Elberta Swope

Elberta Swope

Modified & Updated: 24 Jan 2024

Source: Nyu.edu

The Dibner Library, located in Washington, D.C., is an awe-inspiring landmark that holds a significant place in the hearts of book lovers, historians, and scholars alike. With its vast collection of books, manuscripts, and archives, it is not only a treasure trove of knowledge but also a hub of research and exploration.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of the Dibner Library and uncover 18 astonishing facts that make it a true gem in the realm of libraries. From its rich history and architectural marvels to its invaluable holdings and modern facilities, we will explore the reasons why this library continues to capture the imaginations of visitors from all walks of life.

So, whether you’re a bibliophile seeking a new adventure or a history enthusiast looking to delve into the past, join us as we embark on a journey to discover the remarkable wonders of the Dibner Library.

Table of Contents

The Dibner Library is located in Washington, D.C.

The Dibner Library, renowned for its vast collection of rare books and manuscripts, is situated in the heart of Washington, D.C. This prime location allows visitors from around the world to easily access its impressive resources.

The library specializes in the history of science and technology.

With a focus on the historical development of science and technology, the Dibner Library houses an extensive collection of materials that document the advancements and discoveries in various scientific fields.

It is part of the Smithsonian Libraries.

The Dibner Library operates under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Libraries, an institution that encompasses a network of libraries within the Smithsonian Institution. This affiliation provides a wealth of resources and opportunities for research and collaboration.

The library was named after Bern Dibner.

The Dibner Library honors the philanthropist and book collector Bern Dibner, whose passion for science and technology led to the creation of this remarkable institution. His generous donations and dedication to preserving scientific knowledge are reflected in the library’s extensive holdings.

It houses over 35,000 volumes.

The Dibner Library boasts an impressive collection of over 35,000 volumes, including rare and valuable books, manuscripts, and scientific journals. The diverse range of materials ensures that researchers and enthusiasts have access to a wealth of information.

The library offers digitized resources.

In an effort to make its collection more accessible, the Dibner Library provides digitized resources that can be accessed online. This digital platform allows individuals from around the world to explore and study the library’s treasures remotely.

It hosts exhibitions and events.

The Dibner Library regularly organizes exhibitions and events to showcase its collections and promote scientific literacy. These exhibits provide a unique opportunity for visitors to engage with the history of science and technology in a dynamic and interactive way.

The library has a dedicated reading room.

The Dibner Library features a dedicated reading room, providing a tranquil environment for researchers and scholars to study and analyze the rare materials in the collection. The serene ambiance fosters a focused and productive atmosphere.

It offers research assistance.

The knowledgeable staff at the Dibner Library is committed to assisting researchers in their quest for knowledge. Whether it is locating specific resources or providing guidance on research methodologies, they are always ready to lend a helping hand.

The library has a strong emphasis on preservation.

Preservation is a top priority at the Dibner Library. With proper conservation techniques and measures in place, the library ensures the longevity and integrity of its valuable collection for future generations.

It collaborates with other institutions.

The Dibner Library actively collaborates with other cultural and scientific institutions to foster research, share knowledge, and expand access to resources. These partnerships enrich the library’s offerings and facilitate interdisciplinary exploration.

The library offers educational programs.

In addition to its research facilities, the Dibner Library provides educational programs and workshops that cater to students, educators, and lifelong learners. These programs aim to enhance scientific literacy and promote an understanding of the historical context of scientific discoveries.

It has a notable collection of early scientific texts.

The Dibner Library prides itself on its exceptional collection of early scientific texts, including works by renowned scientists such as Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei. These rare and influential works offer insights into the foundations of scientific thought.

The library houses unique manuscript collections.

Among its treasures, the Dibner Library holds unique manuscript collections that provide valuable primary source material for researchers. These manuscripts offer a glimpse into the scientific breakthroughs and innovations of the past.

It offers online exhibitions.

For those unable to visit the library in person, the Dibner Library offers online exhibitions that showcase highlights from its collection. These virtual exhibits allow individuals to explore the library’s holdings from the comfort of their own homes.

The library welcomes scholars from all disciplines.

While the Dibner Library specializes in the history of science and technology, it warmly welcomes scholars and researchers from a wide range of disciplines. The interdisciplinary nature of the library promotes cross-pollination of ideas and fosters intellectual growth.

It has a well-curated rare book collection.

The Dibner Library’s rare book collection is carefully curated, showcasing significant scientific and technological works throughout history. This collection serves as a testament to human curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge.

The library is a haven for bibliophiles.

For book enthusiasts and bibliophiles, the Dibner Library is a true haven. Its rich collection of rare and valuable books offers a unique opportunity to delve into the history of science and technology through beautifully crafted volumes.


Dibner Library is not just a typical library; it is a treasure trove of knowledge and history. With its vast collection of books, manuscripts, and rare artifacts, the library offers an immersive experience for visitors. From its stunning architecture to its innovative technological resources, Dibner Library continues to captivate and inspire all who enter its doors.The library’s commitment to preservation and accessibility is commendable. It serves as a beacon for researchers, scholars, and enthusiasts around the world. Dibner Library truly showcases the power of information and the importance of preserving our cultural heritage.Whether you’re a history buff, a science enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of libraries, a visit to Dibner Library is an experience like no other. Prepare to be amazed and leave with a deeper appreciation for the significance of knowledge and its impact on society.


1. What is the history of Dibner Library?

Dibner Library was founded in 1987 as part of the Smithsonian Libraries. It was named after Jerome and Sylvia Dibner, who generously donated their collection of rare books and manuscripts to the library.

2. What kind of materials can be found in Dibner Library?

Dibner Library houses a diverse collection of materials on the history of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. It includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, and more.

3. Are the materials in Dibner Library accessible to the public?

Yes, the materials in Dibner Library are accessible to the public. Visitors can explore the collection in the library’s reading rooms or access digital resources online.

4. Can I borrow books from Dibner Library?

No, books from Dibner Library are for in-library use only. However, visitors can make photocopies or use digital resources to access the content.

5. Are there any special events or exhibitions held at Dibner Library?

Yes, Dibner Library regularly hosts special events, exhibitions, and lectures related to the fields of science and technology. These events provide unique opportunities to engage with the collection and learn from experts in the field.