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New Books


The Miller Library is open to the general public without charge and all collections are available for use within the library.

What May I Borrow?

Reference books and lending books are shelved side by side. If it has a red or yellow spine label, you can check it out. If not, the book is for library use only.

Registration for borrowing is required.

Pacific Northwest Connections:

The heart of the Miller Library’s book collections is the Pacific Northwest Connections. Here you find books by Pacific Northwest authors specific to gardening, horticulture, native plants, ecosystems and habitats of our region.
Also featured are books of the plants and gardens from other geographic areas with comparable climates and growing conditions, including New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, South Africa, Chile, and the Mediterranean. Many of these regions are included in the eco-geographic exhibits at the Washington Park Arboretum.

General Collection:

We have over 16,000 books on gardening techniques, ornamental plants, edible gardening, pests and diseases, garden design and history, urban agriculture, botany and plant ecology, and native floras from around the world.

Old and Rare Books:

Herbals from the 1600s, florilegia from the 1700s, popular gardening works form the 1800’s, older journals, and rare research materials are stored in a special collections, climate controlled room.  Occasionally included in library programs and displays, these items can be viewed by making an appointment with the Curator of Horticultural Literature.


Over 200 active subscriptions cover a range from magazines for home gardeners to journals for researchers. Over 600 titles include early twentieth century publications and current newsletters from regional garden clubs and arboreta. Search the catalog with advanced search limited to periodicals to discover what we hold. Some of these subscriptions are unique to the Miller Library.

Youth Collection:

The Youth Collection holds hundreds of gardening and nature-related titles for young people of all ages.  Subjects include school and home gardening, animals found in the garden, the ecology of gardens in urban settings, basic botany, plant related science projects, and studies of plants in their natural setting.  Both fiction and non-fiction titles have been selected for their educational value, and all can be checked out.

Along with the Youth Collection, explore our Parent/Teacher Resource Collection, packed with curriculum materials, field guides, garden planners, and other useful books for those who get outside with children.

An annotated list for both collections has been created to help with selection.

Nursery Catalogs:

Nearly 500 current wholesale and retail nursery catalogs are filed by name and indexed by subject. We also keep a record of those nurseries and seed houses doing business online who no longer print a catalog. Many of these catalogs are from companies in the Pacific Northwest. Current and historic publications from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and California north of Lake Tahoe are listed in our online catalog. PDF list of current catalogs by subject.

Special Collections and Archives:

Several small, specialized collections of materials are housed in the library. These include Washington State University Extension bulletins on horticultural topics, membership directories for many horticultural organizations, theses of UW Botanic Gardens graduate students, plus maps, plans and other documents from throughout the Botanic Gardens.

Our archives emphasize local publications and ephemera including pamphlets, correspondence, and newspaper clippings. Browse the Archives Inventory.


DVDs of famous gardens and flower shows, horticultural techniques and many other subjects are available to check-out, or to watch with a headset on the Miller Library’s DVD player.

CDs and Internet databases are available for use on the library’s 4 public computers. These include plant selection, gardening encyclopedias, photo collections, plant source finders and indexes to horticultural periodicals.  Many of the CDs are available to check out.

Collection Policy

The Elisabeth C. Miller Library supports the mission of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens in serving the gardening public and horticultural professionals and by collecting books, journals, and other materials that support research and teaching.

Acquisitions are based on collection levels by subjects. As part of the selection process, questions are posed of potential acquisitions as documented in the Collection Policy.