ATG Book of the Week: A History of Medical Libraries and Medical Librarianship: From John Shaw Billings to the Digital Era

by | Nov 23, 2021 | 0 comments

Title: A History of Medical Libraries and Medical Librarianship: From John Shaw Billings to the Digital Era
Authors: Michael Reed Kronenfeld and Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld
Hardback: 978-1-5381-1881-8, $125; eBook: 978-1-5381-1882-5, $45
Imprint: Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021


A History of Medical Libraries and Librarianship in the United States: From John Shaw Billingsto the Digital Era presents a history of the profession from the beginnings of the Army Surgeon General’s Library in 1836 to today’s era of the digital health sciences library. The purpose of this book is not only to make this history available to the profession’s practitioners, but also to provide context as medical librarians and libraries enter a new age in their history as the digital information environment has undercut the medical library’s previous role as the depository of the print based KBI/information base.

The book divides the profession’s history is divided into seven eras: …

Each era is reviewed through discussing the developments in the field and the factors which drove those developments. The book will provide current and future medical librarians and information specialists an understanding of the development of their profession and some insights into its future.


REVIEWS:

A History of Medical Libraries and Medical Librarianship shows that decades of work, and substantial public investment, went into developing the information infrastructure we now use every day. The book is an excellent historical resource, though limited by its exclusive focus on the United States. A global history of medical libraries and librarianship would also be welcome.
— Medical Reference Services Quarterly

A History of Medical Libraries and Librarianship in the United States: From John Shaw Billings to the Digital Era is a comprehensive survey of the intertwined history of the National Library of Medicine, the Medical Library Association and medical librarianship. From the 134 item catalog of the Surgeon General’s collection of 1840 to the expanded mission of the Network of the National Library of Medicine, NLM has consistently evolved to meet the needs of its users with innovative services and programs designed to promote and advance a national agenda for excellence in medical education and biomedical research.

Readers with an interest in the history of the National Library of Medicine, and the Medical Library Association, will find this an invaluable resource for understanding the relationships between these organizations, support for a national agenda on biomedical research and the profession of medical librarianship.
— Susan M. Harnett, medical information services li
brarian, Borland Library, University of Florida

The Kronenfelds’ book documents the rich history and promising future of medical libraries and librarians. It was edifying to consider my own career in a broader context, and to be reminded of the impact of legislation and leadership at the national level on the development of the profession. Reading this book provides an opportunity to be proud of our origins; to get a little nostalgic for the pre-Internet, ‘Golden Age’, when medical librarians were the gateway of access to published biomedical information; and to look forward to a data driven health care future in which librarians skilled in data management will provide information solutions in a digital environment.
— Gale G. Hannigan, PhD, MPH, MLS, AHIP, Research Professor, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center

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