NIH Library About Us For the Public

For the Public

The NIH Library is a biomedical research library whose collections and services are developed to support the programs of the National Institutes of Health and selected U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies. While the Library is open to the public, services are limited.

No photocopiers are available for the public. 

One public computer with limited access to the Internet is available. The computer may be used to search and browse the NIHL, NIH, and NLM websites. It does not have a printer.

Reference Assistance
Library staff members identify selected HHS publications, conferences, and programs in response to questions from the public but do not provide general medical reference assistance or literature searches.

Access to the Collections
Members of the public are welcome to browse the Library's print journals and books but may not borrow items from the collections. Online journals, online books, and most research databases are not available to the public.  

Other Sources for Information
The National Library of Medicine: For the Public
The National Library of Medicine is the world’s largest medical library. Services include reference assistance. For details see Visitor and Researcher Information ( and NLM Reading Rooms and Services

National Network of Libraries of Medicine
The Network’s mission is to provide all United States health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and to improve the public’s access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. Call 1-800-338-7657 to locate the nearest regional medical library.

Montgomery County Public Libraries
This system serves the Maryland county where NIH is located and includes the Health Information Center at the Wheaton Library.

Health Information
A service of the National Institutes of Health, this site includes Health Topics A-Z; links to health newsletters, databases, hotlines, and Federal agencies; and a subscription form for the free weekly Health Information Spotlight newsletter.

This service of the National Health Information Center provides links to prevention and wellness resources; a list of selected health care organizations; information on identifying health care providers; online checkups; and health news.

The National Library of Medicine maintains this authoritative health information site, which includes resources on health topics; facts on drugs and supplements; a medical encyclopedia and dictionary; physician and hospital directories; and current health news.

Questions about Services
If you have questions about NIH Library services for the public, contact Karen Stakes, Head, Information Services, 301-496-1158.

Wireless Access to the Internet for Guests
NIH Wireless Guest Service provides patients and visitors to the NIH campus temporary access to the Internet and NIH public resources.