Collection Development Policy

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The Library has an important role in Ireland, as it is the only Library in the country, which specialises in Botany and Horticulture.

User Group

The primary user group in the library are the staff and students of the Botanic Gardens and members of the public interested in researching botany or horticulture.

Description of the Collection

Most of the material is located within the classification ranges of 580ís (Botany), 630-635 (Horticulture). However, as much of the material is multidisciplinary we have items in many other areas, including Art, Landscape Architecture and Biography.

There are over 16,000 catalogued items in the collection, this includes rare and reference books. There is a collection of Floras from around the world.

Rare Books

This collection is housed in a climate controlled, Rare Books Room.


There are over 1,500 titles in the Periodicals Collection. This collection is acquired through a number of means; subscription, exchange with other botanical institutions, and on a complimentary basis.

Botanical Art

The art collection is housed in both the Art Room and the Rare Books Room. Included in the collection are George Victor Du Noyer, Charlotte Wheeler Cuffe, Lydia Shackleton, Alice Jacob as well as contemporary botanical artists such as Susan Sex and Wendy Walsh.

Nursery Catalogues

There is a collection of nursery catalogues from Britain and Ireland. They date from the 19th century to the present day.

Historic Gardens Archive

The archive of Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes is on permanent loan to the library from the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Archives of the Gardens

A significant portion of the archives of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin is housed in the Library and Herbarium. This includes correspondance, ephemera and other material of historical importance related to the Gardens.

Photographic Archive

This a collection of photographs relating specifically to the Gardens. These include people, plants and buildings related to the National Botanic Gardens.

Sources of Material

The library acquires items through purchase, donations and exchange programmes with other botanical institutions.

Selection Criterea

The following factors influence the decision to acquire an individual item:

  1. Scope - its relevance to the interests of staff and students of the Gardens.
  2. The known or anticipated demand from users
  3. Its currency - especially in areas where information dates rapidly and collections of historical material are not made
  4. Its cost
  5. The number, status and condition of any existing copies in the collection
  6. The existence of alternatives or substitutes
  7. Its format, if relevant


  1. Language
  2. There is no language restriction.

  3. Geographical Area
  4. Items relating to Irish natural and local history will be collected. The aim is to collect all Irish Floras.

    Floras and plant guides for the following regions will be actively collected, especially:

    New Zealand, Central America, Chile, Australia, China, North America, Former Soviet Union, South East Asia, Mediterranean, Temperate regions.

  5. Chronological Period
  6. There is no restriction on time scale.

  7. Format
  8. The book and periodicals collections are in print format only.

    At present we do not have subscriptions to any electronic resources. This may be reviewed in the future should the need arise.

    CD-ROMS are accepted.

  9. Type
  10. Items of the following types are collected: books, periodicals, monographs, journals, theses (Teagasc degree theses or those donated to the Library), archival manuscripts, art, photographs, ephemera, audio-visual, CD ROM.

  11. Special Considerations
  12. Most of the collection is open access. Access is restricted to the Rare Books, Art Room, Archives and Photographs.

  13. Specific Subject Areas or Items to be collected
  14. The Library will collect items in the subject area of ethnobotany, biodiversity and conservation.

    Contemporary botanical art will also be considered for the collection, particularly art executed by artists working in Ireland and those specifically working on the National Botanic Gardens or its collections.

Last updated: 1 September, 2008