The NOAA Central Library Today
The NOAA Central Library reflects the multidisciplinary needs and work of an agency that is concerned with phenomena on the surface of the sun to the depths of the oceans and center of the Earth. The volume of its collection is staggering with over 1,500,000 documents available for researchers, students, educators, and interested citizens. The Library has information on the scientific and engineering aspects of meteorology, climatology, physical oceanography, remote sensing, ecology, marine biology, fisheries science, geodesy, geophysics, marine surveying, cartography, metrology, mathematics, and statistics, among other disciplines. This diverse collection allows for the study of interdependent phenomena such as the ocean-atmosphere system, broad-based ecological studies, and the numerous difficult and challenging problems associated with the wise stewardship of our oceanic and atmospheric resources.
The Library's collections include numerous accounts of early exploration, from the polar regions to the American West. In addition, it houses the climatological records for over 100 nations, daily United States weather maps dating back to 1872, many early pilot charts, and many volumes from pre-war Europe and Japan found nowhere else. The Library also has a large map and atlas collection, which includes hundreds of environmental atlases displaying numerous thematic elements. Lastly, the NOAA Central Library holds significant collections of scientific reports from academic organizations and government agencies.
NOAA Library's Rare Book Room
Approximately 40 percent of the NOAA Central Library's collection is unique. Of these unique items, over 400 were printed prior to 1800. The two oldest works were printed in 1485 and 1494, respectively. In general, the Library's Rare Book Room houses books published prior to 1860. Many works of later vintage are also stored here, including those concerned with the history of NOAA's ancestor agencies, many that help trace the birth of the American scientific community, and the titles that make up the collection of rare 19th century oceanography books featured on the NOAA 200th Anniversary Web site.