The Mütter Museum is now open to the public! Please note we are closed on Tuesdays.
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Library Policies
Please read our policies before contacting us or visiting our reading room

The Historical Medical Library welcomes all researchers who wish to use the Library's collections.


We are closed to research appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic through at least January 1, 2020.  Library staff will continue to work remotely. The health and safety of our staff and researchers are of utmost importance.


In order to protect the health and safety of our staff and researchers, we have implemented some new guidelines. However, there remains a risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any indoor public space.


  • The Library remains appointment only, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10:00am to 4:30pm.  All appointments must be made at least a week in advance to ensure staff availability and allow time for quarantining of materials. 
  • Materials must be requested at least a week in advance.  Library staff are unable to pull additional items during your appointment.
  • The Library will close each day for half an hour, between 12:30pm and 1:00pm, for staff lunches.
  • Researchers must fill out our online Reader Registration form prior to arrival.  Library staff will email the link to you when confirming your appointment.
  • Only 3 research appointments are available each day.  Researchers will arrive and leave on a staggered schedule.
  • Researchers will be required to fill out an online visitor health self-evaluation form prior to entering the building on the day of their appointment.  Library staff will email the link to you at least 48 hours prior to your appointment.
  • Researchers must use the locker and seat assigned to them upon arrival.
  • Masks must be worn at all times; no exceptions for health reasons.
  • Researchers must follow all social distancing protocols set forth by Library staff, and wash their hands before using materials upon arrival and after breaks.
  • Researchers must notify staff of departure and return for lunch breaks.

How are we keeping you safe?

  • Staff are required to wear masks at all times, and use gloves when pulling materials.  
  • Researchers will continue to have dedicated carts on the day of their visit.
  • All materials will be quarantined for 7 days after use, unless the same researcher will be using them the following day.
  • Lockers are disinfected before and after each use.
  • Tables and chairs are cleaned daily.
  • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the building.
  • If you are sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms, we ask that you stay home and we will reschedule your research appointment. If you need information on conducting a self-COVID 19 assessment, please visit the Mayo Clinic’s online tool. If you do visit and show signs of illness (sneezing, coughing), you will be asked to reschedule your research appointment.  

Other Library policies:

  • Hours: By appointment only, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Cancellations of research appointments MUST be made a minimum of 12 hours prior to scheduled arrival. Rescheduling of appointments is dependent on staff availability.
  • Researchers must place holds for materials they wish to view in the Library’s online catalog as soon as their appointment is confirmed with Library staff. We may be unable to pull materials during your appointment. If it is your first time visiting, please contact us to create an account.
  • Researchers wishing to use library materials must first report to the reference desk. Researchers must fill out our online Reader Registration form prior to arrival.
  • Researchers must place materials they are finished with on the bottom shelf of their cart. If the reader wishes to use the materials again soon, the staff should be informed, and those items will be held on reserve.
  • Researchers may only have 1 box, volume, etc. at their table at a time. Additional materials must be left on their designated cart at the reference desk. Researchers may NOT have personal reading material on table tops while using Library material.
  • Researchers must use pencils when working with any material. Pencils are available at the library reference desk. Researchers may also use laptops, tablets or other electronic devices for note-taking purposes.
  • Researchers are responsible for materials issued to them. Researchers should not lean or rest on materials. Book cradles and weights for holding volumes open are available at the reference desk. Please follow any instructions the staff may give you for the handling of materials.
  • Materials are on no account to be removed from the reading room or left unattended.
  • Non-flash photography is permitted.
  • Photocopying and scanning services are available, the condition of the material permitting. Please check with the staff. The cost for photocopying or scanning is $.50 per page.
  • Electrical outlets are located at each table. Electronic devices are permitted. Wifi is available.
  • Food and drink are not permitted in the Library. Cell phones must be turned off or silenced. If you need to take a call, please leave the reading room.
  • The reading room for the Historical Medical Library is wheelchair accessible via the Van Pelt Street entrance on the rear side of the building directly behind the Museum, parallel to 21st and 22nd Streets. At the right of the glass door marked “College of Physicians of Philadelphia," you will see an intercom speaker and talk button. Press the button, and when someone responds, say that you are visiting the Historical Medical Library and need wheelchair access. Someone will come to assist you.


Our HIPAA Policy
For information about our HIPAA policy as it relates to patient records, please download and read this PDF.