Horniman Library

Contact details

Website: http://www.horniman.ac.uk/collections/library-collections E-mail: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0)208 699 1872

Photo of the Horniman Library entrance

Entrance to the Horniman Library. Image
copyright: Horniman Museum and Gardens

About the library

The Horniman Library collection contains books from the 16th century through to the present day. Holdings range from academic texts to accounts by early explorers and illustrated monographs. The collection covers a wide spectrum of subject areas relating to the remit of the museum, focusing on natural history, anthropology and musical instruments.

The collection, which originated with Frederick Horniman's own book collection, has been added to by subsequent directors, curators and librarians and now amounts to some 30,000 volumes. The development of the library collections has been closely linked to object acquisition and curatorial practice in the museum and thus there is a strong connection between the book and object collections.

The library collection is primarily a resource for Horniman staff, and scholars with specific research needs. Public access is maintained to the library collections through our family reading programmes, including pop up library events in the museum and family reading spaces in our galleries, such as the Under 5s Book Zone beside the Apostle Clock on the North Hall Balcony.

For more information about our collections see our website.

The full local library catalogue is also available online.

British Library interlibrary loan code

  • Horniman Museum and Gardens Library: JL2

Accessing materials

Can I obtain items via Inter Library Loan? Yes, subject to the library's local lending policy. You must request an inter-library loan via a library of which you are a member. Talk to your own library staff about whether they think the document you need is likely to be available for loan and for advice on making an inter-library loan request.

Can I visit the library to view materials? Yes. The library is staffed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and open to researchers on these days by appointment. Our Library Open Days are on the first Sunday of every month. Join us from 10.30am – 5.30pm to browse the shelves, chat to the librarian and explore our collections further. No appointment necessary.

How do I find primary source material held at this institution? You can find out more about the Museum's object collections and archives by visiting the Museum website.


See the Horniman's website for information on access.

Horniman Library data on Copac

Example record from the Horniman Library:

Insectorum sive Minimorum animalium theatrum : olim ab Edoardo Wottono. Conrado Gesnero. Thomaque Pennio inchoatum ... / [Moffett, Thomas 1553-1604]
  London : Cotes, Thom 1634

You can browse all the titles on Copac starting with the above title.