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Visit and use the Library

Sterling Morton Library at The Morton Arboretum

Ask the Librarian





Visiting the Library

The Library is located in the Administration & Research Center of The Morton Arboretum, southwest of the Visitor Center (a short walk). Library patron parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to the Administration & Research Center. 



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!


Using the Library

The Sterling Morton Library is open to all. Nonmembers must pay Arboretum admission fees in order to gain access. LEARN MORE


Circulating Collection

Borrowing Privileges

Arboretum members, staff, and volunteers can borrow books from the circulating and eBook collections. Nonmembers are invited to use resources in the Library's reading room or request items from their local library via interlibrary loan.  

Loan Period

  • Books may be borrowed for four weeks.
  • Up to six books may be checked out during a loan period.
  • Books may be renewed for an additional four weeks.
  • Special collections, periodicals, and reference books do not circulate.


Renewing Books

  • Online: Log into your account on SWAN, the Library's online catalog.
  • By phone: Call 630-719-2429.
  • In person: Bring your books to the circulation desk at the Library.


Book Return

  • Books should be returned to the circulation desk at the Library.
  • If the Library is closed, books may be left at the Gatehouse, Administration & Research Center reception desk, or Visitor Center Information Desk.



  • Overdue fines: 10¢ a day.
  • Photocopies: 20¢ each. Please allow 48 hours for high volume photocopying. Staff may not allow photocopying of fragile material.


eBook Collection

Through a consortium of botanical and horticultural libraries, the Sterling Morton Library offers thousands of eBooks for digital borrowing to Arboretum staff, members, and volunteers. 

Begin at the login page.
Enter your official Sterling Morton Library patron number (conveniently found on the back of your Sterling Morton Library card) in the box.  
  • Hint: Your patron number will begin with: 28070 … and no spaces are necessary.

Not sure or need a reminder of your patron number?  While the Library is temporarily closed, if you haven't registered yet in the Library or can't locate your card, please complete this form.   



ACORN = Arboretum COllections & Resources Nexus

ACORN provides online access to the Special Collections of the Sterling Morton Library. New resources are added to the system on a regular basis as a part of ongoing cataloging and digitization efforts.


Reference Collection, Journal Collection, and Current Nursery Catalogs

  • Resources from the Reference, Journal, or Nursery Catalog Collections may be consulted in the Library only.  Photocopying is available.  


Special Collections

  • Works from the Special Collections may be viewed on site by appointment only.  Please submit your request for an appointment here


Tours and Educational Presentations

  • Tours and presentations about the Sterling Morton Library collections are available by appointment only.  Please submit your request for an appointment here.


Image Use Requests

  • See an image you'd like to use? Please submit your request here.