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Education Institute

The Kim Barrett Memorial Library


Since its founding in 1936, the medical library at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) has been a vital in-house resource for residents, fellows, and other members of the Hospital's faculty and staff.

The Library started as a conference room that housed journals and medical texts for the use of orthopaedic residents. During the 40-year tenure of its first librarian, Kim Barrett, the medical library evolved from these modest beginnings into a state-of-the-art, modern resource for medical education and research.

About Kim Barrett

Kim Barrett's term as medical librarian at HSS spanned four decades, from 1941 until her death in 1976. On August 3, 1974, the library was nearly destroyed by fire. Ms. Barrett single-handedly sifted through the charred remains, salvaged what she could and supervised the selection and rebinding of thousands of books and journals. Completely rebuilt, the library was reopened on October 31, 1975, thanks in large measure to Ms. Barrett's valiant efforts. In 1977, the Alumni Association dedicated the medical library to her memory. Her rare care and concern for the library and loyalty to HSS have become an integral part of the Hospital's history. Kim Barrett will long be remembered for her depth of knowledge of orthopedics, her commitment to the library, and her caring relationship with the residents, faculty, and staff at HSS.

Library Today

The mission of the Kim Barrett Memorial Library is to manage and improve effective access to information resources, which encourage excellence in patient care, teaching, learning, and research conducted by HSS and its affiliations.


The library is open to all HSS residents and staff - as well as students and staff of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Rockefeller University - who display a current institutional identification badge. It is also open to students and staff of METRO member libraries who present a referral card and proper identification. Library patrons are admitted with the understanding that they may not eat or drink inside the library.


Mon-Fri:  8am - 5pm

** Key card access after hours for residents, fellows, and limited HSS staff members only.


The scope of the core collection includes the orthopaedic, rheumatology, and rehabilitation sciences.  The collection consists of books, journals, videos, and CD-ROMs. Materials are collected in English and other foreign languages. The library has a special collection of main orthopaedic textbooks in different languages for visiting doctors and medical students. Books are arranged according to the National Library of Medicine classification system. Journals are arranged in alphabetical order by title.

HSS Archives

The HSS Archives collects, preserves, and makes accessible records of programs, people, events, and activities for the Hospital for Special Surgery. Located in the Kim Barrett Memorial Library, the Archives is open during library hours. Please call ext.1210 or email medlib@hss.edu for information.

Annual Reports (1863-1982)  In 1982, the annual reports started appearing in the spring issue of the Horizon. In addition to published copy, 1940-1979 can be found at https://archive.org/details/hospitalforspecialsurgery.

Borrowing Policy

Books from the Reserve Collection and journals do not circulate outside of the library. The circulation period for books from the main collection is two weeks.

Requests for Materials

Requests for articles not found at the Kim Barrett Memorial Library must be submitted in writing or electronically. Request forms are available in the library. Please check the holdings at HSS and the other Four Corners libraries - Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Library, and Rockefeller University Library - before ordering articles through the Interlibrary Loan Service. Requests for clinical emergencies can be filled within hours by fax transmission.

Interlibrary Loans

Materials unavailable at the library can be obtained from other libraries through interlibrary loan services. Interlibrary forms are available at the Librarians' Desk or electronically. HSS employees and faculty members who have a dual appointment or other official affiliation with New York Weill Cornell Medical Center are eligible to use the ILL services at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University Library.

The library user has to be registered at Weill Cornell Medical Library and have a barcode placed on the back side of their HSS or Cornell ID cards. Please check eJournals for our holdings before submitting your request.

Requests for items available at Weill Medical College of Cornell University Library, Rockefeller University Library, or Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Library will be returned to the requester unfilled. The only exception to this policy will be acceptance of all HSS interlibrary loan requests during an agreed upon vacation period, scheduled by the HSS Librarian for a duration greater than one week.

Additional Resources

Affiliated Libraries

Weill Cornell Medical College Library

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Library


The copy machine is available for library materials only, with a limit of 30 pages.


The Kim Barrett Memorial Library is located at 535 East 70th Street, on the 8th floor of the Main Building. For more information, please contact the Medical Librarian by phone at 212.606.1210, by fax at 212.774.2779 or by email at medlib@hss.edu.