Welcome to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Library

We are the health sciences library for Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Our aim is to provide comprehensive and authoritative information for patient care, research, teaching and other functions.

Library Facilities and Collections

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The Mass. Eye and Ear Library collections focus on ophthalmology and otolaryngology, with some plastic surgery, neurology and general medicine. The ophthalmology and otolaryngology journal collections number 7,000 bound volumes, and date from the 19th century.

Currently, the library receives 115 print titles in English, as well as French, German, Russian, Czech, Japanese, and Korean. Most of the journals are available to Mass. Eye and Ear staff electronically, and our holdings are supplemented with the extensive digital collections of Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The text collection numbers more than 5,000 volumes. There is an outstanding rare book collection of 2,000-plus volumes, with 149 items dating from 1490 to 1699. The archives contain the historical papers of the hospital and historically significant people affiliated with it, as well as photographs and medical instruments.


We provide literature searches, systematic reviews, interlibrary loans, copier/scanning services and book loans to our staff. In 2013, we provided 3,514 scientific papers to users as requested by them for their research, medical care, and teaching needs.

The library also belongs to many consortia and maintains cooperative arrangements with many institutions to facilitate fast retrieval of needed papers. Among these are the Association of Vision Science Libraries, Harvard Medical School, Partners Librarians Network and the National Library of Medicine.

In 2013, Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens staff published 558 scientific papers, many of which used and cited papers provided by the library.

2013 Mass. Eye and Ear Publications List (.zip file, Excel document)

Online Catalog

The Howe Library Online Public Access Catalog contains all the print book holdings of the library. 

Access to the Library

The library can be used by anyone with a legitimate need: MEE employees, students, patients, patient families, and visiting professionals. There are a number of computers that are available for patrons with MEE usernames and passwords. The library also provides two public access computers that do not require a password for use. These are intended for short-term use (15 minutes or less) by visiting students, lecturers, patients and families, and any staff who do not have other access.