Library Collections 

The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture serves Garden members, staff, and volunteers, as well as gardeners, students, scholars, and the general public.

The Library’s reference collection includes books, periodicals, nursery catalogs, archives, images, and more. Visitors can search our online catalog from our website or at workstations at the Library. Visitors can use non-circulating materials in our beautiful reading room.



For Children

  • All aspects of gardens and gardening

  • Specific kinds of plants

  • Garden design

  • Horticultural history

  • Plant lore

  • Ethnobotany and economic plants

  • Medical botany

  • Botanical art, illustration, and crafts

  • Gardening for biodiversity

  • Ecological restoration

  • Sustainable agriculture

  • Integrated pest management

  • The Library houses more than 27,000 volumes with emphasis on plants grown in Mediterranean and other mild temperate climates.

  • Parent/teacher resource collection devoted to children’s nature education.

  • Special collections include rare books, earlier editions, and archives; available by appointment.

  • New books on display


The children’s books and parent/teacher resources are the Library's only circulating collections and can be checked out by Garden members and pre-K-12 teachers at San Francisco schools.




Subject Guides

Want to know more about magnolias? Or maybe you're looking for a California native tree for your garden. Library staff created these subject guides to help visitors find resources on popular gardening and horticultural topics.

Australian Native Plants
Australia and It's Plants
Botanical Illustration
Botanical Illustration and Art
Cactus and Succulents
Cactus and Succulent Plants
California Native Plants
California Native Plants
Carnivorous and Parasitic Plants
Chilean Flora
Chilean Flora
Climate Change and Sustainable Garde
Climate Change and Sustainable Garde
Cloud Forest Plants
Cloud Forest Plants
Fantastic Foliage
Fantastic Foliage
Garden of Fragrance
Scent and Sensory Gardens
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Sources on
Garden Pests and Plant Diseases
Garden Pests and Plant Diseases
San Francisco Gardening
San Francisco Gardening
South Africa
Far Out Flora of
South Africa
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Children's Subject Guides

Library staff created these subject guides to help parents, teachers, and young visitors find resources on popular gardening and horticultural topics.

Online Story Time Recommendations
Africa & Diaspora, Plants & Peoplora
Asian Cultures
Community Gardening
Immigrant Experiences
Spanish Books for Children
Tactile Books for Children
Composting and Worms
Conservation and Stewardship
How Plants Grow
Show More

And More!




The San Francisco Botanical Garden archives includes drawings, photographs and manuscript materials related to San Francisco Botanical Garden and Golden Gate Park. Holdings of the archives are available to staff, volunteers, and the public for research, within conditions imposed by donor agreements and institutional policy. The collection guide can be found on the Online Archive of California.


For more information about using the archives, see our Archives Research and Services document. To make an appointment, contact us at [email protected] or 415-661-1316 ext. 403. 



Our unique collection includes nearly 250 current magazine subscriptions, as well as many non-current out-of-print titles. Additionally, search the Gale OneFile Gardening and Horticulture database to access numerous current publications while using the Library, or use your library card to access it remotely.


Nursery Catalogs

Visitors interested in locating sources of garden plants have access to more than 1000 retail, wholesale, and equipment catalogs. We also have archival catalog holdings useful to researchers in horticultural history.


Pamphlet File 


A variety of pamphlets grouped under general headings, plant names, San Francisco Botanical Garden, botanical gardens, Golden Gate Park, and San Francisco. 



About 2,500 images, mostly of plants, some of botanical illustration, Garden views, and Golden Gate Park history.​


Information about the Garden

Database of plantings in the Garden is available to search by accession number, botanical name, family, or bed number. Information about the history of San Francisco Botanical Garden and San Francisco Botanical Garden Society is also available, along with archival materials, including historical images of Golden Gate Park.


1199 9th Ave

San Francisco, CA 94122

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (415) 661-1316

Staff Directory

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San Francisco Botanical Garden is a public/private partnership between San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.