Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre

Library hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 am to 4:15 pm
Saturdays – 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Sundays – 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Founded in 1976, and relocated to the new Visitor Centre in 2011, the Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre is the largest public access botanical and horticultural library in western Canada.

The library’s collection focuses on gardening in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, and covers a wide range of topics including gardening techniques, selecting and growing ornamental plants, native floras from around the world, vegetable and herb gardening, pruning and training, North American ethnobotany, butterfly gardening, native plant gardening, flower arrangement, plant hunters, garden history, pests and diseases, garden design, gardens to visit, horticulture in urban environments, botany and plant ecology, plant conservation, literature in the garden, garden art, organic gardening, environmental science and much more.

The Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre’s valuable research collection complements the living resources of VanDusen Botanical Garden. In addition to our collection, you can enjoy regular art exhibitions in the Roberta Mickelson Gallery, which is inside the library.

Browse through our Library Photo Gallery

Search our catalogue now!

  • +General Information

    Using Our Collection

    The Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre is open for research purposes to the general public without charge. Borrowing privileges are restricted to VanDusen Garden members.

    Books at the Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre are organized by subject – if you’re interested in roses, you will find all the books on roses in one place. Reference and lending books are shelved side-by-side. You can tell them apart because all circulating books have a green stripe on their spines, indicating that they can be borrowed (by Garden members).
    Books without a stripe are for reference only, and will always be available for research in the library.

    Note: the Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre is not part of the Vancouver Public Library system.

    Borrowing Books

    Borrowing privileges are restricted to members of VanDusen Botanical Garden.

    Members can borrow a maximum of 2 books at a time for a loan period of two weeks. Circulating items may be renewed once by e-mail or phone (if they are not already overdue, and if no hold has been placed on them).

    Fines are charged for materials returned after the due date, and damaged or lost materials must be replaced or paid for by the subscriber.

    Materials can be returned to the Library during regular Library hours or at the Information Desk when the Library is closed.



    If you wish to direct a cash donation to the Library, to enhance the collection or donate to our Adopt-a-Shelf program please contact us at fundraising@vandusen.org or call 604-257-8677

    The Yosef Wosk Library and Learning Centre gratefully accepts donations towards new and gently used books for our collection and our used book sales.

    Contact Information

    General Information: 604-257-8668
    Fax: 604-257-8679
    E-mail: library@vandusen.org

    Mailing Address

    Yosef Wosk Library and Resource Centre
    5151 Oak Street
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    V6M 4H1


    Marina Princz
    Tel. 604-257-8668
    Email: library@vandusen.org


    Member of the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (http://www.cbhl.net/)
    An international organization whose purpose is to initiate and improve communications among persons and institutions concerned with the development, maintenance and use of libraries of botanical and horticultural literature.

  • +Book Feature

    Breaking the Rules of Watercolour by Shirley Trevena. Published by Batsford in London, UK in 2012. QK98.24 .T81 2012 circ. 

    In 12 chapters, each illustrating the development of a different painting, this well-known British Watercolourist takes the reader through her whole creative process. Starting with first thoughts, she shares tips, colour secrets and painting techniques that will inspire any level of painter to open up the ways they chose and portray subjects.

  • +Book Club

    Are you a member? If so, come join our friendly group on the 4th Tuesday of month (except July, August and December) from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. in the Visitor Centre’s Volunteer Lounge.

    The Yosef Wosk Library & Resource Centre Book Club has been meeting since 2008. Discussions focus on an eclectic variety of topics related to botany, horticulture and the natural world including gardening, gardens and gardeners, plant exploration, gardens in literature and art, ecological and environmental issues, natural history and more.

    For the months when a topic (rather than a single book) has been selected, members are asked to choose from among the suggested books or to find their own if no particular suggestions have been made.

    Each of our meetings are facilitated by one of our members. People are encouraged to share in this process and volunteer to take on the occasional session. For a more information, contact Marina Princz at library@vandusen.org or at 604-257-8668.

    Download 2019 Book Selections and Topics (PDF)>>

    Meeting dates:
    (No meetings in July, August or December)
    January 22
    February 26
    March 26
    April 23
    May 28
    June 25
    September 24
    October 22
    November 26

  • +Roberta Mickelson Gallery Exhibitions

    “Art in VanDusen Botanical Garden” is an annual exhibition by the Vancouver Plein Air Group.

