Facts About the Library
Washington University School of Medicine’s mission is to “lead in advancing human health through outstanding clinical care, innovative research and the education of tomorrow’s leaders in biomedicine.” In its support of the school’s mission, Becker Medical Library brings together resources, information and expertise to deliver innovative support for advancing discovery and improving human health.
In the pursuit of our mission we aspire to:
- Commit to personal, timely and professional service.
- Provide a strong collection that is accessible anytime and anywhere.
- Partner with our school’s faculty, staff and students to anticipate and serve their needs.
- Reflect our school’s programs and priorities in our strategic initiatives.
- Apply emerging technology to improve access to information, teaching and learning.
- Capitalize on the combined talents of our staff to foster innovation.
- Creatively apply our expertise and resources to answering new and complex questions.
- Provide leadership in defining the future roles of medical libraries.
Who We Serve
The Bernard Becker Medical Library serves the Washington University School of Medicine, the Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
The Bernard Becker Medical Library collections are available to the nearly 10,000 faculty, staff and students at the Washington University Medical Center. The collections consist of:
- 4,615 electronic journal titles (active and inactive)
- 3,723 electronic journal titles (active)
- 4,536 print journal titles (active and inactive)
- 158 print journal titles (active) – print-only or print+online
- 26 print-only journal titles (active)
- over 3,000 electronic books
- 114,000 print monographic volumes
- 1,500 audio-visual items
- 33 electronic databases
- 811 archival collections (institutional records, manuscripts, visuals, and oral histories)
- over 26,500 volumes of rare books, in 9 distinct collections
The library staff of 50 employees includes:
- information technology specialists
- library assistants
About Dr. Bernard Becker
Dr. Bernard Becker (1920-2013) was professor emeritus and emeritus head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine. A graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Becker trained in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Upon completing his residency in 1953, Dr. Becker was recruited as professor and head of the Department of Ophthalmology at Washington University School of Medicine. He served as head of the department through 1988 and, during his tenure, developed one of the finest academic departments in the country. A recipient of numerous academic awards and the author of many scientific publications, Dr. Becker’s career is characterized by a steadfast devotion to excellence in biomedical research, patient care and clinical teaching.
Dr. Becker’s contributions to the School of Medicine extend far beyond the confines of the Department of Ophthalmology. In addition to playing a major role in advancing the physical facilities, clinical activities and scientific programs of the School of Medicine, Dr. Becker championed the cause of the School of Medicine’s library and played a major role in the design and construction of the current library building, completed in 1989. The library was renamed in honor of Dr. Becker in May 1995. The Bernard Becker Collection in Ophthalmology and Optics, one of the finest collections of rare books on ophthalmology and the visual sciences and personally acquired by Dr. Becker, is a major component of the library’s internationally recognized rare book collections.