In 1930, the University of Michigan became the permanent headquarters of the Wilson Ornithological Society and the Library was founded. It consists mainly of journal exchanges and donations by members of books, reprints, and journals, including the personal library of Josselyn Van Tyne, a Curator of Birds at the university’s Museum of Zoology and former editor of The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. Many other members and organizations have given material, and together with the University’s Bird Division Library, this collection has become one of the preeminent sources of ornithological literature in North America. The Wilson Society Library currently contains approximately 3,000 books, 4,800 bound journal volumes, 63,000 reprints (700 boxes), and 550 translations, plus dissertations, sound recordings, videos, and other miscellaneous material. Much additional material (including 4,750 books and 450 journal volumes) is in the Bird Division Library.
The Library receives approximately 210 current ornithological journals, through exchanges with other organizations for the Wilson Journal of Ornithology, as gifts from organizations and members, and through subscription. This includes most major U.S. and foreign journals as well as many state, local, and minor serials. We have complete sets of most titles. The WOS and the Bird Division also have excellent collections of extinct and minor ornithological and natural history serials. Most of the material in the WOS library is catalogued by the University of Michigan, and appears in the on-line catalogue MIRLYN. There is a lot of uncatalogued material, however (notably serials, reprints, and translations), so members should contact the Librarian if they are not otherwise able to locate an item.
Most of the collection deals with the scientific aspects of bird study, including biology, ecology, behavior, taxonomy, conservation, distribution, anatomy, and physiology. There is also a small collection dealing with veterinary aspects of ornithology. A significant part of the reprint collection consists of the papers and translations collected by Drs. A. Lucas and P. Stettenheim for the USDA Avian Anatomy project in the late 1960s.
Members of The Wilson Society may borrow items from the library. To find if items are in the library, go to the MIRLYN search page. When you get your search results, it will say Research Museums Center Birds Division. Articles from on-line journals or items in other libraries on campus can also be obtained for scanning. If necessary, WOS members may borrow items by mail, paying only return postage. For questions or requests, please email the Librarian.
Donations of serials or books needed for the collection or gifts to the New Book fund are welcomed. Please contact the Librarian before sending any items. To raise money for new books, journal subscriptions, etc., we also sell our duplicate books and journal issues.