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The Earl S. Tupper Tropical Biology Library, located in Ancón, Panama City, Republic of Panama, supports the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). The Library is one of twenty-one branches of the Smithsonian Libraries, supporting STRI research, publications, education, exhibits and public programming, as well as those of other museums and research institutions in Panamá and across Central America.




The STRI Library collects research-oriented, academic and highly technical materials in Tropical Diversity and Its Origins, Marine Ecology and Evolution, Ecology and Physiology of Tropical Forests, Behavior and Adaptive Evolution, Archaeology, Anthropology and Human Ecology, Paleoecology, natural and protected areas, research policy, and the Panama Canal and its watershed. The collection comprises over 34,000 monographs, 24,000 print serial volumes, a vertical file, map and special collection. The special collection protects over 900 monographs and serials, including a complete set of the turn of the 20th century Biologia Centrali Americana from the collection of Barro Colorado Island.

Learn more about STRI Library collections either searching OneSearch and the SIRIS catalog, or through the STRI Library Subject Guide.


Library Services for Smithsonian Researchers

Researcher Support is available in person at the STRI Library and remotely by email, phone and web conferencing. Staff can request custom orientations and trainings for individuals and groups about any of the Library’s research tools, research methods and strategies, research output, and managing data output. The Library offers scanning, printing and photocopying services for STRI colleagues. Access the How Do I… pages for information about many of the above topics.

Orientations and training are scheduled in the library Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00 am; also available by appointment and for walk-ins .

Regular visits by library staff for training and outreach will occur to *BCI, *Bocas del Toro (*virtually upon request), Galeta, Gamboa, and Naos Research Stations. Watch for announcements by station managers for timing. Visitors working at CTPA and Tupper, please visit the library, or contact us with questions.

Research Tools Page Use the OneSearch bar to search across the Smithsonian Libraries collections of electronic subscription and print journals, articles, books, etc.

A-Z List of e-Journals & Databases Search or browse the A-Z list for thousands of e-journals by title, and access databases such as Web of ScienceZoological Record, and more. Note: It is not necessary to search all of these separately. Most are searched simultaneously by OneSearch. Many electronic books have been purchased for the STRI Library on the ProQuest Ebook Central platform. While you do not need a library account, you must be on a STRI network computer or logged into EZProxy to access these titles.

Remote Access for Research Tools via EZproxy *for patrons with SI email accounts. When not on the SI network, start your research at the Research Tools page. This enables EZproxy to prompt for your SI credentials to access the Libraries’ subscription e-resources.

Smithsonian Research Online (SRO) Explore the active, ongoing research in the Smithsonian world. Search "Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute", limited to Museum or Department, year or author, to access the continuously updated listing of over 13,000 citations of STRI research publications.

Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) Visit the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute webpage on the SIA website.

Manage research output to actively manage your data throughout the research process enables reproducibility, reusability and discovery, and can help maximize the impact of your research. 

Get your library account Researchers with a valid Smithsonian identification badge can open a borrower account. Complete the form and submit it to the reference desk or via STRILibrary@si.eduInterlibrary Loan (ILL) lending services are available for requests beyond the STRI Library collections. Short-term STRI visiting researchers generally do not receive library accounts or lending, but are welcome to use the library resources and make requests for chapters and articles.


Library Services for the visiting public

The STRI Library location remains closed to the public until shelving repairs are completed. Research assistance is available Monday—Friday by email at

Visiting public patrons do not have borrowing privileges, but can register for a day-pass to access the print collection in the Library Annex. Visitors are welcome to utilize all library print and electronic resources subscribed to by the Smithsonian Libraries within the Library Reading Room.

Scanning services are available for the public, printing and photocopying are not.


Gifts and Donations

The STRI Library welcomes gifts of books and other research materials which add depth to the academic resources available to our community. Particular interest is paid to scholarly, current, or rare items in good physical condition. Details are outlined here to assist potential donors when offering materials to the branch. Based upon these criteria, the STRI Library retains the right to accept or to decline potential gifts.

Acceptable potential gifts include the following. Please create a list of offered materials for the library to judge titles:

  • Support the Smithsonian Institution’s current and evolving collection interests and principles.
  • Sustain the research needs of Smithsonian staff and researchers.
  • Augment collections of depth.
  • Enhance the unique and noteworthy holdings of Smithsonian Libraries’ special collections.

We are not able to accept gifts when:

  • Materials are not in good physical condition, e.g., contain mold or mildew, tears, stains, water damage or are in any way impaired in a manner that results in limited or restricted use. These items are potentially harmful to existing collections.
  • Materials require significant restoration or conservation or unique storage, unless accompanied by appropriate funding.
  • A donor places restrictions that will negatively affect access to and use of the materials.
  • Textbooks.
  • Popular trade paperbacks.
  • Single issues of periodicals or broken runs of bound periodicals, unless they fill gaps in our current collection.
  • Obsolete media formats such as LPs, videos, cassettes, etc.
  • Materials which duplicate current holdings.
  • Photocopies/facsimiles of original materials.


Volunteering at the Library

Volunteers have provided a primary means of support for the Smithsonian Institution since its establishment in 1846. Strong volunteer partnerships are essential for the Institution to successfully carry out its work. For more information about volunteering at the STRI Library, please see the STRI Volunteers page, or contact us with inquiries to apply.

For more information, please contact us:

Email the Reference Desk

Call the Reference Desk
From Panama: (+507) 212-8113
From the USA: (202) 633-4700 ext. 8113

Smithsonian Libraries and Archives is pleased to announce an expansion of our hours of operation for the STRI community. Beginning the week of February 27th, the library hours will be:

  • Open by appointment on Mondays and Fridays from 9am-5pm.
  • Open for walk-in use on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9am - 4pm.
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