The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest biological society and has in its care several important collections, including those of the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and the Society’s founder, Sir James Edward Smith.

Designated a collection of outstanding national importance by the Arts Council England in 2014, the holdings of the Linnean Society (which include library, archive and biological material) provide an unsurpassed resource for the study of natural history.

Following the government’s announcement on easing restrictions, the Linnean Society will reopen its Library and Archives to visitors - by appointment only - from 14 April. Our initial opening hours will be restricted to two days a week: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:30am–3:30pm, with a more extensive reopening planned as the situation develops.

If you would like to make an appointment to visit the Library, please contact us at To ensure that your visit is COVID-secure, and to allow adequate time to retrieve material, we would ask that appointments are made at least 48 hours in advance. All visitors to the Library in this period will be asked to wear a face-covering, adhere to social-distancing protocols, and follow the Society’s COVID-mitigation guidelines (available here).

We would like to thank all our Fellows, Associate Members, readers, and visitors for their patience and support during this difficult period. We look forward to welcoming you back to the library soon.

The Library is open to Fellows and members of the public by appointment only due to the multipurpose use of the building. We are a small team, and if we know in advance what material you are interested in, this will help us to prepare and retrieve material to make your visit more successful.

Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm

Contact: +44 (0)20 7434 4479 EXT 223 |