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, the Prairie Research Institute Library formed from the merger of the four State Scientific Survey Libraries, the Illinois Natural History Survey Library, Illinois State Geological Survey Library, Illinois State Water Survey Library, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Library.
Our combined library collection contains more than 58,000 cataloged titles and more than 94,000 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, and natural history, and natural resources of all types with a focus on topics relevant to Illinois and the surrounding region.
The Illinois Natural History Survey has had a long-standing collaborative relationship with the University Library through which funds to support natural history research are included in the Life Sciences Division's collections budget allocation. Library collections to support the Illinois Natural History Survey have been funded by the primarily by the University Library, but also from allocations from the Illinois Natural History Survey and charitable contributions including the John Bouseman Endowment, has always been included in the University Library's Online Catalog and considered a part of the University Library's Collection.
The collections of the other State Scientific Surveys were funded by those Surveys, prior to 2010 were not included in the University Library catalog. In 2009, the Institute Librarians received funding from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) and additional funding from the University Library to add these Survey Library catalogs to the University Library's Online Catalog to make them more readily available to Institute staff, the campus community, and researchers across the state. ISTC and ISWS library collections have been added to the University Library Online Catalog and are available for loan both on campus and statewide through I-Share; addition of the ISGS Library collections began in summer 2011 and is expected to be complete by summer 2012.
The process of physically moving the materials into the Prairie Research Institute Library is ongoing. Until items are moved, they will appear in the Online Catalog in "request only" locations at ISTC, ISWS, and ISGS. These materials, like those in the University Library's Oak St. Facility, may be requested for pickup at any University Library or I-Share service desk, or for campus mail delivery.