The Linda Hall Library holds over half a million monograph volumes and more than 48,000 journal titles related to science, technology, engineering, and their histories. The Library’s collections are exceptionally strong in the engineering disciplines, chemistry, and physics, but it also has impressive holdings in natural history, astronomy, environmental and earth sciences, aeronautics, life sciences, infrastructure studies, and mathematics. Thanks to longstanding exchange partnerships dating to before the Cold War, the Library retains large amounts of material related to science in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Beyond monographs and serials, the Library collects reference works, conference proceedings, government publications, technical reports, and unpublished engineering society conference papers. It maintains a collection over 200,000 industrial standards, many of which are unavailable elsewhere in the United States. The Linda Hall Library also has a substantial collection of patent literature and is an officially sanctioned Patent and Trademark Resource Center.

Throughout its history, the Linda Hall Library has benefited from the acquisition of several historically significant collections.

In 1946, it purchased the entire library of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, including its rare books and extensive collection of scientific periodicals, pamphlets, and reprints. In 1985, the Franklin Institute transferred hundreds of its serial titles to Kansas City. A decade later, the Library absorbed the collections of the Engineering Societies Library, obtaining a nearly comprehensive set of publications from its five founding organizations:

  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME)

History of Science

The Linda Hall Library’s History of Science Collection contains over 10,000 printed books from the fifteenth century to the present, as well as long runs of scientific journals dating from the seventeenth century. Additional materials to support historical scholarship are available in the Library’s general collections. Further information about the History of Science Collection’s strengths can be found here.

Digital Collections

The Library’s digital collections provide access to significant, rare, and fragile items from its collections. Researchers can access nearly 250,000 digitized images of books, maps, photographs, and manuscripts, as well as collections inspired by previous Library exhibitions.

Electronic Resources

Linda Hall Library subscribes to Ei Compendexthe online database for engineers and scientists with engineering-related interests. Ei Compendex, together with its companion backfile, provides access to millions of citations and abstracts for literature as far back as 1884. The robust platform has an online thesaurus for targeted searching and powerful information management tools. Researchers can find relevant content from sources that include peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, standards, dissertations, and patents. 

Compendex is available for in-library use only.

The library has other databases as well. See Databases and Other Electronic Resources at Linda Hall Library.