    This year, their exhibition explores the many sculptures that enhance one’s stroll throughout VanDusen Botanical Garden.

    Twelve painters from this group have rendered, in different mediums, the sculptural works by Canadian and international artists such as George Lundeen, Gerhard Class, Sophie Ryder, Chris Booth, David Ruben, Steve Paterson and Janis Woode, Michael Prentice, Arthur Sterritt, Earl and Brian Muldoe, Gerhard Juchum and David Marshall. The exhibition will also include a reproduction by Andrea del Verrachio and a small rendition of the VanDusen Visitor Centre.

    This display of Vancouver painters celebrates the art of others.

    The exhibition will run from September 26 to December 18, 2019.

    We invite you to our opening reception; Saturday November 9th, 2 – 4pm. 

    Join us in the library during the Artists for Conservation event:
    Saturday, September 28th, 11am – 2pm
    Sunday, September 29th,  1pm – 4 pm


  • +2019 Speaker Series

    John Shinnick presents Growing Human Connections through Gardening

    Wednesday, October 16, 2:00 to 4:00 pm in the Guides Classroom, Visitor Centre.

    This event is free of charge, and we strongly encourage you to reserve your seat online ahead of time. Click here for more information. A few walk-in spots will be available on a first come, first served basis.

    Despite the trappings of living in an impersonal digital online world, our global human connections have the potential to be deep and satisfying. We live in communities and neighbourhoods where gardens of every type and size play an important, but often overlooked role in how our societies develop. Gardens bring people together, sometimes for a few moments, sometimes for a lifetime. A community garden plot, for example, is about much more than just potatoes, tomatoes and peas, it’s about gardeners and neighbours. A Greenstreet garden isn’t just flowers in a traffic circle; it’s about the neighbourhood, the neighbours, strangers meeting on a busy street, and the connections that grow from fleeting moments. A botanical garden isn’t just a botanical collection of plants, but the people, the volunteers, the gardeners and the citizen scientists who devote themselves to the idea of the garden and the connections they make to one another in the process.

    This talk, hosted by John Shinnick, a Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association volunteer guide and seed collector, is the story of one garden and the large web of connections that have grown out of it.

    Christine Allen and Michael Kluckner present Our Year at Killara Farm

    Tuesday, November 19, 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Guides Classroom, Visitor Centre.

    This event is free of charge, and we strongly encourage you to reserve your seat online ahead of time. Click here for more information.  A few walk-in spots will be available on a first come, first served basis.

    From 1993 to 2006, Christine Allen and Michael Kluckner lived on a 9-acre farm in the Fraser Valley. During this time, Christine kept a series of journals documenting the development of her 1-acre garden, as well as observations on the lives of the domestic and wild animals that shared their land. These journals, enhanced by Michael’s evocative paintings, became the basis for A Year at Killara Farm, which will be available for sale at the talk.

    Christine and Michael will talk their time on the farm and how the book evolved into yet another shared experience.

    Christine Allen is a long-time volunteer at VanDusen Botanical Garden, and has received both an Award of Recognition and an Award of Distinction from her fellow volunteers. She teaches in the Vancouver Master Gardener program, and is regularly invited to speak to garden clubs and other organizations. She has also written many articles for gardening publications in Canada and the U.S.

    Christine is the author of several books, including Gardens of Vancouver and Roses for the Pacific Northwest. Her most recent book is A Year at Killara Farm (Harbour Publishing), a memoir of her garden on the Langley farm where she lived from 1992 to 2006.

     Michael Kluckner is an artist and the author of a number of illustrated books, several focusing on Vancouver. During his and Christine’s time on the farm, he wrote two books – The Pullet Surprise (1997) and Wise Acres (2000) – as well as magazine articles for publications such as Harrowsmith. He is president of Vancouver Historical Society and chairs the city’s Heritage Commission. His recent creative interests include graphic novels on the Japanese-Canadian wartime internment (“Toshiko”) and the writer-explorer Julia Henshaw.

  • +What's New?

    The following is a selection of noteworthy books at our library on the topic of Sustainable Gardening:

    Tomorrow’s garden : design and inspiration for a new age of sustainable gardening by Stephen Orr. New York : Rodale, 2011.
    Call #: SB472.45 .O77 2011
    1 copy circ.


