skip to content

Biological Sciences Libraries

Cory and Herbarium Library space

The Cory and Herbarium Libraries hold two separate library collections with connected themes. Previously housed in different buildings, these two libraries are now co-located within the Sainsbury Laboratory, close to the Botanic Garden.

We have made an interactive introduction for the Library, which gives more information about access, print and online resources, floorplans, and more. The basic information is outlined below. 

Access and opening hours

The Library is open for members of the Department of Plant Sciences, staff at the Botanic Garden and those working in the Sainsbury Laboratory (SLCU) from Monday to Friday, 8:00 - 17:00. If you have not been given your own QR code to gain access to the building, please fill out the Herbarium and Library Visitor Registration form ahead of each visit. If this is your first time visiting the Library, please get in touch with us beforehand so we can arrange to introduce you to the space and collections.

Non-Department members can access the Library by appointment only, during staffed hours, Monday to Wednesday, 9:00 - 13:00. Please contact us in the first instance. 

The Library operates as a self-service library, with the onus on the reader to tidy and re-shelve items after use. 


The Libraries house a significant collection including:

  • Works on practical horticulture and gardening,
  • Works on plant taxonomy and systematics,
  • Floras by geographical area,
  • Serials related to taxonomy and horticulture,
  • The Cory collection of early botanical and horticultural works,
  • The Simpson collection of UK floras.

Special Collections

Simpson Collection

The historic Simpson Collection holds part of the library of books collected by botanist Norman Douglas Simpson (1890-1974), which were presented to the Botany School after his death. We continue to develop the collection through the addition of UK-focused botanical works. The modern parts of the collection can be borrowed, but the original donations must remain within the Library.

Cory Collection

The Cory Library originated as a collection of books and journals assembled by Richard Lynch, Curator of the Garden, 1879-1919. The collection is named after Reginald Cory, a notable benefactor of the Gardens, who enabled the acquisition of a significant number of early printed works. The collection includes a large number of flora, in addition to monographs on the practical aspects of gardening and horticulture. Parts of the historic collection are rare and valuable, and are kept in locked stacks. This includes the earliest works that date from the 16th century. Readers who wish to consult these items will need to do so by appointment.


Members of the Plant Sciences Department, staff of the Botanic Gardens, and those working in the Sainsbury Laboratory may borrow items from the Library. However, not all items can be borrowed—please do not remove items from the archives, journals, botanical illustrations, items from the Cory Special Collection (housed in the locked stacks), items from the Simpson Collection (nos. 1-3643), or the Tracts. 

If you decide to borrow an item, please log it using the online borrowing sheet. If you cannot do this at the time of borrowing, please use the manual sign-out sheet by the door. Try to remember to also log your loan using the online form as soon as possible afterwards. Herbarium collection items will appear in your online borrower record within a few days, Cory collection items will be recorded separately. Returned items should be left on the desk for re-shelving.


Access full text anywhere

     >View Video about Lean Library<