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Biological Sciences Libraries

Cory and Herbarium Library space

Welcome to the Cory and Herbarium Libraries

The Cory and Herbarium Libraries brings together two horticultural and botanical collections. Previously housed in different buildings, these two libraries are now co-located within the Sainsbury Laboratory, close to the Botanic Garden.

Frankie Marsh is the subject specialist librarian for the Cory & Herbarium Libraries. Frankie is part of the Biological Sciences Libraries team and provides library services to students, staff, researchers, visitors and volunteers connected to the Botanic Garden and the University Herbarium.

You can find Frankie in the Library on Wednesday afternoons and Thursdays. It is often easiest to contact her via email:

The Libraries will be unstaffed on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th July.

Library services

A range of services are available from the library and include:

  • access to library books and resources in print and online
  • purchasing requests for new additions to the collections
  • in-depth literature searching
  • referencing support and troubleshooting
  • copyright support
  • interlibrary loans and Scan & Deliver requests
  • remote access to the libraries’ special collections via Zoom

This list contains just a few examples of how we can help, so do not hesitate to contact the Library for further assistance.


The Library is open to members of the Department of Plant Sciences, staff at the Botanic Garden, the Sainsbury Laboratory and those working in the University Herbarium from Monday to Friday, 8:00 – 17:00. Before your first visit to the Library, please get in touch with us so that we can arrange your access to the building and introduce you to the space and collections.

All other non-members of the Department, including volunteers in the Botanic Garden and visitors to the University Herbarium, may access the Library by prior appointment, during staffed hours.


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.

Contact information

Librarian: Frankie Marsh


Postal address:

Cory & Herbarium Libraries
Sainsbury Laboratory
47 Bateman Street
Cambridge, CB2 1LR
United Kingdom