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Sterling Morton Library

Sterling Morton Library at The Morton Arboretum

Welcome to the Sterling Morton Library 

Designed by noted Chicago architect Harry Weese, the Sterling Morton Library is an attractive space, with curved cherry bookcases, glass shelves, a ceiling that appears to float, and its own intimate garden—the May T. Watts Reading Garden—a perfect place to spend a summer's day reading a good book. 

The Sterling Morton Library provides significant resources of scientific, literary, artistic, and historical value in support of the Arboretum’s mission. Devoted mainly to the subjects of botany and horticulture, especially as related to trees and shrubs that can be grown in northern Illinois, the Library collections also cover such subjects as  forestry, conservation, natural history,  and landscape design.  LEARN MORE

The library is open to students, researchers, gardeners, natural history enthusiasts, and anyone who wishes to use it.       


The Morton Arboretum will be temporarily closed through May 31 as an additional measure to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The proactive, full closure of the Arboretum’s site is to ensure social distancing in support of public health. The safety and wellbeing of Arboretum visitors and employees are top priority.

The Sterling Morton Library is temporarily closed and staff are working offsite. We are available by email and ready to help with your research questions. Please send your questions to library@mortonarb.org or call 630-719-2429. We look forward to hearing from you!


SEARCH THE CATALOG   ASK THE LIBRARIAN  Explore the Library's eBook Collection   



Check Out This Month's Library Profile

On September 27 we celebrate the 164th birthday of the Arboretum's founder, Joy Morton! To learn more about his impact on the Arboretum, check out this month's profile: LEARN MORE


Currently Happening in the Sterling Morton Library 

Plant Hunters
Our current exhibit, Plant Hunters, explores the practice and history of plant exploration and collecting. The exhibit features artifacts from the Library's special collections relating to famous plant hunters from history, including rare photographs of turn-of-the-century China taken by Ernest Henry Wilson. Visitors can explore modern plant hunting and conservation efforts by scientists at The Morton Arboretum. LEARN MORE

Leafing Through the Pages
Interested in a morning of community, connectivity and spirited conversation? Join Leafing Through the Pages, the Library's book discussion group! Meeting on the second Thursday of each month from 10 a.m. until noon, this group explores works of fiction and non-fiction relating to natural history, ecology, and gardens.

Click here for additional information about upcoming classes and events to be held in the Sterling Morton Library.