Established in 1972, the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture is found inside the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Known as the most comprehensive horticultural library in northern California, the growing collection of about 27,000 volumes and 350 plant/ garden periodicals is an impressive assortment found right in Golden Gate Park. In addition to the regular circulation of books, the library is home to a children’s botanical library carrying more than 1,600 items. Throughout the year, visitors may also take advantage of a story time program and art exhibitions.

Things to Do

The Helen Crocker Russell Library offers a wealth of horticulture information – perfect for the budding botanist or gardening enthusiast. Books cover topics such as garden design, botanical art, gardening, ethno botany and pest management. The library provides a great deal of data regarding plants grown in Mediterranean and other mild temperate climates. Study, learn, and become educated.

Story Time and Family Walks

A literary hideaway awaits younger visitors of the Library. Complete with kid-sized seating and stuffed animal friends, the Library is home to a pleasant collection of books for children that touch upon topics such as plants, natural history, general science and nature-related myths and stories. Held on the first and third Sunday of every month at 10:30 a.m., the Library offers a story time for children ages 4 to 8. Following the approximately 30-minute long story time, a special docent-led children’s tour of the Garden leaves at 11 a.m. This is a free event for all to enjoy.

Details regarding story time and family walk opportunities can be found at the Library’s schedule of events:

Children’s Books for SFBGS Members and SFUSD Teachers

SFBGS Members and SFUSD teachers are allowed to check-out children’s books at the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture after applying for a library card. Circulation privileges are available only to current San Francisco Botanical Garden Society members (SFBGS), and current San Francisco Unified School District teachers (SFUSD). To apply, proof of current membership or proof of current employment as a teacher (such as a placement letter), a photo ID, and complete a library card application is required. A maximum of 10 books can be taken out at one time for up to three weeks.

Contact Details

Address: 1199 9th Avenue
Phone Number: (415) 661-1316

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday – Sunday
Closed on Tuesdays and major holidays.