Schilling Library

Browse our collection of botanical resources.

Desert Botanical Garden Schilling Library is dedicated to Carol & Randy Schilling in appreciation of their generous gifts to the Garden's endowment.


Monday – Friday | Noon to 4 p.m.
Researching a topic? Please call or email before your visit to ensure the librarian is available to assist you.
Beth Brand, 480 481.8133,

Search the Schilling Library Catalog online.

General Collections

The Schilling Library contains – more than 9,000 books and 500 journal titles - a wealth of botanical resources with a special emphasis on the subjects of cacti and other succulents, and plants native to the southwest United States and northern to central Mexico. Other subjects in the collection include but not limited to:

  • Desert gardening and landscaping
  • Rare and endangered plants
  • Taxonomy
  • Desert wildlife, ecology and natural history
  • Ethnobotany (man’s uses and relationship with plants)
  • Medicinal plants
  • Sustainable practices
  • Botanical illustration

Special Collections

Max C. Richter’s outstanding collection of rare books and botanical art prints date from the 16th through the 19th century. Many of these resources reveal the early history of plant discovery and often contain the initial publishing of plant species new to science. Among others, the collection includes:

  • Linnaeus’s Species Plantarum (1762m 2nd ed.)
  • John Gerard’s Herbal, or General Historie of Plants (1597)
  • Richard Bradley’s History of Succulent Plants (1716)

This historic collection contains fine examples of early bookbinding and printmaking and are maintained in the climate-controlled Becker Library Archives.

Additional archived collections include the research materials of noted botanists Lyman Benson and Edward F. Anderson as well as historic papers and photographs of the Garden. Special collections are available by appointment only with the librarian.

Library Policies

  • The collection is available for in-house research only. 
  • Color photocopies available 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 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. 

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.

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