The Academy Library, founded in 1853, is a research library devoted to natural history and the natural sciences. 

The Academy Library, founded in 1853, is a research library devoted to natural history and the natural sciences. Our subject strengths include Systematics and Taxonomy, Evolutionary Biology, Biodiversity, Biogeography, Local and Regional Natural Sciences, and Natural History. Our varied collections include books, journals (in print and online), photographs, slides, digital images, maps, primary source materials, and other media.

Our mission is to facilitate access to scientific information and Academy history, to research the interconnectivity of information, and to seek out new ways of providing access to resources and records.

Library is currently closed

The Library is currently closed, and we expect to re-open in early 2019.  To be notified when the Library re-opens please click on the Notification List link below.  For any other requests or questions please click on the Library & Archive Request link below, and we will respond to you in early 2019.

Library books


Our collections include the Research, Reference, Rare Books, and Serials sections, as well as Map Collections and the Archives—home to materials related to the history of the Academy itself. And that's just for starters.


Image of Academy library staff- 1968


Library collections are curated and maintained by Academy librarians in close consultation with museum curators. We're available by appointment to Academy staff, members, educators, students, and volunteers,  and the community at large.


Hood Island Marine Iguana, from the Manzanita Collection

Online Resources

From databases of our own holdings—including the expansive Academy Library catalog—to partnerships such as The Online Archive of California (OAC) and Manzanita Image Project, we offer countless ways to access hundreds of years of natural-science history. 



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Library FAQs

Library FAQs

Can I borrow a book? How do I volunteer? Who can use the library? Click below for answers to these and other frequently asked questions.