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NLM Reading Rooms and Services:
Obtaining a Library Card and Requesting Library Materials

The National Library of Medicine's General Collection is housed in closed stacks. Patrons do not have access to this area. Request stack items using the NLM on-line catalog LocatorPlus; library staff will retrieve the items for you to pick up at the Circulation Desk. You can receive up to 50 items per day from the Library's closed stacks (see information on exceptions to this limit).

A library card is necessary for requesting and obtaining materials from the closed stacks. It can also be used as a debit card when making photocopies.

Getting a Library Card
Requesting Materials

Register for a Library Card

  • Patrons may only register for a library card in person, onsite at the Library. To Register:

    1. Go to any workstation in the main Reading Room
    2. Click on Get a Library Card link and then the Register button (on the 1-2-3 Easy Steps page)
    3. Complete the Registration form and click "Submit"
    4. Proceed to the Patron Registration and Photocopying Service Desk (see map below)
  • You will need to present a picture ID before you can have your picture taken for your library card. Acceptable forms of identification include a state driver's license or state ID, Passport, United States Military ID, University ID or NIH ID.
  • Patrons wishing to request History of Medicine (HMD) materials must complete a supplementary registration form at the HMD Circulation Desk.
  • You need to have a library card to request materials, print from the work stations, and to pick up materials from the Circulation Desk.

Request and Pick Up Library Materials

  • After you have received your Photo-ID Library Card, you may submit requests for items in the closed stacks of the Library at any of the NLM LocatorPlus workstations in either the Main Reading Room or the History of Medicine (HMD) Reading Room.
  • Patrons can receive 50 items per day.
    Exceptions: Biomedical researchers and scholars working on special projects may apply for an exception to the main Reading Room daily limit by discussing their needs with a Collection Access Section (CAS) staff person at the Circulation Desk. For items held in the History of Medicine Division (HMD), exceptions to the limits should be discussed with staff at the HMD Circulation Desk.
  • Requests service to the closed stacks stops one hour before the Library closes.
  • Materials located in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room and the Main Reading Room may be requested from any work station, but they must be retrieved from the respective reading room.

    • Journals requested from 1871 to the present and books requested from 1914 to the present should be picked up at the Circulation Desk in the main Reading Room.
    • Older materials and items located in the "HMD Collection" should be picked up at the HMD Circulation Desk.
  • Patrons will be required to show their NLM Photo-ID Library Card when picking up their materials at either Circulation Desk.
NLM Reading Rooms

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