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The Martin P. Catherwood Library in Cornell University’s ILR School is the most comprehensive resource on labor and employment in North America. The ILR School was established by an act of the New York State Legislature in 1944. The Temporary Board of Trustees mandated “the provision of information” as one of three core services, declaring that “it will be essential to develop at the earliest possible moment a comprehensive library.”

Today, the Catherwood Library is a service-oriented organization, offering expert research support through reference services, instruction, online guides, and access to premier collections. The collection consists of 250,000 volumes and 1500 serial subscriptions along with essential academic and practitioner databases and special format materials such as media and microforms. ILR collection strengths are in the areas of labor and employment, including collective bargaining, human resource studies, international and comparative industrial relations, labor disputes and history, labor economics, organizational behavior, and trade union issues. While many of these resources are academic in origin, Catherwood also collects directly from unions, corporations, governments, and non-profit organizations. Additionally, we are an International Labour Organization (ILO) Partner Library. See the Industrial and Labor Relations Collection for more information.

The Library also includes the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives. The Kheel Center actively collects from individuals and organizations engaged in all aspects of labor and employment theory and practice, with substantial collections from labor unions, arbitrators, negotiators, scholars, advocacy groups, and management theorists and professionals. With over 23,000 feet of unpublished material, the Kheel Center is one of the largest collections of its kind in the world.

In addition to serving researchers in Ithaca, Catherwood and Kheel disseminate resources and knowledge through a variety of on-line systems. DigitalCollections@ILR is the largest digital library in the field in the world, providing access to institutional publications, collective bargaining agreements, and other documents that are downloaded millions of times each year by researchers from around the world. The Triangle Fire website, commemorating the tragic 1911 NYC fire in which 146 garment workers were killed, recorded over 30 million hits in one year. Workplace Issues Today sends news stories and research to email boxes daily.

Catherwood Visitor Information

Those planning to visit Catherwood to conduct research should see the Cornell Library Visitor Policy and the Kheel Center Access to Resources guide.

Visitors to the campus may also find the guide to visiting Cornell University and maps of the campus and the city of Ithaca helpful.

To receive a copy of the Visiting Cornell brochure, telephone the Information and Referral Center at (607) 254-INFO or e-mail them at