Library Collections


The foundation for the Linda Hall Library's collection was determined by the original Board of Trustees who defined the Library's area of specialization as "covering the fields of basic science and technology." Since other local and regional libraries collected, and continue to collect materials in clinical medicine, dentistry, and business, these subjects were excluded from the Library's collection policy. The collection policy emphasizes the acquisition of journals and other serial publications. Monographs, conference proceedings, indexes and abstracts, documents, technical reports, and other reference materials are also acquired to support the journal collection. Although the Library has regularly acquired material since 1946, several acquisitions are specifically worth noting.

The Library's first major purchase was the library collection of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1946. This acquisition provided a strong foundation for the Library's collections including journals, rare books, and the exchange program that supports the interchange of material with foreign academies and societies.

A second significant acquisition occurred in 1985 when part of the library of the Franklin Institute was transferred from Philadelphia. Nearly 600 serial titles were added to the Linda Hall Library, increasing or completing runs of serials titles, and adding new titles. In 1995, the Engineering Societies Library (ESL) was transferred to Library, an acquisition equal in significance to the Academy collection, and greater in terms of the number of volumes received. The ESL collection added depth to both the journal and monograph collections, especially with material published before 1950.

Who uses the Linda Hall Library?

The collections of the Linda Hall Library are frequently used by researchers, students, engineers, attorneys, and will be of interest to anyone seeking to broaden their knowledge of current advances in science, engineering, and technology as well as the historical or philosophical aspects of those topics. In addition to monographs, the casual or professional reader will find long runs of journals, conference proceedings, reference works, government publications and technical reports, industrial standards, engineering society conference papers, and U.S. patents.


The Library's serial holdings are exceptionally strong in mathematics, astronomy, physics, and chemistry. The Library also collects extensively in geology and biology including microbiology, molecular biology and genetics. Practitioners in applied life science fields will find related materials including soil science, biochemistry and physiology.

Engineering & Technology

With its 1995 acquisition of the Engineering Societies Library, the Library offers technical meeting papers from each associated engineering society, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME). Additionally, the collection of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) broadens an already strong collection in Aerospace engineering and history. The Library also owns a significant collection of historical and current engineering standards and specifications issued by industry and government.


Users inside the library have access to some of the major abstracting and indexing databases in the sciences, engineering, and technology, including:

  • Web of Science (Science Citation Index)
  • BIOSIS Previews
  • Compendex
  • GeoRef

Difficult to Find Engineering Papers Database

This database contains paper numbers needed to find many engineering societies papers. The database is limited in scope. Please contact Reference Services for help with papers not found in the database.

Historical Indexes on American Engineering Topics

Available both in the Library and remotely via the Web. The indexes in this group come from the engineering collections at the Linda Hall Library. They are not indexes on the history of engineering but indexes from the history of engineering, (i.e. original documents indexing the publications of their time)

For more information about the Library's collections, please contact Daryl Limpus, Head of Collection Development at 816.926.8704 or

Home | Terms & Conditions | Library Rules | Privacy Policy | Wireless Use Policy | Contact Webmaster
Bookmark and Share
© 2003-2014, Linda Hall Library, All Rights Reserved
5109 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO 64110-2498
Library Hours:
Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Phone: 816.363.4600 or 800.662.1545
Connect with us Facebook Twitter Tumblr Vimeo Flickr