Goldthwait Polar Library

The Goldthwait Polar Library (PLR) contains materials relevant to the polar and alpine regions of the world. The library has extensive collections on the history of polar exploration, glaciology, polar meteorology, glacial geology, remote sensing and paleoclimatology. The library receives several publications from national and international polar institutions on an exchange basis. The library has over 1,000 maps of the polar regions. The library is also responsible for the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center's Publication Distribution Program.

The Goldthwait Polar Library was officially established in 1969, nine years after the establishment of the Institute of Polar Studies, now the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. The library is named after Dr. Richard Parker Goldthwait, the founder and first director of the Institute. Dr. Goldthwait donated his personal collection of reprints, journals and books to the Institute and that became the nucleus of the library.

The primary mission of the library is to support the informational needs of the research scientists and graduate students of the Center. The holdings include unique serials from international polar institutions, Arctic and Antarctic maps and proceedings volumes. Subject areas covered include:  glaciology, Antarctic geology, global climate change, polar ecology, polar meteorology, and the history of polar exploration.

  • In 2013 the library completed the digitization of BPRC publications. They are now available in OSU’s institutional repository, The Knowledge Bank (KB). Future publications will be added as they are published. Reports in the KB are open access.
  • In 1992 the library moved to its present location in Scott Hall and that move garnered the library approximately four times the amount of space it previously had in Mendenhall Lab.
  • The library is not officially a department library of the Ohio State University Libraries, but the monographic holdings are available in their online catalog. The library follows their circulation policies and procedures; most of the material circulates. PLR is the designation for the library in the online catalog.
  • The library has a unique collection of Inuit carvings donated by Ken and Rosalie Drake. Information about the carvings is available from the Byrd Polar Media Manager site.
  • Rare historical volumes in the library include Sir Ernest Shackleton’s The Heart of the Antarctic and The British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909, signed by Shackleton and Sir Douglas Mawson, and signed copies of Admiral Byrd’s books, Little AmericaDiscoverySkyward, and Alone.

Goldthwait Polar Library
Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center
176 Scott Hall
1090 Carmack Road
Columbus, OH 43210-1002

Voice: 614-292-6715​
Fax: 614-292-4697
Hours: Open limited hours; please call before visiting.