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The National Library of Medicine: An Investment in Good Health

Updated April 2017
Prepared by the Joint MLA/AAHSL Joint Legislative Task Force
For further information, contact Mary M. Langman at 312.419.9094 x27
Click here for PDF version

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest biomedical library, produces trusted health information used by health professionals, students, researchers, innovators, medical librarians, and the public to advance medicine and improve public health. In partnership with other parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies, NLM is the key link in the chain that translates biomedical research into practice, making the results of research readily available worldwide.

Because NLM is an investment in good health; because its resources serve the public, care providers, and researchers; and because NLM is a leader in global disaster preparedness and response support, the Medical Library Association (MLA) and Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) urge Congress to increase funding levels to at least $412,097,000 for NLM in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 and FY 2018, to increase NIH funding to $34.1 billion in FY 2017, and to provide NIH with an increase of at least $2 billion above FY 2017 funding, in addition to funds included in the 21st Century Cures Act.

NLM Resources Serve the Public, Care Providers, and Researchers

NLM makes almost 300 databases and online services freely available through libraries and to anyone with Internet access. These resources support health care, public health, disease prevention and wellness, biomedical research, and innovation.

NLM’s most heavily used resources are:

NLM Website Key Statistic Description

1 million visits daily

  • Consumer health information
  • 1,000 health topics in English and Spanish

27 million journal citations

  • Citations from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books
  • Searched by 2.4 million users each day

Free access to 4.2 million articles on Pubmed Central

  • 1.4 million users per day download over 2.8 million articles
  • Congressionally mandated NIH public access policy adds 100,000 articles per year
  • Supports public access policies of 10 other Federal agencies

238,000 clinical studies in all 50 states and worldwide

  • World′s largest clinical trial registry and results database
  • Results of almost 25,000 studies
  • More than 75,000 different users each day

1.7 million users per month

  • Consumer-friendly health information
  • Basics of human genetics
  • Information on more than 1,100 genetic conditions and 1,300 genes

3.8 million visitors made 13 million searches in 2016

  • Information about chemicals, drugs, diseases and environmental health, occupational safety and health, poisoning, and toxicology
  • Over 10,000 different users each day

6,500+ library members in communities nationwide

  • Trains medical librarians, health professionals, and the general public to use NLM resources and services
  • Outreach to public libraries, secondary schools, senior centers, etc., and underserved populations

Ebola and Zika viruses outbreaks; Flint, MI, lead emergency

  • Partners with librarians in public health emergencies
  • Collects and organizes disaster-related health information
  • Trains specialists to bring public health and community workers real-time, up-to-date resources during disasters
  • Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) assists responders in hazardous material incidents

The Medical Library Association (MLA) is a nonprofit, educational organization with 3,500 health sciences information professional members worldwide. Founded in 1898, MLA provides lifelong educational opportunities, supports a knowledgebase of health information research, and works with a global network of partners to promote the importance of quality information for improved health to the health care community and the public.

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) supports academic health sciences libraries and directors in advancing the patient care, research, education, and community service missions of academic health centers through visionary executive leadership and expertise in health information, scholarly communication, and knowledge management.