, helping scientists identify, describe, and save Earth’s biodiversity. Explore interviews with actual users to see how BHL supports science and education (and even humanities research in history and art!). Visit our website to learn more about the tools, services, and citizen science initiatives that BHL provides and supports to help further transform biodiversity research around the world.



To help ensure that BHL continues to transform biodiversity research for decades to come, we’ve launched a CafePress store with products celebrating our 10th anniversary and featuring images from our collection. We’ve launched the store with a small selection of images from BHL, but we’ll be expanding this selection in the future as we continue to develop our store. 100% of the proceeds that BHL receives from the sale of these products will be used to digitize more books for BHL. Check out the store today!



And if merchandise isn’t your thing, but you want to help support BHL’s future, consider making a tax-deductible gift to help us continue to support science and research around the world.

Happy Birthday, BHL!

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“Explore the Four” for Museum Day Live! 2016

Erin Rushing : March 8, 2016 9:00 am : Education and Outreach, Events, Exhibitions

Join the Smithsonian Libraries and the wider Smithsonian community as we explore careers in museums, libraries and research through Museum Day Live! 2016. Special events and opportunities will be held throughout the Smithsonian on March 12, 2016, as well as nation-wide through participating institutions. According to the Museum Day Live! website, “held during Women’s History Month, this “special edition” of  “Museum Day Live!” will encourage all people, and particularly women and girls of color, to explore their nation’s museums, cultural institutions, zoos, aquariums, parks and libraries—which will offer free admission for the day.” more »

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Join us for “Indoor Recess”!

Liz O'Brien : March 4, 2016 9:00 am : Education and Outreach, Events, Exhibitions, Food and Drink


Participants get crafty with “Indoor Recess”.

On February 5th, the Smithsonian Libraries presented its first Indoor Recess, a creative lunchtime getaway geared toward museum professionals and educators. Led by Sara Cardello, the Libraries’ education specialist, the monthly Recess events seek to fuse libraries and art. Participants are invited to bring their lunch, listen to a fun story by a museum professional, and make a themed craft. The next Indoor Recess is happening today at noon!

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Georges Méliès and his Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination

Doug Dunlop : February 29, 2016 9:00 am : Events, Exhibitions

Georges Méliès as the magician in The Vanishing Lady (Star Film, 1896)

Georges Méliès as the magician in Escamotage d’une dame chez Robert-Houdin (The Conjuring of a Woman at the House of Robert-Houdin, Star Film, 1896) (link here) .

Born in 1861 in Paris, Georges Méliès started his artistic endeavors as a child. By the age of ten,  he was building his own stage sets for marionette shows and drawing caricatures of his teachers. Méliès continued his artistic and theatrical pursuits, including studying magic, despite his father wanting him to work solely in the family shoe business. In time, the family business was successful enough that Méliès was able to buy his own Paris theater: Théâtre Robert-Houdin.

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Museum Day Live: Exploring Careers in Libraries and Preservation

John M. Keeling : February 24, 2016 9:00 am : Collection Highlights, Education and Outreach, Events, The Fix (Preservation)

In anticipation of Smithsonian Libraries’ participation in this year’s Museum Day Live events on Saturday March 12th, we wanted to highlight Library Preservation work at the Book Conservation Lab here at Smithsonian Libraries, and draw attention to the varied interests and skills that are inherent to Preservation work and are important and driving forces in preserving library collections for the future. more »

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Upcoming events in March

Erin Rushing : February 19, 2016 9:00 am : Education and Outreach, Events, Exhibitions

Mark your calendars! The Smithsonian Libraries invites you join us for two free events in March related to our current exhibitions:


Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination
Georges Méliès Film Screening and Lecture by Matthew Solomon

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 at 5:30pm
Warner Bros Theater
National Museum of American History
12th St and Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC

RSVP by clicking here

Georges Méliès was one of the most prolific early filmmakers. He and his collaborators produced more than 520 short films in France between 1896 and 1913. In this presentation, Matthew Solomon (University of Michigan) will discuss Méliès’ extraordinary career as a magician, caricaturist, and filmmaker, while considering his relationship to the nineteenth-century tradition of science fiction and the Incoherent art movement. The presentation will include screenings of two of Méliès’ fantastic voyage films, A TRIP TO THE MOON (1902) and AN IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE (1904).

Some of Méliès’ forays into science fiction film, including the famous Le Voyage Dans La Lune from 1902, are highlighted in the Smithsonian Libraries’ exhibition Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910.

Matthew Solomon, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Screen Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan, where he teaches film history and theory. He is the author of Disappearing Tricks: Silent Film, Houdini, and the New Magic of the Twentieth Century, winner of the Kraszna-Krausz award for best moving image book in 2011, and of the BFI Film Classics monograph The Gold Rush, published in 2015. He is the editor of Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination: Georges Méliès’s Trip to the Moon, the 2011 book for which he also produced an accompanying critical edition DVD.


For access services please contact or 202.633.2241, preferably 2 weeks prior to the program.
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#ColorOurCollections Coloring Event

Erin Rushing : January 29, 2016 9:00 am : Art and Design, Collection Highlights, Education and Outreach, Events, Exhibitions

Color in a New Light coloring pages_Page_1From Feburary 1-5, 2016 the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) is encouraging cultural institutions and crayon enthusiasts to join together for #ColorOurCollections. Institutions such as NYAM, the Biodiversity Heritage Library and the Smithsonian Libraries will provide inspiration and coloring sheets for artists of all ages to fill in. Colorers can share their creations on social media by tagging the organization and using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.

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A funny thing happened on the way to my internship: What I accidentally learned in my first week as an AA/PG intern

Anne Evenhaugen : January 25, 2016 9:00 am : Art and Design, Events, Exhibitions, Intern and Volunteer Updates

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

This post was written by American Art/Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library intern Sharon Wolff. Sharon is an MSIS grad student at SUNY at Albany in New York, and came down to DC to intern with the AA/PG from the end of December through most of January. She primarily worked on cataloging the Art and Artist Files while she was there, along with the upcoming Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here exhibit.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I was accepted as an intern for the Smithsonian AA/PG Library in DC, but I certainly could not have predicted that I would accompany Anne Evenhaugen to George Mason University to pick up artists’ books and prints for an exhibition on my second day. I wasn’t even sure what an artist’s book was, so the whole trip was a great learning opportunity for me! more »

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Explore “Color in a New Light” on Periscope & Twitter

Erin Rushing : January 19, 2016 9:00 am : Art and Design, Collection Highlights, Events, Exhibitions

At the end of the month, the Smithsonian Libraries will open Color in a New Light, a new exhibition highlighting the role of color in our lives, from science to fashion and everything in between.  Even if you’re not able to visit the show in person in the National Museum of Natural History ,  we invite you to join us as we explore color through several interactive social media events.


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November twenty-six, nineteen hundred sixty-three.

Anne Evenhaugen : November 27, 2015 9:00 am : Advancement and Development, Art and Design, Collection Highlights, Events, homepage, Special Collections


November twenty-six, nineteen hundred sixty-three, poem

November twenty-six, nineteen hundred sixty-three, poem

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy Jr. on November 22, 1963, ultimately ushered in a decade of turmoil and distress in the United States. The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement for African Americans were two of many struggles facing the American people in the 1960s. more »

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