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Reference and Web Services at NLM

The Reference and Web Services Section of the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) helps to meet biomedical information needs of US health professionals, scientists, and the general public. Our staff help users find and use health-related information acquired, organized, and disseminated by the Library as part of the NLM Goals and Objectives.

Our Services

Please consult local and regional information sources before requesting assistance from NLM. The NLM supplements services provided by other libraries and health information resources. The NLM Web site provides responses to hundreds of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

As the primary contact point for the public, Reference and Web Services staff respond to requests for help with all the services and programs of the Library. We receive questions from individuals and organizations in the United States and abroad through:

  • our customer services form
  • telephone (1-888-FIND-NLM)
  • postal mail
  • fax and
  • in person

Reference librarians help researchers use NLM LocatorPlus®, MedlinePlus®, PubMed®, and a variety of electronic and print resources in the main Reading Room during our regular hours. The NLM Main Reading Room has an extensive reference collection of key directories, indexes, books and atlases, and a small collection of medical journals for self-service. Equipment to view materials from NLM's audiovisual collection is available in the Reading Room (See Fact Sheet, Access to Audiovisual Materials).

The Reference and Web Services Section staff provide leadership and support in technology and health content for the Library and many key products. The Section's primary responsibilities include MedlinePlus®, the library's consumer health Web site, and the NIHSeniorHealth Web site in partnership with the National Institute of Aging and other NIH Institutes. The Section also leads the design and content management of the NLM Web site.

Our Reference and Web Services staff:

For more information about NLM resources and services go to the Reference and Web Services Home Page and the Public Services Division Fact Sheet.

In our buildings on the Bethesda, Maryland campus of the National Institutes of Health, we help users of the Library's Main Reading Room.

The Main Reading Room has:

  • a self-service collection of about 5,000 books, medical journals, indexes and audiovisuals
  • access to over 100 electronic databases and over 5,000 electronic full text resources
  • computers to use NLM databases and selected databases produced by others

Main Reading Room Hours (Eastern Time)

Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Note: Our hours change for holidays.

For books published prior to 1914, journals published prior to 1871, and images illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine, go to the History of Medicine Division site.

Customer Service Policy

If you call the library, 1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656) or 301-594-5983, we assist you during the hours of:

Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Hearing impaired customers should use the Maryland Relay Service (telephone 800-735-2258) to contact us.

If you send a letter or fax to us, we respond within seven working days

Reference and Web Services Section
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
Fax: 301-402-1384

If you contact via our Web form we send a response within four working days

If you visit the Library, we provide help with our collections and services in our Reading Rooms during the hours listed above.

Reference and Web Services Section
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
Phone: 1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656) or 301-594-5983
Fax: 301-402-1384

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
(alphabetical list)
(subject list):

Or write to:

Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894

Phone: (301) 496-6308
Fax: (301) 496-4450

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