Corning Library

Reap the rewards of reading.

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All are welcome to browse, read, relax and enjoy the Warren H. Corning Library. Sit and enjoy the scenery, grab a magazine, or let your children explore our Kids’ Corner!

Our collection focuses on trees and shrubs, ecology, woodlot management, forest farming and sustainability, native plants, and conservation.

Additionally, if you have questions about the history of Holden Arboretum, this is the place to ask! We have a full organizational archive and appointments and items are available upon request.

For inquiries regarding HF&G Libraries, please see our FAQ below or contact us through email at [email protected] or by phone at 440.946.4400, ext. 225


Search the Holden Forests & Gardens Collection

Find books and periodicals from both the Arboretum’s Warren H. Corning Library and the Garden’s Eleanor Squire Library in the online catalog. For best results, keep the drop-down option as “All Words” and search for the simplest form of your search term. For example, search for “orchid” instead of “how to get your orchid to bloom”.

Search the Catalog

Contact Us

If you have questions about the library, or general questions about plants and trees, you can contact us by phone or email:

Library phone – 440.946.4400, ext. 225
E-mail – [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

The Corning Library is open during business hours of the Arboretum. Check books out with Guest Services at the front desk when we are unstaffed.

The libraries are primarily volunteer-staffed, so our staffed times may not be consistent. Call ahead for most accurate hours. We endeavor to be staffed at the following times:

  • Tues, Thurs, Sun: 1-4pm
  • Sat 10-4pm

All current members of HF&G, 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 5 business days. Items may be returned to either library.

Library items circulate for three weeks and can be renewed by phone or through e-mail. Up to 10 items can be checked out at any given time. Historical and special collections as well as reference books are maintained for researchers and those who have a particular interest in certain botanical and horticultural books. For those who wish to have special access to the rare book collection at Corning Library, please call to make an appointment.

If a patron has overdue items they will not be able to check out additional items. While we do not have late fees, please endeavor to return your items on time.

It depends. In order to ensure our collection is as accessible and useful as possible, we choose our books as carefully as possible. Therefore, we ask that you only donate books that are less than 5 years old and in very good condition. However, if you would like to request certain topics for purchase, we do accept monetary donations to help cover the costs of books and supplies.

Our HF&G Libraries would not be possible without a dedicated team of over 30 volunteers. If you would like to help in the library, working remotely on special projects, or in providing high-quality Story Times for our guests, check out our Volunteer Page!

An early supporter of the Arboretum, Warren H. 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 Libby Norweb, formerly the librarian at the State Library of Maine and wife of the Arboretum’s new director, who was the first librarian. The early collection was made up of textbooks from the staff and duplicates from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and was housed in our Cooper Admin building, just north of the current Visitor’s Center.

Warren H. Corning began massive purchases of new botanical texts for the library while Libby worked to organize and accession the collection. To provide a separate space for the developing library, Corning anonymously donated an extension to 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 Rare Book Collection.

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 occupies 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 guests of Holden Arboretum, where all are welcome to browse the collections or ask reference questions.

Our Rare Book 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 us to arrange an appointment.

The Arboretum 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.

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