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Schumacher LibrarySchumacher Library

Library Resources

Library Policies

Plant and Gardening Information Service

Garden Adventure Packs for Families

Plant and Gardening Online Resources

Contact Information


The Schumacher Library is Closed Until Further Notice Due to COVID-19.

Seed CatalogsOlbrich's Schumacher Library houses approximately 3,500 volumes, including both books and journals, with an emphasis on plants grown in the Midwestern United States and tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The library collection covers many aspects of horticulture and botany ranging from homegardening to plant classification, ethnobotany to plant explorations, and more. The collection includes numerous natural history and environmental studies resources. All visitors are welcome to explore the many resources available in the Schumacher Library.

The library is staffed by a Horticulture Librarian and volunteers who are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily to answer questions and help find resources. Visit the library during open hours, call (608) 246-5805, or email olbrichplantinfo@cityofmadison.com.


Library Resources

Online Catalog

Search our current catalog by visiting LibraryThing.com. Most of our adult books are catalogued on this online reference service. Call the library directly at (608) 246-5805 to check on the status of a title.

Books & Journals
The emphasis of the collection (nearly 3,500 volumes) is on home gardening in the Midwest, landscape design, rainforests, tropical plants, herbs, trees and shrubs, individual plant species and more.

Journals are available and include topics about general and specialty gardening.

Books in the Schumacher LibraryThe reference collection has resources on many plant families and species, pests and disease resources, and botanical Latin dictionaries.

The children's book collection includes topics about plants, nature, and gardening.

Seed and Nursery Catalogs

The seed and nursery catalogs are indexed to assist in finding mail-order companies that carry particular seed and plants.


The DVD collection includes topics about gardening, tropical habitats, and butterflies.


Library Policies

All visitors are welcome to use resources while in the library.

Olbrich Botanical Society members and volunteers may check out books and other resources that are available for circulation. Books circulate for four weeks, journals and DVDs for one week, and new books for two weeks.


Plant and gardening Information Service

The Horticulture Librarian and volunteers in Olbrich's Schumacher Library are available to answer plant and gardening questions. Inquiries can range from finding the names of plants in Olbrich's outdoor gardens and indoor Conservatory, choosing the best plants for certain growing conditions, basic gardening techniques, and more.

To best assist you with your plant and gardening questions, provide a photograph. Please do not bring any plant material to Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

You can email your plant and gardening questions with a photograph, along with your phone number, to olbrichplantinfo@cityofmadison.com or mail a completed Plant Info Request Form to the Horticulture Librarian.


Garden Adventure Packs - family drop in activity

Child wearing backpack walking through gardensGarden Adventure Packs may be checked out (first-come, first-served) from the Schumacher Library by all families while visiting Olbrich. They're perfect for encouraging children's natural curiosity and introducing them to the wonders of plants and nature.

Packs provide hands-on tools and resources for you and your little learner to explore the gardens and feel the excitement of discovery.

Packs include a scavenger hunt, pair of binoculars, handheld kaleidoscope, magnifying glass, identification guide, book to read, and tips on how to use the items to observe nature together.


Plant and Gardening Online Resources

Consider using these online plant and garden resources:

  • Plant Information Online, maintained by the University of Minnesota, provides sources to nursery plants and seeds. It is searchable by common and botanical plant name. It also indexes science and garden literature.
  • The University of Wisconsin-Extension Learning Store provides information about trees, shrubs, vegetables, flowers, landscaping, insects, and plant diseases.
  • The Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic, through the University of Wisconsin-Extension, provides resources in identifying plant diseases, and provides educational information on plant diseases and their control.
    • If after exploring their website you have questions about services provided by the Plant Disease Diagnostics Clinic, contact the clinic at (608) 262-2863 or bdh@plantpath.wisc.edu


Contact Information

Horticulture Librarian
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
3330 Atwood Avenue
Madison, WI 53704
Phone: (608) 246-5805
Fax: (608) 246-4719

Plant & Gardening Info Service: olbrichplantinfo@cityofmadison.com


Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719