The Desert Botanical Garden Schilling Library is home to a very specialized collection of books and journals about deserts and desert plants of the world. You are welcome to visit and use the resources of the Schilling Library or browse the catalog online.
Location & Hours
The Schilling Library is located in the Nina Mason Pulliam Desert Research and Horticulture Center (east of The Sybil B. Harrington Cactus & Succulent Galleries)
Monday – Friday
Noon to 4 p.m.
Planning to do some research? Please call ahead to ensure that the Librarian is available to assist you 480 481.8133.
- The collection is available for in-house research only – books do not circulate.
- Photocopies can be made for 20 cents per page.
- Library users are asked to refrain from eating or drinking in the library (covered water bottles are allowed).
The Schilling Library contains a wealth of botanical resources with a special emphasis on the subjects of cacti and other succulents, and plants native to our area – the southwest United States and northern Mexico. Other subjects in the collection include:
- Desert plants of the world
- Animal life
- Natural history
- Ethnobotany or man's relationship with plants
- Rare and endangered plants
- Botanical illustration
- Sustainable practices
- Desert gardening and landscaping
The collection contains more than 7,500 books and 300-plus journal and newsletter titles, of which 50 are current subscriptions.
The Schilling Library is home to Max C. Richter’s outstanding collection of rare books and botanical art prints. These botanical books and prints, dating from the 16th century through the 19th century, represent many fine examples of early bookbinding and printmaking. Among others, the collection includes:
* John Gerard’s Herbal, or General Historie of Plants (1597)
* Richard Bradley’s History of Succulent Plants (1716)
* Linnaeus’s Species Plantarum (1762, 2nd ed.)
These special resources are maintained in our climate-controlled Becker Library Archives and are only available by appointment with the librarian.
Additional archived collections include the research materials of noted botanists Lyman Benson and Edward F. Anderson as well as the historic papers and photographs of the Desert Botanical Garden.
The Schilling Library has grown through the years with the gifts of several private libraries – most notably the collection of Max Clemens Richter, a book dealer and collector from Santa Barbara, California. In the 1960s, he offered his library to the Garden and in 1970, the Richter Memorial Library was dedicated.
Along with many important botany books, Mr. Richter’s donation contained the collection of Scott Haselton, early editor of the Cactus and Succulent Journal of America. These materials formed a valuable foundation for the library’s collection, in addition to the donations of Garden founder, Gertrude Webster, and former Garden directors, W. Taylor Marshall and Hubert Earle.
The original Richter Library building is located adjacent to the Webster Auditorium. In 2002, the space was transformed into a meeting room and the library collection was relocated to the Nina Mason Pulliam Desert Research and Horticulture Center.