The PRI William P.S. and Jeannine Ventress Library is a significant research resource of approximately 60,000 books and serials. Particular emphasis is found in malacology (fossil and Recent mollusks) and invertebrate paleontology, plus substantial holdings in vertebrate paleontology, geology, sedimentology, and related disciplines for the Institution’s staff, students, and visiting scientists. The Library originated as the personal research library of PRI’s founder, Gilbert Harris, a retired Cornell Professor of Geology, and has been added to by purchases and gifts over the past 75 years.

Highlights of the library include nearly 1,000 volumes representing approximately 700 titles in the John Wells Rare Book Room established in 1996. Among the most notable items are Recreatio Mentis et Oculi in Observatione Animalium Testaceorum by Philippo Buonanni (Rome, 1684 – the oldest volume in the collection), Historia Conchyliorum by Martin Lister (1770), Zoologia Adriatica by Guiseppe Olivi (1792), and Proboscidea: Mastodonts and Elephants of the World, by Henry Fairfield Osborn (1936).

The library is available by appointment for public use.Please contact Dr. Jon Hendricks, Associate Director for Publications, by phone at 607-273-6623 x120 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.