Welcome to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Library

We are the health sciences library for Massachusetts Eye and Ear. 

Mission: The mission of the Libraries of Massachusetts Eye and Ear is to provide the highest quality information resources and services available for evidence-based decision making. Guided by the mission of the hospital, the library supports the patient care, educational, and research needs of the Mass. Eye and Ear community. Through its Archives and Rare Book Library, the library also preserves and promotes the rich heritage of the hospital.

Vision: The Libraries will continue to be the intellectual hub of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear community, providing access to resources and services which will support the information needs of all hospital staff and patients.


Director – Louise Collins – 617-573-3664
Reference Librarian – Sachie Shishido - 617-573-3196



8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday 

Closed weekends 

Library Facilities and Collections


The Mass. Eye and Ear Library collections focus on ophthalmology and otolaryngology, with some plastic surgery, neurology and general medicine. The ophthalmology and otolaryngology print journal collections date from the 19th century and include journals published in English, French, German, Russian, Czech, Japanese and Korean. Many 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 print text collection numbers more than 1,000 volumes, and new e-books are added regularly. 

The Abraham Pollen Archives

There is an outstanding rare book collection of close to 3,000 volumes, dating back to 1509.

The Abraham Pollen Archives contain the historical records and papers of the hospital, including annual reports from the 1800's to the present, many of the old case reports, an extensive photograph collection, board records, and other hospital records. There is also a collection of old medical instruments from both specialties and a spectacle collection.

The New England Ophthalmological Society houses its archival papers with the Mass. Eye and Ear Archives. Several times a year, visiting scholars use the Archives for their research and, of course, members of the Mass. Eye and Ear community are welcome to use the collection.  


We provide literature searches, systematic review assistance, interlibrary loans, copier/scanning services and book loans to our staff. In 2018, we provided 3,090 scientific papers to users as requested by them for their research, patient care, and teaching needs.

The library also belongs to many consortia and maintains cooperative arrangements with many institutions to facilitate rapid 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.

Online Catalog

The Howe Library Online Public Access Catalog contains all the print and e-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. One of these computers is equipped with ZoomText, a magnification and screen reading software for the visually impaired.