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June 2, 1978


Author Affiliations

Library State University of New York Upstate Medical Center Syracuse

JAMA. 1978;239(22):2341. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280490025013

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To the Editor.—  When budgets dwindle so that new material cannot be purchased, subscriptions have to be cancelled, personnel positions are deleted, and replacement budgets all but disappear.When patrons face the circulation desk weeping or hollering for material not on the shelf, not checked out, and not awaiting reshelving, a patient goes uncared for, the new technique is lost, the information goes unretrieved and unlearned, and interlibrary loan is initiated (with all attendant costs and delays) and the library loses its credibility.That is what "happened to the honor system," as referred to by Ralph S. Cranshaw, MD (239:621, 1978).Librarians are realists, not cynics (17% book loss is real). Libraries do not seek to diminish physicians', nurses', and other scientists' dignities. Libraries do not wish to assume guilt. Rather, we librarians wish to serve. We want to be able to provide as much necessary material as we can

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