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NLM Reading Room, Services, and Hours

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

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."


Directions, Parking, and Security

Please see the Directions and Parking Information page for information on visiting NLM.


The LocatorPlus Catalog

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.

Sign in to the LocatorPlus Catalog

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.


Requesting NLM Collection Materials

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
user by
Materials delivered
to the Reading Room by
8:30-9:00 AM 10:00 AM
9:00-10:00 AM 11:00 AM
10:00-11:00 AM Noon
Noon-1:00 PM 2:00 PM
1:00-2:00 PM 3:00 PM
2:00-3:00 PM 3:30 PM

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.

Handling of Collections in the Reading Room

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:


Computing Devices

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.


Scanning and Wi-Fi

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.


Conduct Policies

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.


Things to do to prepare for your visit to the NLM Reading Room

Last Reviewed: January 19, 2024