Join us for Adopt-a-Book Evening

Erin Rushing : September 14, 2015 9:00 am : Advancement and Development, Events

On October 8th, we invite you to enjoy an evening celebrating French food, wine and culture while exploring and adopting Smithsonian Libraries Rare Books. Guests will have the opportunity to browse a trove of remarkable and historic volumes and are invited to learn more about the Libraries’ special collections and why they must be preserved. Each book featured will be available for adoption. Gifts will benefit the Libraries’ rare books and preservation programs. Donations are fully tax-deductible charitable contributions.


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Thursday, October 8, 2015
Smithsonian Castle
1000 Jefferson Drive SW Washington, DC 20560

Admission: $40 per guest. Complimentary Valet Parking. Purchase Tickets.

Space is limited. RSVP by October 1, 2015.

Contact or 202.633.2241 with questions.

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Roundtable on Artists’ Books – September 16th

Erin Rushing : September 8, 2015 9:00 am : Art and Design, Education and Outreach, Events, Exhibitions

To commemorate the opening of our newest exhibit, Artists’ Books and Africa, six artists will discuss how they develop and produce artist books. Panelists will address the inspiration for and recurring themes within their creations. The history of artist books in Africa will also be discussed. Curator Janet Stanley will lead a tour of the exhibit immediately following the discussion.


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Fun with #FantasticObjects

Erin Rushing : August 14, 2015 9:00 am : Collection Highlights, Education and Outreach, Events, Exhibitions, History and Culture

On Friday, August 7th, the Smithsonian Libraries and the National Museum of American History hosted a tweetup in the recently renovated Innovation wing (First Floor, West) of the museum. Fifteen Twitter followers joined us for special curator-led tours of Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project, Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910 and the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. The group of tweeters represented a fun mix of educators, book lovers, and history enthusiasts. Participants came from as far away as Kansas and Connecticut! more »

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#FantasticObjects Tweet Up with National Museum of American History!

Erin Rushing : July 21, 2015 9:00 am : Education and Outreach, Events, Exhibitions

Join us for a Tweet Up with the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Libraries!

Friday, August 7, 9:00-10:30 A.M. (EDT).

To celebrate the opening of the Innovation Wing in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, 10 lucky Twitter followers will have the opportunity to experience a special tour of two of the wing’s exhibits led by Smithsonian experts and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. more »

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What’s in a Name? The Related Talents of Mark Catesby and Gertrude Jekyll

Julia Blakely : June 22, 2015 9:00 am : Art and Design, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Collection Highlights, Events, History and Culture

The Catesby Commemorative Trust launched the publication of The Curious Mister Catesby with a program at the National Museum of Natural History this past April. Smithsonian Libraries’ own Leslie Overstreet, a contributor to these various perspectives on Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama islands (London, 1729-1747), spoke on that work’s long, complicated printing history. Another speaker, E. Charles Nelson, presented his research into the naturalist’s biography. His mention of the author’s maternal family name, Jekyll, caught my attention˗˗could this early 18th-century Englishman, who produced the great study of the flora and fauna of colonial America, be related to the later renowned horticulturist, influential garden designer and wonderful writer Gertrude Jekyll? more »


Herding the Fuzzy Bits: What do you do after Crowdsourcing?

Grace Costantino : June 17, 2015 9:00 am : Biodiversity Heritage Library, Conference Notes, Education and Outreach, Events

So you’re a library or museum and you’ve been crowdsourcing and now you’ve collected lots of fantastic data. What do you do with it?

Or maybe you’ve been thinking about crowdsourcing but you’re not sure how you would integrate what you get with the data you already have.

The truth is that crowdsourcing often yields lots of fuzzy data and fuzzy solutions for reintegration with existing content. It can be challenging to figure out how to herd all of that fuzziness together in a useful way for reuse in your own project, library, or database. more »

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Smithsonian Libraries Observes the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day

Sharad J. Shah : May 4, 2015 8:49 am : Collection Highlights, Events, History and Culture, Holidays and Special Occasions, New and Notable, Research

History in the Making…

In addition to rare books and special collections housed in the DeWitt Clinton Ramsey Room, one of the valuable resources located in the National Air and Space Museum’s Library is its rich and diverse collection of books and journals which focus on the meteoric rise and advances in the field of aviation during World War II. May 8th marks the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, or “Victory in Europe Day”. To commemorate this historic occasion, organizations including the Commemorative Air Force, Texas Flying Legends, Fagen Fighters, and the Fighter Factory are coming together for the World War II Victory Capitol Flyover.

Glimpse of the stacks in the NASM Library (Sharad J. Shah)

Glimpse of the stacks in the NASM Library (Sharad J. Shah)

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A collection of quotes for National Library Week

Erin Rushing : April 17, 2015 9:00 am : Education and Outreach, Events, History and Culture, Holidays and Special Occasions

If you’ve been following our social media posts for National Library Week (#NLW15), you may have seen a few of our favorite library and book related quotes. In case you missed them, we’ve collected them here for your viewing pleasure. For even more inspiring quotes, visit, a project of the American Library Association. more »

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Smithsonian Libraries hosts Catesby Commemorative Trust Book Launch

Erin Rushing : March 25, 2015 9:00 am : Biodiversity Heritage Library, Collection Highlights, Digitization, Education and Outreach, Events


“The Red Curlew” from Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands.

Before John James Audubon, Englishman and naturalist Mark Catesby (1682-1749) was documenting the natural world.  His etchings of flora and fauna in the “new world”  of America are treasured by many.

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to host the launch of The Catesby Trust’s book tour for  The Curious Mr. Catesby: a “truly ingenious” naturalist explores new worlds, with speakers Dr. Charles Nelson, David E. Elliot  and our own Curator of Natural History Rare Books, Leslie K. Overstreet. Learn more with a question and answer panel and explore this new publication, which includes facsimiles of Catesby’s original watercolors. We invite you to join us for this interesting and unique experience. more »

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Garden Stories Twitterchat with the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Erin Rushing : March 13, 2015 9:00 am : Biodiversity Heritage Library, Education and Outreach, Events, Natural and Physical Sciences

“Garden Stories” is a week long social media event for garden lovers from the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The campaign will explore the fascinating world of gardening, from the rise of agriculture to the home garden and the mail order gardening phenomenon. Celebrating the history, science, and art of gardening, content will be published via the BHL Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Pinterest, with additional posts through the Smithsonian Libraries’ Tumblr.

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