The purpose of the Prairie Research Institute Library is to collect, preserve, promote, document, support, and collaborate in the scientific research and educational activities of the Institute. We provide research support and assistance to Institute staff, the University of Illinois community, and the citizens of Illinois.
In 2008, the four existing state scientific surveys (the Illinois Natural History Survey, the Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois State Water Survey, and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center) were transferred from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to the University of Illinois as the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability. In February 2010, the Illinois State Archaeological Survey joined the Institute. In May 2011, the Institute changed its name to the Prairie Research Institute. By recommendation of the Institute Library Advisory Task Force approved by the Prairie Research Institute's Executive Director, the Prairie Research Institute Library was established in June 2011 from the merger of the the Illinois Natural History Survey Library, Illinois State Geological Survey Library, Illinois State Water Survey Library, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Library.
We are advised by a committee of Institute scientists, with one representative from each participating Survey.
Our library collection contains more than 58,000 cataloged titles and more than 65,000 cataloged items, including books, journals, media and maps. In addition to the historical output of the State Scientific Surveys, our collection coverage includes earth and environmental sciences, ecology, environmental education, environmental protection and conservation, pollution prevention, natural history, and natural resources of all types, with a focus on Illinois and the surrounding region. Books and journals in the Prairie Research Institute Library may be found and requested via the University Library's Online Catalog and I-Share. Those not affiliated with the University of Illinois or an I-Share institution may request materials through their local library's interlibrary loan service.
Support for the Prairie Research Institute Library's collection comes from the University Library's natural history fund, the John K. Bouseman Natural History Library Collection Endowment fund, and the Prairie Research Institute. Purchase requests may be made through your librarian.
Whereas the former Illinois Natural History Survey Library has always functioned as a unit of the University Library, and their collection was always in the University Library's catalog, the collections of the other State Scientific Surveys (Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center) were independently funded and operated. Prior to 2010 these collections were not included in the University Library's catalog. In 2009, the Institute Librarians received external funding from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) to add the ISGS, ISWS, and ISTC library collections to the University Library's Online Catalog, which was supplemented by the University Library and the Prairie Research Institute. The ~23,000 bibliographic records that were available were added, and we continue to identify and add unique materials as we process uncataloged backlogs. This effort has made these materials much easier for researchers near and far to find and use. The move of materials from ISGS, ISWS, and ISTC to their new homes is nearing completion with ongoing support from the University Library and the Prairie Research Institute. Items remaining at ISGS, ISWS, and ISTC appear in the catalog as "request only," and may be requested for pickup at any University Library or I-Share service desk, or via campus mail delivery.