UW—Madison has offered chemistry since the 1850s, including various emphases on the many applications of chemistry to other fields. Since 1907, a library existed to support chemistry and its studies. It was first run by the secretaries since it was right next to the chemistry administrative offices, as was a common practice in smaller university departments. In 1947, the departmental collection became part of the General Library System. Since then, a professionally-trained librarian has been in charge of the materials, which includes applying standards to both cataloging and providing reference.
The Chemistry Librarian is Ariel Andrea. She told us that this is her dream job: Andrea was a chemistry major who always wanted to work in a chemistry library. Andrea helps to manage the large collection in this small library: there are over 14,000 books, 24,000 bound journal volumes, 130 journal subscriptions, access to online databases, and more.
Andrea and her team offer lots of different ways for students, faculty, and staff to study chemistry. Not only can you go to the library during open hours to ask a question, but there’s also a Twitter account @AskChemistry! Resources online include help with abbreviations and chemistry jargon, databases, patents, spectral resources, and so much more. The reference team has answered the hard questions and the interesting ones like, “Would it be toxic if I …?” Lastly, the Chemistry Library has published research guides, like this fun science experiments or an important chemical safety guide.
The Chemistry Library is located in Room 2361 of the Daniels wing of the Chemistry Building, 1101 University Avenue. Visit today, and see the beautiful sculpture “Light Spectra” by nationally-known artist Beverly Precious!
For more information, contact the Chemistry Librarian – she is happy to help!