About the Library

Established in 1911, Bernard Becker Medical Library is one of the oldest and most comprehensive medical libraries west of the Mississippi. The library serves as an information resource and services hub for the Washington University Medical Center and the global health sciences community.

Becker Medical Library’s mission is to provide a haven for study and scholarly reflection along with the resources, information and expertise to deliver innovative support for advancing discovery, lifelong learning and improving human health.

In the pursuit of its mission, Becker Library:

  • Commits to personal, timely and professional service.
  • Fosters a culture that embraces the principles of diversity and inclusion.
  • Ensures that it maintains a world-class collection of information resources, accessible anytime and anywhere.
  • Engages faculty, students and staff to ensure that library resources and services keep up with their changing needs.
  • Aligns the library’s strategic initiatives in support of school priorities.
  • Adopts technology solutions to extend access to and maximize the impact of library resources and services.
  • Strives to demonstrate the value of medical libraries and define their future role within academic health sciences centers.

Becker Library fulfills its mission in many ways. It provides access to a truly world-class collection of scholarly journals, special collections, databases and clinical information resources. It also provides space and services to enrich the learning, research and patient care activities of the school.

Becker Library strives to respect all dimensions of human differences and foster a diverse environment that is inclusive of all persons, regardless of racial or ethnic background, nationality, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, veteran status, religious beliefs, ability, age or socioeconomic status.  We are committed to exposing and dismantling institutional racism and unearned privilege, particularly where we have influence in our workplace, in our professions, and in our university.

Becker Library connects people to the resources – experts, core facilities, training, journals, search strategies, databases, etc. – that they need to be successful. Through these activities, Becker Library fosters collaboration and builds communities around common interests.

Bernard Becker, MD (1920-2013)

Bernard Becker, MDBernard Becker 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, Becker trained in ophthalmology at the Wilmer Institute of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Upon completing his residency in 1953, he 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, Becker’s career was characterized by a steadfast devotion to excellence in biomedical research, patient care and clinical teaching.

Becker’s contributions to the School of Medicine extend far beyond 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, 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 his honor 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, which was personally acquired by Becker, is a major component of the library’s internationally recognized rare book collections.