Skip to Main Content

Library Services

Located on the lower level of the Institute, The Mary & Edward Norton Library of Ophthalmology was established shortly after the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute opened in 1962 on the campus of the University of Miami School of Medicine. At the time it offered little more than a handful of books on ophthalmology transferred from the medical library of the University of Miami. Dr. Edward W.D. Norton, Bascom Palmer's founder, envisioned the library as ultimately becoming a repository for all ophthalmic literature. Sixty years later, the collection is one of the world's most comprehensive collections of ophthalmic knowledge containing more than 8,000 ophthalmic texts, 15,000 bound volumes, and more than 250 periodical titles and journals from around the world.

Within the Norton Library is the Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Kirsch Rare Book Room often referred to as "The Crown Jewel" of Bascom Palmer. The Rare Book Room preserves 3,000 books dating from 1496 to 1900, including an exceptionally rare copy of the second edition of George Bartisch: Augendienst (1686), published 103 years after the original edition; the first German textbook on ophthalmology written in 1583 and a rare second edition published 100 years later; and a 1613 book on depth perception with drawings by Peter Paul Rubens.

Unfortunately, the Mary and Edward Norton Library has been closed since September 2017 due to water leakage and damage that occurred during Hurricane Irma. To protect our extensive collection of books and journals, as well as our valuable and unparalleled collection of rare books, all library materials were moved to the Louis Calder Medical Library for safekeeping where they remain today. We worked diligently for the next 2 ½ years repairing the Library, and planning the Norton Library of the future. Unfortunately, all construction projects on the medical school campus were stopped in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Norton Library. The Library remains closed, however, we are in the process of completing the engineering and structural modifications on the lower level to mitigate previous water damage and to reduce the risk of recurrent flooding of that area.

For assistance with all library-related matters including accessing books, article requests, and other library resources. please visit

For more information on the Calder Medical Library policies and procedure, visit: