History of the library

The origins of the library are undocumented but it has been part of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden since 1913 when the Garden was founded. The library developed around the nucleus personal books of Professor Robert Harold Compton who in 1921 mentioned the library for the first time in his official papers. In 1926 the library received its first budget; a sum of £18 10s 2d!

Miss Marjorie Heginbotham was appointed as the first Treasurer/Librarian in 1948. During the early years of the library staff was very involved with editing the Journal of South Africa Botany, published by Kirstenbosch. Since then it has grown considerably and has moved several times. It is presently housed in the Kirstenbosch Research Centre, built in 1993 and named after Harry Molteno, who was instrumental in establishing the Molteno Trust, which funded the Kirstenbosch Research Centre.

Visit SANBI library catalogue provided by OpenOPAC.

Library collection

The library has approximately 8 000 books, 750 journal titles of which 49 are current titles and a pamphlet collection of about 5 000 items. It maintains an index of journal articles about SA flora and related topics.

Subjects covered include taxonomy, biodiversity, conservation ecology, climate change, global warming, morphology, plant anatomy, plant geography, and ethnobotany, history of botany, palaeobotany and plant exploration.

Library hours

Mondays to Fridays from 08h30 – 16h30

Visiting the Library

Members of the public, learners and students are welcome to use the Library for research purposes. Photocopying facilities are available. Please make an appointment if you wish to visit the Library.

Contact us on +27 (0)21 799 8712 or email the Librarian.

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