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Second Floor Reading Room
Second Floor Reading Room (UN Photo)
Thursday 1 March 2018

Topics: Learning

The Second Floor Reading Room has gone through many transformations since 1961. For decades it was called the Woodrow Wilson Reading Room because it housed the U.S. president’s papers about the League of Nations.  Until 2008, it operated as the UN reference collection for the Library and contained the most consulted UN documents and publications.  It was closed in 2008 to accommodate the media outlets covering the UN during the Capital Master Plan. Construction damaged the ceiling and made it necessary to refurbish the room before it could be used.  It reopened in November 2016 and has been designated as a silent study space primarily for delegates and UN staff.

The Dag Hammarskjold Library was dedicated to the second Secretary-General after his death in 1961. At the time, the Library Building was written up in architectural magazines which described the room in glowing detail:

“All is movement in the slope of the wall and undulating ceiling [of the Reading Room]. The informal planking of the Idaho white pine ceiling and wall contrasts with the dark African wenge wood of the card catalog which follows the sloping line of the wall. The end walls are of Peruvian travertine…” Interiors Magazine, 1963

With the coming of modern information systems, the card catalog is now empty but the room is filled with the passion for learning and creativity so often attributed to the late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.

Learn more about the history of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library: https://library.un.org/content/our-mandate-history.

San Francisco Conference
San Francisco Conference (UN Photo/McCreary)
Wednesday 20 December 2017

Topics: Digital Collections

Interested in researching the creation of the United Nations?  How was it established, and why is it organised as it is? How did the five permanent members of the Security Council gain the right to veto, and how was the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice decided? Who wrote and approved the UN Charter?

The San Francisco Conference, formally known as the United Nations Conference on International Organization, was the meeting of 50 nations in the summer of 1945 that established the United Nations. Lengthy discussions and deliberations took place amongst the over 1,500 delegates during these months.  The Conference culminated with the signing of the Charter of the United Nations by the nations on 26 June 1945, with the Charter officially coming into force on 24 October 1945.  

The entire proceedings of the San Francisco Conference have been digitized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library’s Digitization Team, and can now be accessed globally from the United Nations Digital Library.  The collection is searchable by volume.

Find out more about the UN Charter and the proceedings of the San Francisco Conference via the Dag Hammarskjöld  Library’s UN Charter Research Guide and related FAQs in our Ask DAG service.

The UN Digital Library is freely accessible worldwide.


Questions about the General Assembly? Ask DAG!
Ask DAG: Frequently Asked Questions about the UN
Friday 22 September 2017

Topics: Resources

Where can I find voting information for resolutions? What are the opening dates of the UN General Assembly sessions? Where can I get the electronic version of the "Delegates' Handbook"? Did the General Assembly ever consider UFOs?

Answers to these questions and many more are available via the Dag Hammarskjöld Library’s Ask DAG service, accessible in English, French and Spanish.

Browsing the Ask DAG questions is also a good way to learn more about the Organization. You might find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had! (If you’re still wondering about the UFO question for example, you can find the answer here)

You can browse almost 700 frequently asked questions and find answers about all things UN, including over 300 related to the work of the General Assembly. If you can’t find what you are looking for, submit your question via our Ask DAG service and a librarian will respond to you.