    Orr traveled the United States from coast to coast to find gardens both large and small that show how responsible gardeners are re-imaging the definition of a modern garden and addressing design, plant choice, water usage, materials, and more, in exciting, innovative, and often surprising ways.

    Bringing nature home : how native plants sustain wildlife in our gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy. Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2009.
    Call #: SB439 .T275 2009
    1 copy ref., 1 copy circ.


    The pressures on wildlife populations today are greater than they have ever been and many gardeners assume they can remedy this situation by simply planting a variety of flowering perennials, trees, and shrubs. As Douglas Tallamy points out in this revelatory book, that assumption is largely mistaken. Wild creatures exist in a complex web of interrelationships, and often require different kinds of food at different stages of their development. There is an unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife. When native plant species disappear, the insects disappear, thus impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals. Fortunately, there is still time to reverse this alarming trend, and gardeners have the power to make a significant contribution toward sustainable biodiversity. By favoring native plants, gardeners can provide a welcoming environment for wildlife of all kinds. Healthy local ecosystems are not only beautiful and fascinating, they are also essential to human well-being. By heeding Douglas Tallamy’s eloquent arguments and acting upon his recommendations, gardeners everywhere can make a difference.

    The new American landscape : leading voices on the future of sustainable gardening

    by Christopher, Thomas. Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2011.
    Call #: SB319.95 .N49 2011
    1 copy circ.


    Gardeners are the front line of defense in our struggle to tackle the problems of global warming, loss of habitat, water shortages, and shrinking biodiversity. In The New American Landscape, author and editor Thomas Christopher brings together the best thinkers on the topic of gardening sustainably, and asks them to describe the future of the sustainable landscape. The discussion unfolds from there, and what results is a collective vision as eloquent as it is diverse.

    The New American Landscape offers designers a roadmap to a beautiful garden that improves, not degrades the environment. It’s a provocative manifesto about the important role gardens play in creating a more sustainable future that no professional garden designer can afford to miss.

    Shamanic gardening : timeless techniques for the modern sustainable garden by Melinda Joy Miller. Port Townsend, WA : Process Media, 2012.
    Call #: QK99 .A1 M384 2012
    1 copy circ.


    A shaman is one who walks in two worlds, one seen easily by everyone, another seen with the senses of the heart, deep recesses of the mind, and within the collective spiritual consciousness.

    Shamanic Gardening integrates sustainable ancient and traditional gardening methods with shamanic principles and modern permaculture. The practices, history, myths, recipes, and philosophies inside this book will enhance your relationship with nature, sustain the earth, delight your senses, and nourish your soul.

    This book teaches both simple and advanced techniques to garden with more awareness and effectiveness, using your inner senses. Learn to design an elegant, edible, sustainable landscape, plant for nutrition and beauty, grow healing herbs and aphrodisiacs, work with earth energies and color, extract flower essences, and much more.

    Food grown right, in your backyard : a beginner’s guide to growing crops at home by Colin McCrate. Seattle, WA : Skipstone, 2012.
    Call #: S494.5 .U72 M43 2012
    1 copy circ.


    This book provides an easy, inspiring introduction for first-timers who want to grow their own food while saving money and time. Written by the founders of the nationally recognized Seattle Urban Farm Company, this full color, beautifully photographed guide, they prove that anyone can develop a “green thumb,” as they show readers how to build a garden from the ground up, explaining general gardening basics and discussing the best types of crops to try.

    Stand up and garden by Moss-Sprague, Mary. Woodstock, VT : Countryman Press, c2012.
    Call #: SB463.5 .M68 2012
    1 copy circ.


    Focusing on containers, trellises, and raised beds, this book shows how everyone can garden, including those with physical limitations like arthritis or location limitations like apartment-dwellers without backyards.

  • +Preschool Storytime

    Preschool storytelling is for children ages 3 – 5. Siblings welcome if quiet and engaged.

    NEW! We’ve added sessions on the second Saturday of each month!

    Register now for Preschool storytime on July 13, 2019 from 11:00 am -11:45 am. We read books, sing songs, and have time for family reading and play with educational toys in the library. To register, and for more information, contact Marina Princz at 604-257-8668 or by email at library@vandusen.org

    Due to limited space, registration is required, but programs are free! Please note, registration begins immediately after the previous month’s session is over.

    View upcoming dates and themes >>

    Preschool Storytime on the 4th Wednesday of each month will resume in September – check back at the end of August for details on registration.