U.S. Geological Survey Library

The largest earth science library in the world is the U.S. Geological Survey Library.  Congress authorized a Library for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 1879 and it was formally established in 1882.  At the time no specific classification scheme existed for such a specialized library, so one was developed in 1904 for use in an earth science library.  The library started with 1,400 books and today the library holds over 1.7 million books and journals, 700,000 maps, 370,000 microforms, 270,000 pamphlets, 260,000 black-and-white photographs, 60,000 color transparencies, 15,000 field record notebooks, and 250 videocassettes.  The library’s special collections include the Heringen Collection, a group of military texts and maps, looted by the Nazis and hidden in a potash mine in Heringen, Hesse, Germany.  These materials on road development, mining, water resources, and construction were then transported by the U.S. military at the end of WWII as captured war materials and then integrated into the collection of the USGS library.  There are many other things to explore including state and world geological surveys, a National Geologic Map database, and a Digital Library for Earth System Education.

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