Biological and Biomedical Sciences


The collection’s primary function is to support research and teaching programs in the biology departments.  The biology collection originally came from the collections at the Osborn Zoological Library, the Osborn Botanical Library, the Bingham Oceanographic Library, and the Biophysics Library (all departmental libraries) when the Kline Biology Tower was built in 1966. 

Present collecting emphasizes the current and authoritative biological sciences literature.

Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported

Departments and Programs

  • Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
  • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Department of Genetics
  • Microbial Diversity Institute
  • Systems Biology Institute
  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Peabody Museum of Natural History
  • Yale Herbarium
  • Marsh Botanical Garden
  • Neuroscience
  • Microbiology
  • Yale School of Environmental Studies
  • Biomedical Engineering

Subjects collected include:

aquatic sciences, biochemistry, bioinformatics, biomathematics, biophysics, biostatistics, botany and plant sciences, computational biology, developmental biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, embryology, entomology, ethology, fisheries, freshwater biology, genetics, genomics, herpetology, horticulture and plant culture, ichthyology, immunology, limnology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, mycology, neurobiology, neuroscience, nutrition, organismal biology, phylogeny, physiology, reproductive biology, stem cell research, systems biology, structural biology, taxonomy, virology, zoology.

The departments offer graduate and undergraduate degrees and have active faculty researchers.


Generally clinical titles are not collected, as they are in the Medical Library’s scope. Ornithology collecting is selective, aimed at acquiring titles that might be best as circulating copies. Creationism and intelligent design are excluded as are treatments where evolution is considered controversial.

Formats collected

Formats and materials acquired generally

Monographs are collected in both print and electronic formats, with efforts to avoid duplication of titles. Research periodicals and scholarly monographs from academic, trade, and professional society publishers are of high interest.

  •  Scholarly journals, online preferred
  •  Reference works, online preferred
  •  Scholarly monographs
  •  Databases
  •  Field guides
  •  Handbooks
  •  Biographical works

Materials acquired selectively or by request

  •  Laboratory manuals
  •  Pictorial works
  •  Video/DVD
  •  Reprints (only acquired when the original is missing or declared lost)

Materials not collected

  •  Ephemera
  •  Instructor’s manuals
  •  Hardware and software manuals
  •  Juvenile works
  •  Pamphlets
  •  Preprints
  •  Manuscripts
  •  Microform
  •  Consumable workbooks

Languages collected

English is the primary language collected. At times works selected will be multilingual with English as one of the languages. Some of the International Collections librarians occasionally supply zoology or botany books in non-English languages; those are added to the collection primarily for their photographic value.

Chronological and geographical focus

Current materials are emphasized. Recently-published materials are given top priority. Monographs published in the last 3-5 years may be acquired when requested by patrons.

The coverage of the collection is international. No geographic areas are excluded if the work is relevant.

Collaborations within Yale

  • Ornithology Library (a non-circulating collection of limited hours)
  • Medical Library – share the subscription costs of some resources (databases and journals).
  • Biochemistry is also within the Chemistry Librarian’s selection areas and within the scope of the Medical Library’s collection.
  • Biotechnology is selected by the Engineering Librarian.
  • Ecology is also selected by the Librarian for Environmental Studies.
  • Government Documents selects in some areas of interest including fisheries.
  • The Bass Library collects some books by popular biologists. When books by Yale faculty are requested the request is referred to the Bass Library. When expensive books with a popular or interdisciplinary approach are requested these purchases can sometimes be shared with the Bass Library.

Subject Librarian

Life Sciences Librarian
Marx Science and Social Science Library
(203) 432-6213