Library

Reap the rewards of reading.

Members and visitors are welcome to browse, read, relax and enjoy the Warren H. Corning Library.

The Warren H. Corning Library is temporarily closed to the public. Our collection focuses on trees and woody plants and shrubs, ecology, woodlot management, forest farming and sustainability, nature and plant propagation, and conservation.

For inquiries, please contact Director of Education Sharon Graper at sgraper@holdenfg.org.


Hours

Tuesday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm

440.946.4400, ext. 225

Search the Holden Forests & Gardens Catalog

Find books, videos and periodicals from both the Warren H. Corning Library and the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Eleanor Squire Library in the online catalog. Materials can be used in the library by the general public. Members may borrow circulating books. Similar titles will be in one catalog record. Search by Author, Title, or Subject for most inquiries. When an item appears, click on its title for more details AND its location at either institution.

Search Library Catalog

Circulation Policy

All current members of the Cleveland Botanical Garden and Holden Arboretum, their families as well as staff, interns, and volunteers may borrow library materials. Membership cards will be honored at either location. Items can be retrieved and sent to either location within 1-2 business days. Items may be returned to either library. Library items circulate for three weeks and can be renewed in person, by phone or through email. Up to 10 items can be checked out at any given time. If a patron has overdue items, they may not be able to check out additional items. Replacement costs will be pursued for items long overdue or lost.

Reference Services

Staff, members and visitors may seek reference assistance in person, by phone or by email:

Library phone – 440.946.4400, ext. 225
E-mail – Gary Esmonde, Librarian gesmonde@holdenfg.org

Special Collections

Special Collection consists of approximately 500 titles (1,000 volumes), which are housed in a separate, climate-controlled room. Subject specialties include dendrology, fruit trees, monographs on woody plants and shrubs, conifers, oaks, rhododendrons, roses, herbals and medical botany, exploration of the natural world, floras of the world, botanical art and illustration, and horticultural and botanical journals.

Materials range in age from 1483 through late 20th century.

The rare book collection is available to the public by appointment to those doing research or with a special interest in historical materials. Contact the librarian to arrange an appointment (gesmonde@holdenfg.org)

Archives

Archives collects and saves all records and artifacts pertaining to the Arboretum having permanent organizational, historical, or scientific value. It is housed in the Special Collections room.

Back issues of Leaves, the past Arboretum magazine and the new title Holden Forests & Gardens magazine are indexed and searchable from 2000 to 2016. More recent issues are being added.


History

The Holden Arboretum was created by Albert Fairchild Holden as a memorial for his daughter, Elizabeth, who died in 1908 at the age of 12. Originally, the Arboretum was to have been located on the family estate in Bratenahl, but family interests precluded its use. An extensive survey of the region was conducted before Lake County was chosen as the home for the new arboretum.

This new venture gained the support of investor Warren H. Corning, who in 1930 built his home, Lantern Court, on Kirtland-Chardon Road near the fledgling Arboretum. Corning served on the Board from 1937 to 1958 and served as an unpaid executive administrator from 1952-1958. His deep interest in the future of Holden Arboretum and in rare botanical and horticultural books set the stage for the formation of a library.

It was under the new director, Henry Norweb, that the first library was formed. Norweb’s wife, formerly the librarian at the State Library of Maine, was given the position of librarian. The early collection was made up of textbooks from the staff and duplicates from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It was housed in one room of the Cooper building.

Warren H. Corning began massive purchases of new botanical texts for the library. To provide a separate space for the developing library, he anonymously donated an extension of the Cooper Building and this was the first formal “home” of the library. It was completed in 1964 and was named the Warren H. Corning Library in recognition of his unflagging support. Corning also donated a substantial collection of rare botanical and horticultural books that became the core of our present-day Special Collections.

In 1979 construction began on a new visitor’s center. Named the Corning Visitor Center, space was allocated for the library and for a secure climate-controlled room for the rare books in Special Collections. It opened in 1980 and occupied a beautiful setting overlooking the butterfly garden.

In 2012 the library was completely redesigned. Today the Corning Library is a small, specialized library serving primarily the staff and members of Holden Arboretum, although visitors are welcome to browse the collections or ask reference questions. We presently have approximately 7,500 books, 30 journal subscriptions and approximately 75 CDs and DVDs.

  • Our collection focus is on trees and woody plants and shrubs, ecology, woodlot management, forest farming and sustainability, nature and plant propagation, and conservation/protection.
  • We place special emphasis on the Great Lakes region and Northeastern Ohio.
  • We also purchase on topics related to household gardening, environment, ecology and landscaping that are of interest to members.
  • Kid’s Corner has a large selection of children’s books.
  • We also have a Special Collections of approximately 500 titles (1000 volumes) which is housed in a separate climate-controlled room.
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