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News and Events
press releases and announcements

What IS That Big Brown Building on Route One?
by Eleanor Frierson
(As originally submitted for publication in the Beltsville News January 2006.)

National Agricultural Library buildingBELTSVILLE, MD, January 2006--Some readers may know all about the 14 story brown brick building on Route One, while others may have been curious about it for some time. In case you are among the latter, the building is the Abraham Lincoln Building of the National Agricultural Library – known as NAL within the library community. Established in 1862 when the Department of Agriculture was founded by President Abraham Lincoln, NAL is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), reporting to the ARS Administrator, with the organizational status of an ARS area, similar to that of the Beltsville Area.

Most library staff and the main library collection moved to Beltsville in 1969. The library continues services in the Washington D.C. USDA buildings through

a small reference center whose facilities have been renovated and were re-opened in the spring of this year.

You may have noticed that repairs to the building’s brick surface have been underway for a year, or that the front entrance was closed for several months and re-opened recently. The repairs were necessary because the brick façade was deteriorating and cracks were appearing. All bricks, mortar and angle irons on the front and side surfaces have been checked and replaced if necessary.

The National Agricultural Library is the largest agricultural library in the world and a national treasure. In future articles library staff will describe the many services provided to the library’s customers at the library’s two facilities and via its Web site, You are most welcome to visit the library Monday-Friday, except Federal holidays, from 8:30-4:30. Tours and presentations about the library may be arranged through the Public Affairs office by calling 301 504 6778.

Last Modified: Oct 31, 2012
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