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Handbook of the Birds of the World on the shelves at SJI Library

Thanks to a generous donation from Joyce Harrell and her late husband Byron, the San Juan Island Library now has a complete set of the encyclopedic Handbook of the Birds of the World. The 16-volume set sells for about $4,300.

It covers the complete natural history of every living species of bird, grouped by families.

Volumes average 600 pages of full-color content and deal with 500 to 800 species, with 60-plus plates, hundreds of photographs and distribution maps, and thousands of references. The set is available in hundreds of museum, college, and university libraries, but only a handful of public libraries have this resource. Volumes of the Handbook may be check out for home use.

Lynx Edicions, the publisher of the Handbook, also maintains the Internet Bird Collection, a free online database of photographs and audio recordings of world bird species to which individuals may upload records.

The Handbook of the Birds of the World joins other important books in the San Juan Island Library collection on birds, including the American Ornithologists' Union 18-volume Birds of North America: Life Histories for the 21st Century, which may be found in the reference section.

In addition to its collections of books, audio books and DVDs and other materials on loan, the library also provides computers for the public to use.

The library web site provides 24/7 reference resources including encyclopedias, online magazines and newspapers, language learning, and test preparation.

Library hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Library cards are free to island residents with proof of residency.

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