Botanica Magnifica images at Smithsonian Libraries

In his large-format images, photographer Jonathan Singer captures the essence of plant form, color, and texture, thereby enhancing the viewer’s appreciation of the complexity of the botanical world.  Collaborating with scientists in the Smithsonian’s Department of Botany, the large-format photographs focus on the Smithsonian’s living plant collections.  Each photo was taken with a high-resolution digital camera and printed on hand-made paper with special inks. Jonathan Singer donated the first set of this monumental five-volume work to the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Botany and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. Images from Botanica Magnifica will be on display in the Smithsonian Libraries exhibition case located in the National Museum of Natural History (10th St. and Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC), ground floor lobby, through October 2008. Since the Smithsonian’s copy of the “Botanica magnifica” is held in a research library behind the scenes, visitors who wish to see it are requested to call several days in advance to arrange an appointment: (202) 633-1184.    

Hard Hat Tour of Pennsy Drive facility

2008-05-29-dscn3908Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic Smithsonian Libraries’ staff visited the new Pennsy Drive facility near Landover, Maryland on May 29. The Pennsy Drive facility will house the Book Conservation Lab, the SIL Imaging Center, binding operations and also provide a reading room and shelf space for over 500,000 volumes. The Libraries will begin moving into the new space sometime in the fall. Pictured above: (left to right) Dave Bartlett, Lu Rossignol, Marcia Adams, Martin Kalfatovic, Nancy Gwinn, Laudine Creighton, David Holbert, and Eliza Gilligan

ALA President delivers Fortieth Anniversary Lecture

ALA President, Loriene Roy, Ashinabe, Professor at the University of Texas Austin, iSchool, delivered the first in the Smithsonian libraries 40th anniversary lecture series on May 12, 2008. In covering the wide topic of America’€™s Libraries: Expanding Collections, Services, and Facilities,"€ Dr. Roy began by reminding her audience that 1968 was a very different place with the Beatles balanced by social turmoil. However, for  libraries, the issues were similar and included censorship, building public involvement, and preserving budgets.  Based on her 320 days as ALA president, Dr. Roy used her media experience to identify what issues matter most.  Reporters consistently ask about the way libraries look now, the impact of the Web, gaming, and if we are a dying profession. Loriene was able to say that more young students are entering the profession, leveling the playing field and increasing the challenges of how to make libraries inclusive as employers and as a service. ALA will offer a gaming evening at Annual conference to recognize that people don’€™t divide their lives more »

Lectures and Events

Upcoming Events and Lectures from Smithsonian Libraries On the occasion of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ 40th anniversary, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL), Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) present a series of speakers who will address the Institution on the future of libraries, museums and archives in a digital world. Please join us as we gather insight from these speakers: R. David LankesNot Done Yet: Charting a new Course for LibrarianshipNovember 3, 2008 10:00 am – noonFreer Gallery of Art, Meyer Auditorium ~~~~~ Clay Shirky Finding content as a social problem November 12, 2008 2:00-4:00 National Museum of Natural History, Kerby Room ~~~~ Previously featured speakers: Loriene Roy, President of the American Library Association America’s Libraries: Expanding Collections, Services, and Facilities May 12, 2008, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Hirshhorn Museum’s Ring Auditorium ~~~~~ Gregg Silvis Library 2023: a (provoked) discussion on the future of libraries and librarians(hip) July 28, 2008, 2:00-4:00 pm National Museum of Natural History, Kerby Room (CEG-313) ~~~~~ James Neal more »

Libraries hosts a Make-A-Book activity for “Take Your Kids to Work Day”

The Libraries hosted over 20 children and their families at today’s Make-A-Book activity in the National Museum of Natural History. Children were able to make books, make their own stickers, and decorate their books with decorative papers, markers, stickers and rubber stamps. The event proved to be very popular with children and their parents! Richard Naples and Phuong Pham from Preservation Services demonstrate how to make a book  

New SIL Title with Assouline Publishing

This spring, six unique volumes from the Smithsonian Libraries’ collections will be featured in Botanicals, with text by SIL’s Curator of Natural History Rare Books, Leslie Oversteet. Exquisite plates from the volumes below illustrate this stunning work, which is focused on flowers, fruits and butterflies. Click the links to preview the illustrations in our Galaxy of Images! Maria Sibylla Merian’s Raupen wunderbare . . ., 1730. Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium,[1705] E.A. Séguy’s Insectes, 1927. E.A. Séguy’s Papillons, 1925. Jean Jules Linden’s Iconographie des Orchidées, 1885-1906 Robert John Thornton’s Temple of Flora , 1807. Click here to purchase your own copy! Image featured: Plate II from Maria Sibylla Merian’s Raupen wunderbare, 1730.

Kids Love Our Books

The average reader at the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History is somewhere between thirty and sixty years old and is either a researcher, intern, fellow, or visiting post-doc.  So imagine the fun we had hosting a handful of children from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC), an object-based learning program for kids from nine months to six years old.  As part of a segment on the sea, Josh Beasley’s kindergarten class came in to see an early adventure narrative by the 17th century pirate, William Dampier; pictures of albatross from John Gould’s Birds of Australia (1840-1848); and Gustave Doré illustrations of a seafaring ship and albatross in Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the ancient mariner (1889).  Using their best museum manners, the kids were able to see the books up close and personal.  One of the children’s parents is researcher here at the Smithsonian who went on a modern-day scientific expedition on a boat called the The Albatross so it was especially meaningful to the children.  As for more »

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