Visiting the Library

The NOAA Central Library serves all NOAA employees located in Silver Spring, and Suitland, Maryland, as well as those located in the Hoover Building in downtown Washington, DC. We also serve patrons who work in regional offices across the country that are not served by another NOAA library. NOAA employees and contractors are welcome to stop by during our business hours.

Public Access to the Library

Whenever possible, we try to provide access to our collection (including our Federal Depository collection of U.S. Government documents) to scholars and researchers who are not officially affiliated with NOAA. If you are not a NOAA employee or contractor, and would like to visit us, please contact the reference/information desk via e-mail ( or phone (301) 713-2600 ext. 157) to arrange a visit.


The library is generally open Monday thru Friday, excluding Government holidays, from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Notices of other exceptions will be posted at the library entrance.

Registering as a Library Patron

NOAA employees: Please visit the NOAA Central Library Reference Desk to register as a patron.

NOAA affiliates (i.e. visiting scientist, Sea Grant fellow): Please fill out the Contractor Use of NOAA Central Library form, have your COR or federal supervisor sign it, and bring it to the library to be registered as a library patron. Note: we will charge items out to you on your first visit to the Library, but the completed form is necessary for subsequent check-outs.

Only registered patrons are eligible to check out materials and access our online databases and e-journals. However, if you are not a NOAA employee or affiliate, please contact us to arrange access to our collections.

Location, Transportation and Parking

We are located on the second floor of NOAA Building III on the Silver Spring Metro Center campus:

NOAA Central Library
1315 East-West Highway
SSMC3, 2nd Floor
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Please see our information about NOAA's Silver Spring campus for transportation information and NOAA Building III garage public parking, or view a map of parking in downtown Silver Spring.

Building Access

For security reasons, access to our building is limited to NOAA and Department of Commerce employees and contractors. However, if you wish to visit the library, it may be possible to arrange a visitor pass. Please call ahead to confirm your visit.

In order to enter the building, visitors must:

  • Pass through a metal detector.
  • Arrange for a NOAA Federal employee escort, and
  • Present valid photo ID.

Due to the enforcement of the REAL ID Act, visitors to Federal buildings from the following states cannot use their driver’s license as their only form of ID:

  • Alaska
  • American Samoa
  • Arizona
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota*
  • Montana
  • New York*
  • Oklahoma
  • Washington State*
(Enhanced driver's licenses from MN, NY, and WA are acceptable.)

If you are visiting from one of these states, you will need to present either one document from the following list:

  • Federal ID (PIV card, including CAC cards)
  • U.S. or foreign passport
  • Permanent resident (green) card
  • U.S. Miliary I.D.
Or two documents from the following list (one of which must include a photo):
  • ID card issued by federal, state or local government (e.g. a non-REAL ID compatible driver's license)
  • School ID
  • Voter registration card
  • Native American tribal document
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • U.S. citizen ID card
  • Student green card
  • Employment Authorization document issued by DHS