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The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is open to the public.

National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
(301) 402-8878

  • New Security Measures

    Before visiting NLM, please review New Security Measures for Visitors to NLM and NIH.

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  • Directions and Maps

    Road Map of NLM location within the larger D.C. area
    NLM Reading Rooms and Services - Directions and Parking Information
    NIH Campus shows NLM (Building 38)

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  • Parking and Other Options

    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.

    • Take Metro

      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.

    • Park Off-Campus

      Another option, though more time-consuming, is off-campus parking at Mid-Pike Plaza. Shuttle buses run from Mid-Pike Plaza to the NIH campus and stop at NLM.

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  • Where is the History of Medicine Reading Room?

    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)

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  • What are the hours of the History of Medicine Reading Room?

    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.

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  • Where are the Lister Hill Auditorium and NLM Visitor Center?

    The Lister Hill Auditorium and the NLM Visitor Center are located on the first floor of the Lister Hill Center (NIH Building 38A).

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  • Things to do and see at the Library

    • Visit the current special display in the History of Medicine Reading Room. For a tour of the special display, please contact: or call 301.594.1947.

      Meals can tell us how power is exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders, and classes. Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America looks at the Chesapeake region, during the early colonial era, where European settlers relied upon indentured servants, Native Americans, and African slave labor for life-saving knowledge of farming and food acquisition, and to gain economic prosperity. It is through the labor of slaves, like those at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, that we can learn about the ways that meals transcend taste and sustenance.

    • 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.

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  • Things to do and see at National Institutes of Health

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