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Library and Archives

This natural history collection is one of the oldest in Canada, tracing its beginnings to 1842 with the formation of the Geological Survey of Canada.

Located in our research and collections facility, the library of the Canadian Museum of Nature contains more than 35 000 books (titles) and 2000 periodical titles, of which 200 are current subscriptions, as well as:

  • museum publications
  • cartographic materials
  • manuscripts
  • microforms
  • cassettes
  • videos
  • CD-ROMs
  • CDs
  • DVDs.

Our collection specializes in the subject areas of interest to the museum, including

  • biology
  • biodiversity
  • botany
  • conservation and care of collections
  • ecology
  • mineral sciences
  • natural history
  • paleobiology
  • wildlife
  • zoology.

The collection is particularly strong in the fields of the Canadian Arctic, ornithology, systematics and taxonomy.

Members of the public and academia, as well as employees of federal and provincial governments are welcome to use our library's collections.

Online Library Catalogue

Browse the online catalogue of the museum's library holdings. The online catalogue contains all library holdings catalogued since 1978. Pre-1978 materials must be accessed manually through the card catalogue.

Rare Books

The library also includes a Rare Book Collection that consists of 4000 pre-20th century monographs, manuscripts and periodicals that cover expeditions, natural history, biological and earth sciences, dating back to the 1500s.


All museum staff, volunteers and associates can use the library collection and borrow material. Members of the public are welcome to use library material on site.
Reference materials, rare books and the latest issues of serials are for use only in the library.

Interlibrary Loans

The interlibrary loan service allows museum staff to borrow material from other libraries and provides loans to external users through their own libraries.
Interlibrary loan request forms must be completed to access this service.

Serials (Journals and Periodicals)

The library subscribes to 200 journals in natural history. Current issues of serials are displayed at the front of the library for one month. Bound and unbound volumes of serials are shelved in call number order on the first floor.

Reference Services

Reference staff provide assistance in the use of the library's collections and reference tools, answer queries, and determine which information source or service is best suited to your research needs.

Photocopying, Microform Readers, Scanner

A photocopier (fees may apply to external users), microform reader and scanner are available for use in the library.

General Information

Contact Us

Tel: 613.364.4042
Email: cmnlib@mus-nature.ca

Library Hours

Open by appointment
Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 4 pm

Library Location

Canadian Museum of Nature
1740 Pink Road
Gatineau, Quebec

Mailing Address

Canadian Museum of Nature
Library and Archives
P.O. Box 3443, Station D
Ottawa, ON K1P 6P4

David Barbour © Canadian Museum of Nature


A page from one of Catharine Parr Traill's botanical albums.

Rare Catharine Parr Traill Papers

Catharine Parr Traill is well-known as an early Canadian natural historian, and the Canadian Museum of Nature has most of her personal collection of albums of pressed plant specimens, collected in the late 1800s. Our Rare Books collection preserves a natural complement to these valuable artefacts of our history, one of 500 first editions (1868) of her Wildflowers of Canada. This botanical reference was the earliest Canadian botanical book for the general public, and features beautifully illustrated, oversized plates that were each painted, lithographed and individually hand-coloured by Agnes Fitzgibbon.