The Institution's mission is "to develop the extensive library and archival resources that will improve the body of aquatic sports knowledge and to provide the informational services that will inspire the enrichment of individual understanding". The library and archival facility gathers, preserves and makes available an extensive collection of resources through a world-wide research system.
Current holdings, exceeding 31,000 discreet aquatic sports items, are available via computer/telecommunication networking to scholars, students, researchers, aquatic sports enthusiasts and the inquiring public. The library materials collections, built through the last 38 years by purchase and contribution, includes: several thousand monographs, four hundred and twenty-four periodical titles, seven hundred special interview cassettes, in excess of fourteen thousand photographs, and five thousand vertical file items with topics ranging from the Amateur Athletic Union to the Y.M.C.A.
"The Henning" provides a thorough record of four centuries of written, taped and filmed aquatic sports. Extraordinary treasures of the collection are found in the R. Max Ritter Rare Book Room, with over 400 pre-1900 vintage volumes, 310 scrapbooks with the pictures and memorabilia of the past century, and 114 unique aquatic sports magazines.
The archival facility maintains and preserves the handbooks, bulletins, circulars, newsletters, minutes of diverse meetings, applications and verifications for world records, proposals for alterations of rules and laws, letters, programs and results of Olympic Games and World Championships, as well as manuscripts and publications of the organizations which are the foundation of the world of aquatic sport. These administrative bodies include:
Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA)
American Swimming Coaches Association
College Swimming Coaches Association of America
Commodore Longfellow Society
International Academy of Aquatic Art
National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association
United States Masters Swimming
United States Synchronized Swimming
USA Water Polo
The Henning Library offers the international aquatic community a place to remember, to honor, and to learn.