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Books, Journals, New Media
January 10, 2001

Medical LibrariesGuardians of Medical Knowledge: The Genesis of the Medical Library Association

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 2001;285(2):216-217. doi:10.1001/jama.285.2.216-JBK0110-2-1

JAMA readers may be surprised to find a history of a library association in these pages, but, as Jennifer Connor meticulously and entertainingly demonstrates, the impetus to establish "public" medical libraries, ie, medical collections not in private hands, and to establish in 1898 the Association of Medical Libraries (after 1907 called the Medical Library Association) was a significant concern of the North American medical profession and an endeavor that attracted many of its most distinguished leaders. It should be no surprise that what Connor usefully dubs "the medical library movement" was initiated and led by physicians. Consolidated medical libraries, usually under the sponsorship of a local medical society, were conceived by physicians for the benefit of physicians, and the books for these libraries were often solicited from individual physician's private libraries.

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