Visit us

The Library

The Library at Wellcome Collection, Ben Gilbert. © Wellcome Collection. CC BY-NC-ND.

Our library has one of the best health, medicine and medical history collections in the world.

You can find us on level 2 of Wellcome Collection. We’re the first stop for anyone who wants to learn about medicine and how it has evolved.

Whether you’re an academic, a student or just curious, there’s plenty here for you. Everyone’s welcome.

With a calm and restful atmosphere, the Library has free wifi and charging points, as well as lots of desk space. And if you’re coming to work with friends or colleagues, there are spaces for you to work collaboratively.

As you’d expect, you can’t eat or drink or bring in animals – except for assistance animals. We have a limited number of lockers available on level 2 where you can put your bags and snacks. There is also a cloakroom on the ground floor.

Joining the Library

Anyone can join. You don’t need to be a student, academic or researcher.

You can join as a day visitor if you are looking for a quiet place to study or are coming to browse the open shelves. You might also like to sit in the gallery area above the Reading Room to do group work. You just need to complete a form at the Library desk when you arrive. Day-visitor cards are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can sign up as a member if you would like to order materials from our collection to view. Memberships last for five years and enable you to use computers in the Library, book study rooms, and access some online materials at home. Find out more about joining the Library.

If you’re under 18 and studying for an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), you can apply for a two-month membership to access collections that will help with your course. Bring a referral letter from your school or college, plus photo ID and proof of address to sign up.

Our collections

Whatever aspect of medical history you’re interested in, we’ve got it covered – from allergies and anatomy to war surgery and women’s health.

There’s material on everything you’d expect – obesity, gender and plastic surgery, for example. But there’s also plenty on subjects you probably wouldn’t – like alchemy, witchcraft or vampires.

Much of our collection is on the open shelves. You might have to order some books in advance.

Opening hours

  • Monday 10:00—18:00
  • Tuesday 10:00—18:00
  • Wednesday 10:00—18:00
  • Thursday 10:00—20:00
  • Friday 10:00—18:00
  • Saturday 10:00—16:00
  • Sunday Closed

Library closures

Planning a research visit? Our library is closed over bank holiday weekends and between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day:

  • Friday 19 April 2019Saturday 20 April 2019
  • Monday 22 April 2019Sunday 21 April 2019
  • Saturday 4 May 2019Monday 6 May 2019
  • Saturday 25 May 2019Monday 27 May 2019
  • Saturday 24 August 2019Monday 26 August 2019
  • Sunday 22 December 2019Wednesday 1 January 2020

Get in touch

Library enquiries+44 (0)20 7611 8722