The Standards Committee of the Veterinary Medical Libraries Section was appointed in May 2000 and charged to create standards for the ideal academic veterinary medical library, written from the perspective of veterinary medical librarians. The resulting Standards for the Academic Veterinary Medical Library were approved by members of the Veterinary Medical Libraries Section during MLA '03 in San Diego, California. The standards were approved by Section Council in April 2005 and received final approval from the Board of Directors of the Medical Library Association during MLA '04 in Washington, DC.
Since 1974, the Veterinary Medical Libraries Section (VMLS) of the Medical Library Association has supported librarians serving veterinary medical institutions and other organizations related to animal health. The VMLS appointed a Standards Committee in May 2000 to create standards for the ideal academic veterinary medical library, written from the perspective of veterinary medical librarians. The VMLS Standards Committee determined qualitative standards were appropriate and would complement tools that VMLS had already developed, including the Annual Survey of Veterinary Medical Libraries and the Basic List of Veterinary Serials.
Academic veterinary medical libraries exist to support the educational, clinical, and research needs of the faculty, students, and staff of the veterinary medical institution. Their collections include materials on many topics including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in animals; the relationship between zoonoses and public health; the medical and psychological effects of interactions between animals and humans; the legal and ethical aspects of the human-animal bond; the practice of veterinary medicine; and the education of veterinary professionals.
The primary audience for these standards is academic veterinary medical librarians. Following the lead of the Hospital Libraries Section, the committee has adopted the format used by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), where a statement of need is provided, followed by an explanation of the intent for that statement.
The library's collection supports the educational, clinical, and research programs of the veterinary medical institution. The collection may be the library's principal collection or may be integrated with other complementary collections such as agriculture or human health.
Explanation of intent. The library should collect, at the research level, all types and formats of recorded information on veterinary medicine. Materials from related disciplines such as biomedical research, clinical sciences, and animal sciences should be collected less comprehensively, depending on availability of such materials from other library collections located in easily accessible facilities nearby. Collections should be organized according to a recognized library classification scheme and accessible through a print or electronic catalog.
Professional library staff are responsible for selecting, acquiring, and withdrawing materials using a written collection development policy. They will periodically evaluate the collection to develop collection priorities and determine long-term and short-term goals. Library users are encouraged to suggest materials for acquisition or withdrawal.
The size and quality of the collection is supplemented by materials available in the library system, through consortia borrowing agreements, or through interlibrary loan or a commercial document delivery service.
The library's services support the educational, clinical, and research programs of the veterinary medical institution and encourage optimal use of the library's resources.
Explanation of intent. The library anticipates user needs by establishing and maintaining a close relationship with users and …