BBG Library


BBG's Library provides reference services to home gardeners, staff, and the professional horticultural community. It is a convenient access point from which to learn more about all of the Library's collections and about the Garden's plant collections. The Library is located on the second floor of the historic McKim, Mead & White Administration Building (enter at 1000 Washington Avenue). Members may borrow one or two books for a period of up to two weeks.

LINNAEUS, the Garden's online catalog, allows visitors to search and tag the Garden's entire collection of books and serials as well as browse electronic journals, RSS feeds, and a handy set of research resource links.

Visit LINNAEUS, BBG's Online Catalog

BBG's Science Library and Rare Book Room are open by appointment. Please contact library@bbg.org to apply for access.

Hours

  • March–October: Tuesday–Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • November–February: Tuesday–Thursday, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Collections

Books and Serials

The collection consists of over 4,000 books and CD-ROMs and some 200 current serials of general interest encompassing botany, ecology and plant conservation, horticulture, gardening, landscape history, and garden design. Bibliographic records for this collection are available through LINNAEUS, the Library's online catalog.

Vertical Files

The vertical files consist of pamphlets, clippings, photocopies, and other ephemera on over 2,000 subjects related to botany and plant culture.

Nursery and Seed Catalogs

The Library maintains a collection of catalogs from over 1,000 suppliers. In addition to current catalogs, there is a small collection of historical catalogs dating to the early part of the 20th century.

Plant Collections Database and Online Search Services

Brooklyn Botanic Garden's plant collections database can be searched at public computer terminals in the Library. The Library also provides access to the Andersen Horticultural Library's Plant Information Online and to Online Computer Library Center's FirstSearch reference service.

The Science Library supports the research activities of the Science program as well as the information needs of staff horticulturists and educators and the greater botanical sciences community.

Located in the Science Center at 109 Montgomery Street, the Science Library is open by appointment only to the Garden's members and qualified readers.

To inquire about an appointment, e-mail library@bbg.org or telephone 718-623-7302.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday–Friday, by appointment.
Closed holidays.

The Collections

Books and Serials

The collection consists of over 30,000 book titles and 150 current serials with an emphasis on botany, horticultural taxonomy, systematics, molecular genetics, and environmental sciences. Bibliographic records for a portion of this collection are available through LINNAEUS, the Library's online catalog.

Pamphlets and Reprints

The collection consists of some 1,200 pamphlets and reprints of scientific articles.

Special Collections

The collections consist of archives of notable individuals, institutional records of the Garden, historical and botanical photography, and original botanical art work.

Plant Collections Database and Online Search Services

Brooklyn Botanic Garden's plant collections database can be searched at public computer terminals in the Science Library. The Library also provides access to the Andersen Horticultural Library's Plant Information Online and to Online Computer Library Center's FirstSearch reference service.

Charles Stuart Gager, the first Director of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, was a man of extraordinary vision, a distinguished botanist, and a bibliophile. For Gager, assembling a great botanical library to support the historical and scientific study of plants was an integral part of building a great botanical garden. Through special endowments and generous gifts, Gager and those who followed built a collection of significant botanical and horticultual works that has few rivals.

The Collection

The non-circulating rare book collection, comprising some 1500 volumes from the 15th century through the 20th century, is particularly strong in:

  • Early European herbals, including those by Brunfels, Dodoens, Fuchs, and Mattioli.
  • The great color-plate books, including those by Blackwell, Miller, Loudon, Hooker, and Redouté.
  • Landmark works by Linnaeus, including correspondence, Hortus Cliffortianus, and Species Plantarum.
  • New World floras by early travelers in the Americas, like Bartram, Catesby, and Michaux.

Bibliographic records for most of this collection are available through LINNAEUS, the Library's online catalog.

Hours

Hours are by written application and by appointment only.

Access

The Rare Book Room is available for research to qualified readers by application to the Director of Library Services. Application must include a statement of research goals and affiliation of the researcher. Please contact library@bbg.org to apply for access.

Rules and Procedures

The Rare Book collection is available for use by appointment, subject to the rules listed below.

  1. All readers are required to sign the register and present current photographic identification.
  2. Before entering the Rare Book Room, individual titles to be consulted must be identified for the accompanying librarian. Public access catalogs are available in both libraries to check bibliographic information.
  3. All coats, briefcases, bags, computer carrying cases, books, notebooks, etc. must be left with the Director of Library Services and may not be brought into the Rare Book Room. Readers will only be admitted with pencil, paper, and laptop computer, and thus are encouraged to bring a minimum of other material with them.
  4. Only pencils may be used in the Rare Book Room.
  5. Readers agree to wear protective gloves if requested to do so by the librarian.
  6. No material may be removed from the Rare Book Room.
  7. The librarian will retrieve and reshelve all items, and will present only one item at a time.
  8. Guests may not accompany readers to the Rare Book Room.
  9. The attending librarian may halt use of materials at any time if these rules are not followed or if continued handling is injurious to the condition of an item.
  10. Most items in this collection are extremely rare or irreplaceable. Readers are expected to use more than ordinary care in the handling of materials, and must avoid touching text or decoration. Readers are strictly prohibited from writing, scoring or otherwise marking materials. No objects may be laid on books, with the exception of special weights placed by the attending librarian.
  11. All readers' papers will be examined before departure from the Rare Book Room.

Library staff can answer your gardening and horticulture questions. Contact grc@bbg.org. Please include your phone number in your email query for a more timely response from our staff.

To expedite answers, the Help Line staff suggests the following:

  • Keep your question as straightforward as possible.
  • Identify your question category: pests and diseases, culture and propagation, plant identification, etc.
  • Identify the class of plant: tree, shrub, perennial, annual, etc.
  • Describe the problem. If you're concerned about an insect, for example, note the appearance of the pest and where you have seen it (on leaves, stems, in the soil), as well as the damage it is doing.

The Gardener's Help Line can also be reached on Tuesday and Wednesday, 1–4:30 p.m., at 718-623-7270.

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Hours

Tuesday–Friday:
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday:
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Open Columbus Day

Members’ Summer Evenings: Wednesdays, 6–8:30 p.m.

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Admission

Members Free
Adults $10
Seniors (65 and over) $5
Students with a valid ID $5
Children under 12 Free

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Directions

150 Eastern Parkway
990 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225

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