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Medical Library Association Archives 1898-2002
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Historical Note

Founded on May 2, 1898, by four librarians and four physicians at the suggestion of George M. Gould, M.D., editor of the Philadelphia Medical Journal, the Medical Library Association (MLA) is the second oldest special library association in the United States. Membership was limited to librarians representing medical libraries of not less than 500 volumes and with regular library hours and attendance. The Association of Medical Librarians (as it was known until 1907) was founded "to encourage the improvement and increase of public medical libraries".

MLA has grown to a professional organization of more than 1,200 institutions and 3,800 professionals in the health information field. It continues to assist librarians with the exchange of health sciences books and periodicals (the MLA Exchange is one of the founders' earliest and most important projects) and to develop a variety of programs to serve the needs of health information specialists.

MLA is dedicated to improving excellence and leadership of the health information professional to foster the art and science of health information services. It furthers the professional development of our members through career information resources, meetings, publications, courses, awards, scholarships, and various support services. The association also serves as an advocate for the profession and for all health sciences libraries and librarians.

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