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William H. Welch Medical Library

William H. Welch William H. Welch

History of the Welch Library

The William H. Welch Library opened its doors on December 1, 1928. The library’s namesake, William H. Welch, was a pathologist and the first dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Welch is known as one of Hopkins' "Big Four" founding physicians. 

Welch himself gathered the library’s initial holdings with $12,500 during a 1928 trip to Europe. He sought to create a home for the retrieval and transmission of the most current clinical, epidemiological and laboratory findings. His vision of a central hub for scientific news and medical history was revolutionary.

To this day, the library continues to play a critical role in the advancement of scientific discovery and education of doctors, nurses, public health experts and researchers.The library’s collection now exceeds 400,000 physical volumes, all of which are transitioning online.

Serving the Johns Hopkins Community

The Welch Library has continually tailored its service for the Johns Hopkins community. The Welch Library was among the first libraries to offer online searching of literature to its patrons in the 70s, and in the early 90s, the library assisted the international Human Genome Initiative by launching the Genome Database. 

The library made the switch to fully-electronic resources in 2012. The informationist program is now in place to assist the Johns Hopkins community’s research and educational needs. Each research and medical division has its own specialist to provide expert research for grants, publications and clinical care decisions.

The Library is undergoing renovations designed to provide staff and students with ample space for meetings, study groups, research and classes. Follow the renovations on the Welch Library blog.

In the meantime, Welch Library staff members and resources are available to students and faculty in need of assistance. 

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