The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is open to the public.
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
- New Security Measures
- Directions and Maps
- Parking and Other Options
- Where is the History of Medicine Reading Room?
- What are the hours of the History of Medicine Reading Room?
- Where are the Lister Hill Auditorium and NLM Visitor Center?
- Things to do and see at the Library
- Things to do and see at National Institutes of Health
Before visiting NLM, please review New Security Measures for Visitors to NLM and NIH.
All visitors must enter the NIH Gateway Center main visitor entrance at NIH Gateway Drive.
Parking at NLM (Parking Map) is extremely limited and expensive. The parking charges for the Gateway Parking Garage are $2/hr. for the first three hours or $12.00 for the entire day. NIH Security requires inspection of all vehicles.
Park in Bethesda
Public parking garages in Bethesda (Bethesda Parking Map) are reasonably priced. Lot 35 (click on Lot Number for parking rates) is a 15 minute walk from NLM. Walk north on Woodmont, cross Battery Lane and proceed ahead to Wisconsin Ave/Rockville Pike (Rte. 355). NLM is on the left, set on a small hill. Perimeter fence prohibits entry except at Center Drive. See NIH Campus map.
The Metro’s Medical Center stop (Red Line) is a few minutes’ walk from NLM. At the top of the Metro escalator, walk straight, past the bus stops, and enter the Visitor Center Gateway. At the Gateway, you will have to show ID and put your bags on a conveyor belt, for screening. You will then be issued an identification badge. After exiting the Gateway Center, turn left, walk down the ramp and turn left to walk up an asphalt path to a concrete sidewalk. Along the way, there are signs directing you to the National Library of Medicine (Bldg 38) or the Lister Hill Center (Bldg 38A).
To enter the Library or Lister Hill Center, visitors must show the identification badge obtained from the Visitor's Center at NIH entrance. Those requiring ramped wheelchair access may also enter at the North Loading Dock. Everyone must let NLM guards inspect bags, briefcases, packages, and handbags at inspection points. Inspection points are at: the Main Entrance to the Library; the entrance to the Lister Hill Center; the North Loading Dock.
At the NLM main entrance, pass through the Guard Station (picture ID required) and immediately turn right to the History of Medicine Reading Room (Map of Reading Rooms)
The History of Medicine Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST) Monday thru Friday except for Federal holidays. The last retrieval from the stacks is at 4:00 p.m.
Visit From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry, the current special display in the History of Medicine Reading Room. For a tour of the special display, please contact: NLMExhibition@mail.nih.gov or call 301.594.1947.
Microbes—tiny organisms too small to be seen with the naked eye have altered human history. Life forms such as bacteria, yeasts, and molds can cause sickness or restore health, and help produce foods and beverages. Scientists, in partnership with industry, have developed techniques to harness the powers of these microbes. In recent years, headline-grabbing technologies have used genetically modified bacteria to manufacture new medicines. Drawing from the collections of the National Museum of American History and the National Library of Medicine, From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry seeks to explore some of the processes, problems, and potential inherent in technologies that use life.
Check out What’s Happening on the History of Medicine homepage.
Explore Objects of Art in the National Library of Medicine
Take some Tours
“Turn the pages” of Elizabeth Blackwell's A Curious Herbal, a beautifully illustrated 18th century book of medicinal plants, at the History of Medicine Reading Room's Turning the Pages kiosk.
Visit NLM Visitors Center for HDTV presentation, interactive displays, and give-aways.