"Preface" to The Health Sciences Library: Its Role in Education for the Health Professions, 1967
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The Health sciences library ITS ROLE IN EDUCATION FOR THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS Report of the Library Study Committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges to the National Library of Medicine The Journal of Medical Education August 1967 - Vol. 42, No. 8 - In 2 Parts - Part 2

Page  2 The Health Sciences Library: Its Role in Education for the Health Professions LIBRARY STUDY COMMITTEE of the ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES DIRECTOR Merlin K. DuVal, M.D. CO-DIRECTOR Seymour Alpert, M.D.

Page  3 Preface Of making many books there is no end. -Old Testament: Eeclesiastes aii: 12 Educators, physicians, and scientists have been lamenting the decline of library resources and services ever since the "information explosion" became evident in the nineteenth century. The aggregation and cumulation of medical knowledge has expanded at a prodigious rate and the most dramatic reflection of this is seen in the form of publications. Today, there are more than 18,000 serial publications in the biomedical field alone, with an equal number of medical books and monographs generated throughout the world annually. Society invented the library as an instrument to preserve recorded knowledge at a time when the corpus was small and manageable. Today, one of the main prerequisites of a good library is that it have the staff and facilities to organize the enormous body of knowledge for ready retrieval and utilization. The library represents a central learning resource in any great institution. Its traditional image must change from that of a passive repository of information to an active information center dedicated to serving all those who have an interest in learning. When the National Library of Medicine was given the opportunity to assist the nation's medical libraries through the provisions of the Medical Library Assistance Act of 1965, we decided to share the responsibility for formulating the new concepts and functional framework of modern library development with the medical education community, since it, more than any other group, was concerned with learning and teaching resources. It was recognized that there was need to examine the library of the health professional school from the point of view of the faculty, the students, and the senior administrator. Of special interest in this respect were such questions as these: (a) What is the optimal role which the library should play within the context of a modern academic medical center? (b) What are important policy and situational considerations to be taken into account by the senior administrator as he plans for new or renovated physical facilities for a library to fulfill its role? (c) What types of space will be required by the medical center library in the future? (d) Where may the planner turn for guidance in the detailed planning of facilities for the library? The Association of American Medical Colleges was approached to assist us in this task and readily agreed to undertake the studies necessary to provide the criteria and guidelines which are needed in designing libraries for the future. The report, "The Health Sciences Library," represents the results of an energetic, innovative, and thoughtful approach to the problem. The study was conducted under the able leadership of Dr. Merlin K. DuVal, Dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona, and his co-director, Dr. Seymour Alpert, Professor of Anesthesiology, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C. Throughout the study they

Page  4 had the thoughtful guidance of a distinguished advisory committee. The commit tee consulted with a large number of science librarians, educators, and administrators in government, industry, and the academic community. Their observations and findings have been synthesized in clear style and certain recommendations have been put forth. This report does not give precise answers to all the problems which the planner will encounter in the design of facilities for a library, but rather it raises issues which he must face and guides him toward his own solution. The bibliography which is included is an extensive one and should prove useful to the planner I am convinced that "The Health Sciences Library" will be of significant aid to the National Library of Medicine as its staff counsels with those who wish to submit applications for grant support for new or expanded library physical facilities. We are grateful to the Association of American Medical Colleges and the advisory committee for this product. MARTIN M. CUMMINGS. M.D. Director National Library of Medicine.