David Lubin Memorial Library

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Template:Infobox library The David Lubin Memorial Library is the main library of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Its world renowned collection<ref name=Harada1979 >Template:Cite journal</ref> consists of technical material related to food, nutrition, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, with emphasis on developing countries. The core of its historical collection is the library of the International Institute of Agriculture (IIA), whose assets were entrusted to FAO when the IIA was disbanded in 1946.

Historical background

The "Hot Springs Conference," of 1943 (Virginia, USA)<ref name="Walton1985" /> resulted in the establishment of an Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture based in Washington, D.C. During this period, custodianship of the IIA's library was maintained in Rome by FAO's European Regional Office.<ref name=IIA1948>Template:Cite book</ref>

The foundations for a central FAO library were laid in 1945, in Article I of FAO's Constitution, which states that the organization: "shall collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information relating to nutrition, food and agriculture."<ref name=Art1>Template:Cite web"."</ref>

The first FAO librarian was appointed in Rome in 1946.<ref name=Phillips1981>Template:Cite book</ref> In 1950, FAO's governing Conference voted to merge the technical libraries in Rome and Washington, D.C. with the library collection of the IIA, basing the entire collection in Rome.<ref name=50Conf>Template:Cite web"."</ref> The new library was named after David Lubin, in recognition of his service in the founding of the IIA. Combined, this library constituted the second largest agricultural library in the world<ref name="Phillips1981" />

Library facilities

In 1999, the Italian government (which owns the FAO headquarters buildings) began renovation of the library's physical space. The newly designed library includes facilities for access to electronic resources, multifunctional meeting room spaces and e-learning labs for computer training. Construction of the new premises, designed by Sartogo Architetti Associati began in 2002 and was completed in 2005.


The library is open to visitors with a letter of introduction.

Online access to FAO information resources is provided through:

The David Lubin Memorial Library catalogue - includes bibliographic citations of materials published by FAO from 1945 - present. Bibliographic citations for materials not published by FAO date back to 1976. The catalogue also contains links to the full text of FAO publications online, when available. Consult a librarian for information regarding pre-1976 non-FAO materials.
The FAO Corporate Document Repository - a digital collection of FAO documents and publications, including selected non-FAO publications. Documents exist in all FAO official languages -- English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.
The FAO Publications Catalogue - lists items published by FAO or co-published by FAO with a partner institution. The catalogue includes all publications in English, French and Spanish currently available for sale. It includes books, periodicals, CD-ROMs and on-line data. The library provides electronic copies of FAO documents and publications at cost.

FAO Collection

The library's holdings include a collection of primary documentation relating to milestones in the history of food security, such as the declaration of the 44 delegates of the international conference that resulted in the founding of FAO;<ref name=Walton1985>Template:Cite book</ref> the "McDougall Memorandum;"<ref name=Turnell>Template:Citation.</ref> documentation surrounding the World Food Conference of 1974 and documentation of the FAO Freedom from Hunger Campaign.<ref name=Walton1985/2>Template:Cite book</ref> The library maintains a collection of material written by and about Nobel Prize laureate and first FAO Director General, Lord Boyd Orr. Part of the library's mandate includes the preservation of FAO's institutional memory, including unpublished reports, pre-investment surveys and training activities devoted to field projects in developing countries.

FAO staff and on-site patrons have access to databases and electronic journals in FAO subjects of expertise.

Special Collections

The library provides on-site visitors with access to the contents of the library of the former International Institute of Agriculture. The IIA collection contains detailed statistical information on the global agricultural situation during the first half of the 20th century. It also includes several special collections.

File:DLML CIS collection.jpg
Illustration from "Die Baeume und Straeucher des Waldes in botanischer und forstwirthschaftlichr Beziehung." From the CIS collection.
Cappelli Collection

Donated by the second president of the IIA, this collection includes 185 rare books, 20 of which are incunabula.

Centre International de Silviculture Collection

The complete collection of the CIS—a research center created with the aim of establishing an exhaustive international collection of documentation related to forests, forestry, and the timber industry.

Marescalchi Collection

This collection is composed of pamphlets, bulletins and periodicals donated by A. Marescalchi, noted wine scholar and Undersecretary of State in the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.

Giglioli Collection

A 19th-century collection composed of 10,000 volumes and pamphlets on agriculture. It includes the archives of Italo Giglioli's family, and photos and publications written by Giglioli (a professor of agricultural chemistry at the University of Pisa who participated in the founding of the IIA)

David Lubin Archives

The David Lubin Archives housed at FAO include correspondence, writings, clippings and photographs relating to world agricultural problems and the activities of the International Institute of Agriculture. A small part of the archives includes Lubin's personal correspondence.

The library accepts researchers to the David Lubin Archives, upon request.


  • AGLINET is an international, voluntary network of agricultural libraries that was founded in 1971 within the framework of the International Association of Agriculture Librarians and Documentalists (IAALD). AGLINET libraries share resources, so that all partner libraries have access to the specialized, regional agricultural information produced in countries with AGLINET centers. These libraries achieve comprehensive resource coverage, not only for the benefit of member libraries' own constituencies, but also in support of other libraries within their country/region.
  • The Aquatic Commons is an open access digital repository covering the natural marine, estuarine /brackish and fresh water environments. It includes all aspects of the science, technology, management and conservation of these environments, their organisms and resources, and the economic, sociological and legal aspects. It is directed by the International Association of the Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (IAMSLIC) with technical support from the Project Office for International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (UNESCO-IOC/IODE) Programme. Many of the electronic documents in the Aquatic Commons are cited in the FAO sponsored Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts database (ASFA).
  • AGORA The library is involved in FAO’s AGORA programme, one of four programmes under the Research4Life initiative, which aims to enhance the scholarship of students, faculty and researchers in the developing world. AGORA provides eligible institutions in developing countries in 106 countries with either free or very low cost access to an outstanding digital library collection of more than 3000 journals in the fields of food, agriculture, environmental science and related social sciences.



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