The Library is currently under renovation. The capacity to host visitors in the temporary Reading Room is impacted and we are unable to accept walk-ins as the space is very limited. Contact us directly to schedule an appointment for a visit.The NLM Reading Room is open by appointment only Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM. The Reading Room is closed weekends and federal holidays.
To make an appointment to visit the Reading Room, please call NLM at 1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656) or 301-594-5983 Monday-Friday 9:00 AM-5:00 PM (Eastern). Select option 1 to speak to a librarian. To help you determine the length of time you may require for your visit, we will ask a few questions about the purpose of your visit. We will also ask for your name and email address. This information will only be used to make and confirm your reservation. We are currently offering appointments Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM -12:30 PM and 1:00 PM-5:00 PM. The reading room will be closed from 12:30 PM-1:00 PM.
NLM is following NIH’s COVID-19 Safety Plan in the Reading Room. Please review the plan before visiting NLM.
For special hours and emergency closings, call 1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656) or 301-594-5983. Check the OPM Operating Status for weather-related closings.
The NLM Reading Room is located in a temporary space in room B1E08 on the B1 level of the NLM building (Building 38). To access the building and the Reading Room, please enter using the entrance facing Center Dr. on the northwest corner of the building. Follow the signs when you enter to the Reading Room.
Access 255 databases covering 40 subjects, with 79 of the databases listed as "Onsite Access Only."
Please see the Directions and Parking Information page for information on visiting NLM.
You can learn about the NLM collections and request to see items from the NLM collection using the LocatorPlus Catalog. If you previously had an account and library card in the old LocatorPlus, it will not carry over to the updated LocatorPlus Catalog. You will need to create a new account to request items from the NLM collections to view in the Reading Room.
We strongly encourage you to search the LocatorPlus Catalog before your visit to save searches of the items you would like to view during your appointment which will be helpful when making your requests in the Reading Room.
When you arrive for your appointment for the first time, NLM staff will complete the process of setting up your LocatorPlus Catalog account. After your account is activated, you can request materials using LocatorPlus to view during your visit to NLM.
Materials are delivered to the Reading Room five times per day. We encourage you to arrive at the beginning of your appointment so you can place your requests for collection materials as efficiently as possible. The table below lists the times for submitting requests and when they will be delivered to the Reading Room.
|Request submitted by
to the Reading Room by
Some materials, particularly manuscript and film materials, may be stored offsite and require at least 30 day’s advance notice to return to NLM. Materials stored offsite will be noted in the LocatorPlus Catalog. Please contact the NLM Customer Support Center if you need to request the use offsite materials.
Reading Room users must leave coats, briefcases, bags, food, and drink in the provided quarter-operated lockers in the Reading Room. Security will check all bags on leaving the Library.
Food and beverage consumption and talking on cell phones are not permitted in the Reading Room.
Reading Room users are expected to exercise the greatest possible care in handling all collection materials, noting in particular that:
- Only pencils may be used for notetaking. Pens, markers, etc. are NOT permitted.
- No marks are to be added to or erased from books or manuscripts; tracings may not be made without prior permission.
- No books, papers, or other objects (except weights provided by NLM staff) are to be placed on collection materials.
- Order and arrangement of items in manuscript collections must NOT be altered.
- Additional restrictions may apply to the use of specific manuscript or oral history collections. For further information, speak with the Reading Room staff.
Reading Room users should bring their own laptop, tablet, or smart phone to access NLM resources including the LocatorPlus Catalog. NLM no longer has computers available for use in the reading room, although a loaner laptop is available if you forget to bring your own device.
High speed scanners and Wi-Fi are available for free. You can use scanners only for NLM materials. The scanners shut down at 4:55 PM. You can also use your smart phone or tablet or digital camera without flash to take images following the NLM Reading Room Policy on Photography Requests.
- You must bring a flash drive to save your scanned documents. We may impose time limits, so that others can also use the scanner.
- We have one microfilm/microfiche reader-printer.
- You can log in to the NIH-Guest-Network Wi-Fi and click "Accept." After you log in, you can use "On-site Access Only" materials.
Please follow the conduct policies.
NLM supports the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Read more about the facility, collection access and use, and staff assistance for accessibility.
- Double check your appointment date and time as you will only be admitted to the Reading Room at your designated time.
- Bring the following with you:
- Your REAL ID compliant identification. Make sure your ID is compliant to the REAL ID. https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/visitor-information/campus-access-security
- Your personnel device (laptop/tablet) to access NLM resources and request collection materials
- A USB/thumb drive in case you want to save scanned material.
- Food and drink as dining options are limited at NIH. The NLM cafeteria is closed, however vending machines and water fountains are available at NLM. Note that there is no eating or drinking in the Reading Room.
- Set up your account in the new LocatorPlus Catalog and search for materials you may wish to request at NLM.
Last Reviewed: January 19, 2024