NOAA Central Library

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NOAA Central Library

The Silver Spring Metro Complex, which includes the NOAA Central library in building three
Agency overview
Formed 1977
Jurisdiction United States government
Headquarters Silver Spring, Maryland

The NOAA Central Library is located in Silver Spring, Maryland at the Silver Spring Metro Complex (SSMC). It is a research library for the use of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employees, though the public is able to use the facility with some advance notice. Previously in Rockville, Maryland until 1993, the library is part of the headquarters for NOAA, which includes the National Weather Service (NWS). Their general collection is exhaustive, and includes a variety of scientific and meteorological books, journals, magazines, microfilm and microfiche.

Within their microfilm collection are decades of surface weather observations and surface weather analyses from the United States and Japan. Their facility includes a microfilm scanner. The library's rare book collection includes volumes over 600 years old.[1] Their digital image collection is extensive, and hosted on their website.


The NOAA Central Library is part of the SSMC, a set of tall buildings just south of downtown near the Silver Spring Metro station. It is located in a building known as SSMC3, at 1315 East-West Highway, and takes up the entire second floor of this multistory building.[2] It is part of a network of over 30 libraries.[3]


The first library in the series was the Coast & Geodetic Survey library founded in 1811. The Signal Corps library was founded in 1871, and evolved into the Weather Bureau library by 1890. In 1970, with the formation of NOAA, the libraries of the National Weather Service, Coast Survey, and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) merged into the NOAA Central library.[3] In 1977, the Atmospheric Sciences and Marine and Earth Sciences Libraries merged into one entity. During 1978, the Library and Information Services Division (LISD) was established to manage NOAA Library System. The LISD became a component of the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC).[4]

Part of the NOAA Central library is from the former United States Weather Bureau library, itself descended from the United States Signal Corps library. Most books formerly within the Weather Bureau library are located within the M collection, which is searchable via card catalog, rather than their digital catalog online. The library was previously located in Rockville, Maryland just northwest of Old Georgetown Road until 1993. Its website became established in 1995.[4]


An image from the 500th brown bag seminar, held on January 27, 2012. On the right is Jane Lubchenco.

Conferences and brown bag seminars which discuss NOAA research are held in the lobby area just inside the double doors, near the librarian's desk in the library reading area.[5] This is also the location of the microfilm scanner. Paper scientific journals are located within its northwest portion. Their oversize collection is within its southeast portion. The northeast portion contains internal technical memoranda from the National Weather Service. Offices of the library are within its southern portion and around its periphery.


NOAA employees can visit the library and register for book checkout. Visiting scientists, contracted labor, and others fill out a special form with their superiors signature. Those at other library locations can check out information via an interlibrary loan, like any other library.[2] The library is open from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. on weekdays.[5]


The library contains data and published works from across the world from many different countries, including Cuba, Thailand, Canada, and Italy. Over 2500 science and engineering articles are stored, mostly in English.[3] Around 40 percent of their collection is unique.[6] The NOAA Photo Library has over 32,000 images online dealing with the work, observations, and study of those in the agency.[7] It is a selective federal depository library for United States publications.[5]

Role within data digitization[edit]

The NOAA Central Library has been active within the Climate Digital Modernization Program (CDMP), which is headquartered at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina. They have digitized foreign climate data books, the United States Daily Weather Map series, and Monthly Weather Review articles.[8] Researchers at the library from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC, now the Weather Prediction Center or WPC) are digitizing the library's microfilm North American and Northern Hemispheric map collections, originally created by the National Meteorological Center (NMC).[9]


In 1999 the NOAA Central Library organized over 500 NOAA internet sites under a single locator and created a significant digital image library of meteorological images from the 1800s to the 1950s, which won the Federal Library and Information Center Committee award.[10]


  1. ^ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Central Library (2010-08-17). "Rare and Archival". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  2. ^ a b National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Central Library (2011-07-20). "Hours, Use, and Directions". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  3. ^ a b c Albert E. Theberge, Jr. (Fall 2005). "The NOAA Central Library: A Resource for Historians and Scientists". American Institute of Physics Newsletter 37 (2). Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  4. ^ a b National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Central Library (2008-03-31). "Mission and History". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  5. ^ a b c NOAA Central Library (2012-02-11). "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NOAA Libraries" (PDF). National Oceanographic Data Center. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  6. ^ National Ocean Service (2007-06-07). "The NOAA Central Library Today". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  7. ^ NOAA Central Library (2009-09-30). "Welcome!". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  8. ^ National Climatic Data Center (2008-08-22). "CDMP NOAA Tasks". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  9. ^ National Centers for Environmental Prediction (January 2012). "HPC Scanning". NCEP Quarterly Newsletter (4) (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  10. ^ Access America Awards (2000-03-06). "Federal Libraries and Information Centers, Librarians and Technicians Win FLICC Awards". Cyber Cemetery. Retrieved 2012-04-27. 

External links[edit]