I’m starting a new recurring series here at Quintessentially Bookish today.  There are so many great libraries out there that have innovative services, unique buildings, or special collections, but peope who don’t live near them or subscribe to library publications might not be aware of their existence.  I’m going to be periodically featuring libraries that are particularly interesting in some way.  The parameters are pretty loose; if I come across a library I think would be great to share, I will.  So, keep tabs on the Library Love tag for future posts.

For this inaugural post, I’ll be talking about The National Park Service Libraries.   American Libraries Magazine contained a great feature on NPS libraries this month. If you don’t subscribe, you can read the article online here. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that, until reading the article, I wasn’t really aware of the great number of fascinating libraries NPS contains.  I suppose when visiting that I, like many others I’m sure,visited the parks more for their natural beauty than for the materials offered.  However, I will definitely be looking for the libraries on my next vacation.


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The NPS website has a section for their library service on their website.  Here you can find links to all the library locations, contact the service desk, search the catalogs, and find more information regarding the libraries.   Here are a few that I am hoping to be able to visit soon.


San Francisco Maritime Park Library

Within the Library itself are over 35,000 book and periodical titles dating from 1536 to the present, 50,000 pieces of ephemera, over 3000 maps and charts covering the Pacific Basin and the West Coast of the United States dating from 1850 to the present, audio, and video materials in multiple formats.

50,000 pieces of ephemera!  Titles dating back to 1536!  Doesn’t that just sound amazing?  In addition to this library collection, the museum on the park grounds also contains an archival collection of papers, recordings, and photos from seafarers throughout the American history, and thousands of items from sailors, including dozens of historic vessels.


National First Ladies Library

As a national archive devoted to educating people about the contributions of First Ladies and other notable women in history, the Library’s holdings fill an informational void that has long frustrated academicians and armchair history buffs alike. The Library fulfills this mission by serving as a physical educational facility and an electronic virtual library, in an effort to educate people in the United States and around the world.

Many of America’s First Ladies have contributed greatly to our country’s well-being, but their accomplishments are often forgotten in the shadow of their presidential husbands.  It’s wonderful that this park and library is so dedicated to educating people about these women and what they did.   Their collection includes such items as photos, artifacts and videos from the First Ladies, books by and about them, and research papers about them.


Yosemite Library

The Yosemite Research Library, maintained by the museum, is a research resource with some 10,000 books relevant to Yosemite, as well as photographs and articles…The Yosemite Archives, located in El Portal, contains National Park Service records, personal papers, manuscript collections, and oral histories.

The Yosemite Museum opened in 1926 and the first National Park Museum.  It now includes hundreds of thousands of items.  It’s truly amazing what they contain in their collection.  For anyone with any interest in archives, history of that area, or National Parks in general, this just seems like a goldmine (and you can even learn about goldmining!)