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About the Countway Library

Picture of Countway Library

The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the largest medical libraries in the world and serves the Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston Medical Library, and the Massachusetts Medical Society.

The Countway Library holds more than 630,000 volumes, subscribes to 3,500 current journal titles and houses over 10,000 non-current biomedical journal titles. The library also houses one of the world's leading medical history collections, and provides access to many electronic information resources.

The Countway hosts the Center for the History of Medicine, which includes the Archives and Records Management Program for the schools of the Harvard medical area, and the Warren Anatomical Museum. 



Mission Statement

The mission of the Countway Library of Medicine is to foster the advancement of education, research, scholarship and professional practice in medicine, biological sciences, public health and dentistry by:

  • Assuring access and linkage to the world’s literature in the biomedical and relevant social sciences
  • Exploring and promoting effective utilization of information and knowledge
  • Educating library users in the principles and techniques of information management
  • Preserving an historical record through its scholarly, rare book and archival collection
  • Creating a stimulating and synergistic setting for intellectual growth 



The Boston Medical Library is a physicians' non-profit organization incorporated in 1877. In 1960, the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical School Library entered into an agreement to combine their collections and administration in a new building known as The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The BML mission, revised in 2004, is "to be a Library for the dissemination of medical knowledge, the promotion of medical education and scholarship, and the preservation and celebration of medical history, and thereby to advance the quality of health and healthcare of the people." The Boston Medical Library serves as a resource for the medical school faculties and medical students of Harvard Medical School, Boston University Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 1946, the Boston Medical Library formally became the library for the Massachusetts Medical Society