About the USFWS Library

Supporting conservation in action through sharing and discovery

The USFWS Library supports knowledge discovery, research, and science excellence. Our physical collections, which include a robust collection of conservation literature and historic Fish and Wildlife Service publications, are housed in our library at the National Conservation Training Center. Our public digital media collections are housed in the National Digital Library, where thousands of copyright free images documenting species, habitats and the work of the Service can be found. 


The USFWS Library is in the Creative Resources building on the National Conservation Training Center campus.

Contact Us

Email us at library@fws.gov.



Access the USFWS Library’s catalog to view our electronic resources and print collections. The library uses a proxy service to provide access to electronic resources. FWS employees may use their PIV cards authenticate and view library resources. Other library patrons, including Native American Fish and Wildlife Society (NAFWS) members, should request a library account username and password by emailing library@fws.gov

Links are automatically proxied through the library’s catalog, but when browsing on other sites and databases like Google Scholar, you may need to authenticate to view resources the library provides. You can copy and paste our EZProxy prefix in front of any URL to attempt to authenticate: 


You may also be able to create an EZProxy bookmarklet. For further instructions or help, email library@fws.gov


FWS staff, NCTC students, and NAFWS members are eligible to check out circulating print titles, which may be mailed to their work locations or accessed on site at NCTC. Our lending period is 8 weeks with options to renew. 

Public Visits

The public may arrange a visit to the library. However, library materials circulate only to FWS employees, NCTC students, and NAFWS members.

Library Resources Training for FWS Employees

The Library User Group offers regular webinars on library resources and services for FWS employees. For more information, contact library@fws.gov. 

Interlibrary Loan

The USFWS Library participates in interlibrary loan and offers 8-week loans with renewal options. Service employees and NCTC students may request to borrow material not in the USFWS Library’s collection from other libraries. NAFWS members may request interlibrary loans for articles, eBooks, and other digital content. Members of the public may request items from the USFWS Library via their home library using the interlibrary loan process. 

Copyright Warning

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research". If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use", that user may be liable for copyright infringement.  This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. 

Collection Development 

The selection of library materials, for both our literature collection and digital media collection, will be consistent with the mission and the needs of the Service, as well as: 

  • Demand, as demonstrated through usage statistics and Service employee requests 
  • Currency and timeliness 
  • Accuracy, quality, and depth of material  
  • Depth of coverage from the instructional to research level depending on FWS program needs 
  • Cost 
  • Availability in a variety of physical and electronic formats 
  • Scope and content (representing diversity and a variety of perspectives) 
  • Documents of the work of the Service and the history of conservation 

Library materials will fit into one or more of these broad areas: 

  • Inspiration: Conservation literature, classic and contemporary, to inspire all FWS employees to engage with the wonder of nature 
  • Application: Publications and tools to assist conservation practitioners, land managers, scientists, and data managers in their work. 
  • Education: Resources for Education Outreach, NCTC course leaders, and others engaged with education and training 
  • History: Reports, publications by government agencies and non-governmental organizations, non-fiction on history of U.S., government, land, and conservation. 

Image Policy

The National Digital Library accepts new images by Service employees as well as external photographers. External photographers need to fill out a Copyright Release Agreement (Form 3-2259). Contact nctcimages@fws.gov for more information. 

Technical Specifications 
  • Format: Jpeg (.jpg), Jpeg2000 (.jp2), PNG (.png), or TIFF (.tif) are all accepted. See the Library of Congress's Recommended Formats Statement for more information about digital image file types. 

  • Resolution: Images should be shot at the maximum resolution allowable by your camera. Pixel dimensions should be at least 2500 pixels on one side for new images. Legacy images with at least 1200 pixels on one side dimensions will be accepted.  

  • Editing: Images should be in realistic color with no timestamps or credit lines. 

  • Content: Images should provide insight into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mission or demonstrate the work of the Service. Image content may highlight content in one of the following priority areas:

    • Wildlife Refuges

    • Endangered and Threatened Species

    • Connecting people with nature

    • Aquatic Species 

    • Landscape Conservation 

    • Work of the Service

  • Selection: Select only your best images to submit to the National Digital Library. For example, if you have 200 images of a piping plover on the beach, select your best 5. 

  • Copyright: Images should be in the public domain, i.e., works of government employees, images designated to the public domain through copyright release. For exceptions, discuss with Library staff before submission. 

Electronic vs. Print Collections

Because the USFWS Library serves audiences throughout the United States and territories, our primary objective will be serving the best remotely accessible electronic resources. Print books will continue to be added to the collection to facilitate lending to employees on site as students at NCTC or through mail at their facilities. 

Collection Maintenance

Weeding will be done methodically and in an on-going basis, according to accepted professional practices.  


The USFWS Library accepts donations of books, periodicals, imagery, and other material benefits Service employees. Donations must be of use to Service employees and fit the scope of our collections. Please submit a list of the materials you wish to donate including author, title and copyright year before shipping donations. We will respond by checking off all items we would like to add to the library collection. Please send via email to library@fws.gov or mail to: 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center
USFWS Library 
698 Conservation Way 
Shepherdstown, WV 25443-4024 

Once we have determined what the library can accept, please use the above address for shipping.

We may refuse or dispose of donations if they are no longer useful or do not fit our collection scope.  
We will not provide a value for donations received. We may provide a letter of receipt if requested. 

America’s Wild Read 

Join us for our quarterly virtual book club, America’s Wild Read. Each fall, winter, spring and summer we select a work of nature writing or conservation literature to discuss in our conservation community.