Welcome to the California Academy of Sciences Library

The Academy Library serves the research and educational needs of all Academy staff, docents, volunteers, members, educators and students, and the community at large. Our mission is to facilitate access to scientific information and Academy history

Manzanita Image Project

Nicobar Pigeon; Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences

The Manzanita Image Project is a Web resource of images of plants, animals, fungi, landscapes & habitats and people & culture from the California Academy of Sciences Library.  The project is a partnership with CalPhotos, a project of the University of California, Berkeley Digital Library.  Use of Manzanita Project images is easy and free for educational use.

Visit the Manzanita Image Project

One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art & Natural History Collections

Specimen collections are never created with a single use in mind. We invite you to become involved and look at our collections through new eyes - the eyes of four phenomenal west coast visual artists. Throughout the spring and summer of 2014, museum visitors will have the opportunity to speak with Resident Artists and even participate in hands-on workshops.


One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art & Natural History Collections is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. www.imls.gov

Connecting Content


The California Academy of Sciences Library is a bit over two years into a three year IMLS National Leadership Grant project titled "Connecting Content: A Collaboration to Link Field Notes to Specimens and Published Literature."  Connecting Content is an effort involving the California Academy of Sciences, Missouri Botanical Garden, Harvard University Botany Libraries, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology Library, the New York Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. This innovative project is looking at ways to create simple, discoverable, and intuitive relationships between published scientific literature and the field books and specimens from which the literature is derived. 

Connecting Content Venn Diagram

Learn more about the Connecting Content project...

From the Stacks: the Academy Library blog

Jennifer Linderman, a.k.a. Origami Mami, is a multi-media artist whose passion is working in three-dimensional paper arts. She is a published origamist who teaches an origami after school program five days a week for children throughout the East Bay. In addition, she enjoys drawing and watercolor painting and is an all-around crafty gal. Jennifer especially […]
Ben Burke is an Oakland, CA based artist with an enviable skill set. Burke is a writer, poet, fabricator, collector, performer, puppeteer, designer, and if that weren’t enough he also directs! His work is usually manifested as stories, poems, performances, or junk-automata. Common themes in Burke’s work are the exploration of the unexpected and the unknown […]
T EDWARD BAK was born in Denver, but is drawn to travel and frequently migrates throughout North America. He began WILD MAN, a graphic novel about the voyages of Georg Steller,after exploring Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage. Since then he has conducted research in the Aleutian archipelago and St. Petersburg, Russia. His stories have been featured in […]
On Tuesday June 24th, our own Kelly Jensen (Digital Production Assistant) will be giving a talk about the Academy Archives as part of Odd Salon. Topics will include our recent digitization and preservation projects, particularly the film reels of the Academy’s 1950s-era television show, Science in Action. Science in Action was one of the first […]
  San Francisco based artist Monika Lea Jones never completely divided herself between the seemingly separate artistic and scientific minds. Compositions featuring animals and celestial objects are rendered using the bright colors of paint, photography and other digital means. Monika is inspired by both her current urban environment and nature and seeks to bridge these worlds by creating fantastical […]


natural history collection

The Importance of Natural History Collections


Front Cover Hearst Publication

CAS Special Publication: The Coral Triangle - The 2011 Hearst Philippine Biodiversity Expedition


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  • Who can use the Academy Library?

    The Library is open to all staff, students, and volunteers of the Academy during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm).

    Members of the public with a legitimate research interest are welcome to use the collections by appointment.

  • Can I check out books from the Academy Library?

    Items from the Academy Library only circulate to Academy Staff for in-house use. Members of the public may view items in the Naturalist Center


  • How do I contact a Librarian?

    Librarians are generally available during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm).

    We can help you with questions, provide referrals, or schedule an appointment for you to visit the Library.

    You can contact the Library by

    Phone: (415) 379-5484

    Email: library@calacademy.org



  • How do I look up a book?

    All of the Academy Library and Naturalist Center book, journal, and multimedia holdings are listed in the Academy Library catalog.

    Confused? Watch a tutorial on searching the Academy Library catalog.

    There are many ways to find items in the Academy Library catalog.

    Watch a short tutorial

  • How do I find journal articles?

    The Academy Library offers access to a variety of databases and indexes, both free and subscription services.  You must be on-site at the Academy to use the subscription databases.

    Browse our Indexes & Databases

  • I know what I want, now how do I get it?

    First, look it up in the Catalog.

    If we don't own it, try the following:

    Academy Staff ONLY: Place an Interlibrary Loan request.

    If you do not have Academy Library borrowing privileges, try searching WorldCat.org to see if a library near you owns the item.

  • Can I reuse or publish your photographs or other materials?

    In most cases, the answer is yes.  Please see Scanning, Reproduction & Use for more information.

  • How do I search for archival collections in the catalog?

    As a rule, those collections are not listed in the Library catalog.  You can browse the list of manuscript holdings here and you can search Archives image collections in the Manzanita Image Gallery.


    Please contact archives [at] calacademy [dot] org with any questions.

  • Can I volunteer at the Library?

    We periodically have volunteer opportunities for both short-term, project based and long-term assignments. 

    Please contact Volunteer Services if you are interested in becoming a Library volunteer.