Education Generating Science


About the OTS Library System

The Library System of the Organization for Tropical Studies consists of four libraries, one located at OTS headquarters in San José, Costa Rica and one at each biological research station.

The mission of the OTS library system is to provide services for research, education and conservation. The main theme is tropical biology. In addition to this information on ecology, conservation, the environment and management of natural resources is also found in the library.

The OTS library system has a bibliography of approximately 11,000 monographs, 550 theses, 400 magazine titles, 111 newsletters, 11.670 offprints, 63 maps, 1300 archived documents, and 250 course books. The course books are the result of group and independent research projects carried out by students of the undergraduate and graduate programs that OTS has taught since 1963.

Among the featured products are a general catalog, the National Bibliography of Tropical Biology of Costa Rica (BINABITROP), alert services, and specialized bibliographies. Users also have access to a continuously updated collection of articles given to OTS by researchers for use in education and research.

Using this site you have the possibility to learn more about the Organization for Tropical Studies Library System. You can also search for information on our databases, and in the BINABITROP section where you can search for publications about tropical biology in Costa Rica. In the Library Catalog you can search for documents that we have in our libraries or get information about our publications.

Costa Rican Headquarters

The Organization for Tropical Studies’ main headquarters at Cuidad de la Investigacion at the University of Costa Rica, en San Pedro de Oca, houses The Walter H. And Barbara Hodge library. Hours are Monday to Friday from 8:00AM to 12:00PM and from 1:00PM to 5:00PM. This library manages a variety of topics, primarily tropical biology, but also other topics such as: protection of natural resources, ecology, environmental policy, biodiversity conservation, and forestry, among others.

The person in charge of this library is Sofía Zamora Carvajal (

La Selva Biological Station

The library of the La Selva biological station is located in the old laboratory on the 2nd floor. It is open 24 hours a day and anyone who needs to take a book from the library to their office need only register their name on the registry. If you need help from the supervisor, they are available from 7AM to 5 PM Monday to Friday.

The library is focused on tropical biology, but also information on ecology, conservation, and environment as well as natural resources.

The person in charge of this library is Danilo Brenes (

Las Cruces Biological Station and Wilson Botanical Garden

The Don Stone library at the Las Cruces biological station is located in the left wing of the science building. It is open from 7AM to 5 PM Monday to Friday. It is also open Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays if the supervisor happens to be working that day. Library use is typically done on the premises but if a user needs to take a book to their office or classroom, they need to register their information in the registry book.

Many of the references focus on tropical biology. Additionally, a lot of emphasis is placed in botany due to its location on a botanical garden. The library also provides information on the Luis Diego Gómez Herbarium (HLDG). Information on zoology, ecology, conservation and natural resources can also be found.

The person in charge of this library is Rodolfo Quiros (

Palo Verde Biological Station

The library of the Palo Verde biological station is located in Palo Verde national park in the research building, which also houses the herbarium and the GIS laboratory. Hours are from 7:00AM to 5:00PM; if you need documents outside of these hours please contact reception the person in charge in order to help you get what you need. You do need to fill out a registration form. Areas of focus include wetlands, particularly aquatic plants and wetlands restoration.

The person in charge of this library is Juan Serrano (

National Bibliography of Tropical Biology of Costa Rica

The National Bibliography of Tropical Biology of Costa Rica (BINABITROP) is the backbone of the Organization for Tropical Studies Library System. It is a database of Costa Rican scientific publications and associated information accessible by researchers and the general public.

It currently has over 41,000 records including, monographs, periodical publications, conference papers, symposia proceedings, workshops, and other types of literature published about tropical biology in Costa Rica.

Over 50% of our records have articles available in a pdf format; these are freely accessible if the author has expressly granted distribution rights to OTS for educational and research purposes.

To ensure that our database on biological research conducted in Costa Rica outside of our stations is up to date we search Web of Science and Science Direct. We also consult Costa Rican university databases which include the University of Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional, Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica and Universidad Estatal a Distancia. The universities provide information on dissertations, faculty, undergraduate and graduate level research carried out in Costa Rica.


Library Catalog System

This database contains bibliographical references of all documents that are in the OTS libraries.

To make a new registration in the library automated system, we first evaluate if the material is relevant to our database. Thereafter we develop a lot of technical process including the cataloging process using Marc 21 and the Resource Description Access (RDA) and indexing using the thesaurus Agrovoc and Cab to put a minimum of three keywords in Spanish and English. Thereafter the material is categorized using the Dewey classification system and the Cutter index form.

If you find something of interest, you can request a loan by writing to If you know a book, article, or other reference that is not included in our library but is relevant to tropical biology, please write to too.

Library Catalog System

Bibliographies and Other Documents

The Bibliographies and Other Documents section comprises a list of bibliographic listings and other documents in pdf format. All files provided in this section are free to download. In some instances you will be directed to a program site where you can access the information, for example the Arthropods of La Selva project (ALAS).

Library Services

Room and home loan. At the Walter H. and Barbara Hodge Library at the Organization for Tropical Studies headquarters in San José, Costa Rica, documents and books are loaned to for use in the library by anyone who requests it; the only requirement is to show a photo ID.

Home loan is permitted for students registered with one of the four Costa Rican state universities, or to any student from an OTS member institution; students need to present proof of registration and a photo ID document.

In the libraries of the biological stations, requests for material need to be made to the person responsible for the library. This is also a requirement for residents and station staff. Library use by the general public is only allowed on the premises of the main office or the station.

Interlibrary loan: The OTS library system permits the loan of books and other documents with the four Costa Rican state universities.

Inquiries by email or telephone: This inquiry service is meant to answer specific issues regarding the use of the database, loans, or other information services. This service can also process loan of materials via email. The electronic sharing of documents is limited to those whose authors have given consent to share for educational or research purposes.

Searches of specialized information: These requests should be made directly by the interested party to any of the OTS Libray System team members.

Support the OTS Library System

Donations of Journals and Books

OTS is grateful to donors who wish to make a contribution of books and journals to our library in Costa Rica. However, due to space constraints, we have established the following policy for accepting donations of book and journals.

Prior to making a donation of books or journals to one of OTS' libraries, please send a list of items and the library for which they are intended (Walter H. and Barbara Hodges Library at OTS’ main office in San José, La Selva Biological Station Library, Palo Verde Biological Station Library, Don Stone Library at Las Cruces Biological Station) to our librarian, Sofia Zamora in Costa Rica at Sofia will review your list for approval of suitability for OTS' collection and respond to you as soon as possible. Due to space constraints, OTS may not be able to accept all donations. Please do not ship any journals or books to Costa Rica without prior approval from Sofia.

Once your list is approved, please arrange for shipping directly to Costa Rica. OTS is not able to reimburse any donor for fees associated with the shipping of journal donations to Costa Rica. OTS can no longer accept donations of journals to our North American Office.

Help make our wish list come true!

We have a wish list of books that we need for our courses to maintain the high quality standards OTS is known for. To view the wish list click here.

When you donate a book to our library we make sure to make a note in our registry. The book is labeled “This books was a gift to OTS from […]”. If the book is a soft copy we may not be able to label it. We will still make a note in our registry with your name.

Make a cash donation towards purchasing books or for the maintenance of the databases

To make a cash donation for book purchases or to help support the maintenance of our databases please contact to Jonathan Giles (

Volunteer for specific tasks

If you want to volunteer at any of our libraries, please write to Oscar Madrigal (

Weekly Newsletter

Every week we send our friends a newsletter with information on the latest publications produced in our biological stations , if you want to receive it please register here.

Contact our Librarian