Last week the METRO Green Libraries SIG meeting was hosted by Katherine Powis, the librarian at the Horticultural Society of New York. The library, in the midst of the Garment District, is open to the public. (You can also join the society, which includes the use of the library.)
And, it isn't only a place to learn about horticulture and plants. Katherine mentioned that they help many artists who are drawing plants and designers. She explained that it is a source of "hidden histories". The society was founded in 1900, an era of few large estates that employed gardeners, frequently from England, who trained American gardeners who developed their own styles, which are reflected in the articles. She said some of the articles in the bound volumes contain not kind references to others.
Since the 1960s, the Horticultural Society has been active in outreach to public libraries and to prisoners, including women and men at Rikers Island. "Horticultural therapy," which including working with plants, helps those with emotional problems and physical disabilities, in their recoveries, and their library collection includes this subject. She also suggested that their children's collection is a quick way to learn the basics about some plants and gardening.
The library is beautifully designed so it is a place to keep in mind for future reference. They have an active speakers program too.