The mission of the NOAA Central Library is to support and further NOAA’s mission of promoting global environmental stewardship in order to conserve and wisely manage the Nation's marine and coastal resources; and describing, monitoring, and predicting changes in the Earth's environment in order to ensure and enhance sustainable economic opportunities. The NCRL provides scientific, technical and legislative information covering global climate change, aquaculture, coastal zone management, fisheries, meteorology, ocean/atmospheric interactions, remote sensing, cartography, geophysics, photogrammetry, GIS, and water resources to NOAA scientists, administrators, and others working in related disciplines in support of NOAA's programs.
The NCRL primarily serves the NOAA research community of federal and contract employees within the Department of Commerce as well as other government agencies. In addition, we provide services and assistance to others within the scientific community and general public. The NOAA Central Library is networked with the NOAA Library and Information Network which consists of 20 other NOAA libraries located throughout the United States each with its own uniquely-focused collection. The NOAA Central Library can access the resources of these specialized libraries and broaden the services offered to its clients. Please see the NOAA Network Libraries page for more information on the libraries included.
The library has an extensive collection of historical Coast and Geodetic Survey materials (from 1807) and Weather Bureau materials (from the 1830's), including foreign meteorological data. These materials include historical meteorological data, information on instruments, and metadata. Furthermore, the library is proud to house rare 17th century works of Francis Bacon and Robert Boyle; 18th century works from Daniel Bernouilli, Daniel Defore, and Pierre Bougher, and 19th century materials from Benjamin Franklin and George Washington Carver. The NCRL's collection is multidisciplinary and includes works in a variety of fields including (but not limited to): oceanography, ocean engineering, marine resources, ecosystems, coastal studies, atmospheric sciences (climatology and meteorology), geodesy, geophysics, cartography, mathematics, and statistics. Additionally the library holds a large collection of Local Climate Data from all states dating back, in some instances, to the late 19th century.
From C&GS original collection, handwritten note in book: Library of the Survey of the Coast" as handwritten by Ferdinand Hassler in: "Astronomie: Theorique and Pratique" by Delambre, 1814. Part of the original library of the Coast Survey.
The Library traces its origin to the collection started by F.R. Hassler, the first Superintendent of the Coast Survey, in 1811. The Weather Bureau library and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries were founded in 1871. When NOAA was established in 1970, the libraries of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the National Weather Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (formerly Bureau of Commercial Fisheries) merged into the NOAA Central Library. In 1976, the Atmospheric Sciences and the Marine and Earth Sciences Libraries merged and formed the basis of the NOAA Central Library. The Library and Information Services Division (LISD) was established to manage the NOAA Central and Regional Libraries. Eventually, the LISD was transferred to the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research in 2016 and was renamed the NOAA Central and Regional Libraries.
For more history on the the Coast and Geodetic Survey, visit the library's Coast and Geodetic Survey History page.
1807: Survey of the Coast established
1811: Coast & Geodetic Survey Library established
1870: U.S. Weather Bureau and U.S. Fisheries Commission established
1871: Weather Bureau Library started
1965: ESSA/Environmental Data Service (EDS) established
1966: Scientific Information Documentation Division established
1970: NOAA formed
1977: Atmospheric Sciences and Marine & Earth Sciences Libraries merged
1978: EDS renamed Environmental Data and Information Service (EDIS)
1978: Library and Information Services Division (LISD) established to manage NOAA Library System
1988: Library operations contract awarded
1989: The LISD becomes a component of NODC
1993: NOAA Central Library moves to Silver Spring Metro Center
1995: NOAA Central Library website created
2016: The LISD is transferred to OAR and renamed the NOAA Central and Regional Libraries
2017: Launch of the new NOAA Central and Regional Libraries website.
1807 - An Act to provide for surveying the coasts of the United States. This initial legislation led to the formation of the United States Coast Survey.
[Act of Feb. 10, 1807, Sess. II, ch. 8, 2 Stat. 413-14 (1807)]
1870 - Joint Resolution to authorize the Secretary of War to provide for taking meteorological Observations at the military Stations and at other Points in the Interior of the Continent, and for giving Notice on the northern Lakes and Seaboard of the Approach and Force of Storms. This resolution led to the formation of a Weather Service under the United States Army Signal Service.
[Act of Feb. 9, 1870, Sess. II, Res. 12, 16 Stat. 369 (1870)]
1871 - Joint Resolution for the Protection and Preservation of the Food Fishes of the Coast of the United States. This resolution established the office of Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries.
[Act of Feb. 9, 1871, Sess. III, Res. 22, 16 Stat. 593-94 (1871)]
1890 - An Act to increase the efficiency and reduce the expense of the Signal Corps of the Army, and to transfer the Weather Service to the Department of Agriculture. This act established the Weather Service as a civilian Bureau.
[Act of Oct. 1, 1890, Sess. I, ch. 1266, 26 Stat. 653-55 (1890)]
1965 - Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1965 established the Environmental Science Services Administration within the Department of Commerce.
[Reorg. Plan No. 2 of 1965, 3 C.F.R. xxx (1965), reprinted in 5 U.S.C. app. at 1517 (1994), and in 79 Stat. 1318-20 (1965), and in 30 Fed. Reg. 8819-xx (1965)]
1969 - Stratton Commission Report. Under the chairmanship of Julius A. Stratton, the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and Resources investigated a broad array of marine problems, then made recommendations in the form of Our Nation and the Sea. A Plan for National Action.
[Our Nation and the Sea. A Plan for National Action. Report of the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and Resources. United States Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 305 pp., January 1969]
1970 - Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970 established the Environmental Protection Agency and set forth the components of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and described its role in improving the understanding of marine resources.
[Reorg. Plan No. 3 of 1970, 3 C.F.R. xx (1970), reprinted in 5 U.S.C. app. at 1551-56 (1994), and in 84 Stat. xxxxxxx (1970), and in 35 Fed. Reg. xxxxxxxx (1970)]
1970 - Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970 established the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
[Reorg. Plan No. 4 of 1970, 3 C.F.R. xx (1970), reprinted in 84 Stat. 2090-93 (1970), and in 35 Fed. Reg. 15627-30 (1970), and reprinted with amendments in 5 U.S.C. app. at 1557-61 (1994)]
1970 - Executive Order No. 11564 transferred certain functions from the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation to the Secretary of Commerce as part of the implementation of Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970.
[Executive Order No. 11,609, 3 C.F.R. xx (1970), reprinted in 1970 U.S. Code Cong. and Admin. News 6296, and in 35 Fed. Reg. 15801 (1970)]
1986 - Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970 as amended. Last date amended 2012.
[Reorg. Plan No. 4, 5 U.S.C.A. App. 1 Reorg. Plan 4 1970]
Several major statutes or laws form the legal basis for the programs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
For more information on the history of NOAA, please see A History of NOAA: being a compilation of facts and figures regarding the life and times of the original whole earth agency (1987) which is available in print and online