Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Building Projects: Redefining Hospital Libraries

Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Building Projects: Redefining Hospital Libraries

Article excerpt


Just what is a library these days? With the shiftfrom print to electronic resources, librarians the world over have been given the opportunity to reenvision their libraries' appearances, structural needs, and purposes. As Frieda O. Weise, FMLA, stated in her Janet Doe Lecture given at the 103rd annual Medical Library Association meeting, ''The physical library can and does convey its mission. Libraries are today, and have been for the last century, certainly more than storehouses; they are service organizations that embody the mission and vision of their institutions'' [1]. Is this still true? The Welch Medical Library at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center was scheduled to close its physical building December 31, 2011. When students and faculty recognized this pending change, the university administration appointed a task force to further review the need for the building to remain as a place of browsing and study [2]. When the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library at the University of Utah closed in December 2009 for nine months for a remodel of its ceiling, the School of Medicine received numerous student concerns and consequently, built a temporary study place. So while our users want desktop delivery of information, they still want ''a place'' to go to for reflection and to concentrate their focus on learning.

The focus of this first column is hospital library projects that are illustrative of the dramatic changes that are taking place as these libraries are transformed from traditional models to dynamic environments, responding to the needs of their users and institutions. Future columns, to be published on an annual basis, will feature new libraries as well as those that have recently undergone additions or remodels of existing space and new space assignments for specific purposes in libraries. The building project columns will each have a type of library or purpose as its theme. Future columns will cover:

* projects in libraries of a particular type (hospital, academic, consumer health, pharmaceutical companies, associations, special, etc.)

* projects centered on particular improvements (energy efficiency, sustainability, fire protection, mechanical, electrical, lighting, landscaping, etc.)

* projects to improve special spaces (history of medicine, galleries, testing centers, classrooms, Clinical and Translational Science Award centers, cafés, compact shelving installations, study areas, new furnishings, staffareas, information commons, technology and multimedia laboratories, offices, meeting spaces, exhibits, student headquarters, etc.)

To accompany these annual columns, a new website, Library Construction and Renovation ,www. is being created for sharing information about various aspects of renovations and building construction.

In addition, a comprehensive survey of building projects will be conducted, updating the one published in the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) in 2010 [3]. A database of these projects will be created and made available via the new construction website.

As Weise challenged us during her Janet Doe Lecture, ''I believe it is the responsibility of librarians to guide the design of the library; we must advocate strongly the role for the library beyond the 'storage facility' and even the 'access facility,' and focus attention on the many other place-centered activities and services that the library can support'' [1]. Please consider sharing your building guidance and experiences, lessons learned, plans, and achievements with your colleagues!

Denver Medical Library, Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Denver, Colorado

Submitted by Sharon Martin, MLS; Diane Tobin, MLIS; Nancy Peterson, MLS, AHIP; and Douglas Stackhouse

The Denver Medical Library (DML) comprises approximately 7,000 square feet of prime space on the first floor of the combined campus of Presbyterian St. …

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