by William Self, Director, Health Sciences Library
2015 finds the Lenox Hill Hospital Health Sciences Library celebrating the 90th anniversary of its founding.
By 1925, the hospital’s Board of Trustees felt that creating a library was one of the most important steps in utilizing and making available to the staff published clinical material. Space within the hospital was created to house up-to-date textbooks as well as medical and surgical journals. Hospital staff were encouraged to use the material collected in the new library.
At the end of its first year, the library contained 786 volumes and a collection of 18 medical journals and 3 dental journals, many made available from donations by the Trustees and attending staff. A reference and reading room was also opened. In 1956, the library was named The Jerome S. Leopold MD Medical Library to honor Dr. Leopold’s contributions and leadership. And by 2007 and after many moves, the library now houses a collection of 200 print journals and 200 online journals.
In just the past few years, the Health Sciences Library, like libraries everywhere, changed remarkably. The library continues to change in the way it provides information services to users. Located on 5 Achelis since 2000, the library, now part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System library network, is able to meet the needs of the hospital staff by making its collections available online from any computer, anywhere through the NSLIJHS HealthPort and the Electronic Medical Information Library (EMIL). EMIL now provides access to over 13,400 electronic journals, 4,300 electronic textbooks, and over 20 reference resources in the health and allied health sciences. The library also offers wi-fi service for mobile devices.
Within the last two years, the library also has a new appearance – the book stacks and nearly all the print material were removed. Where the bound journals once stood, the library is pleased to host the Kevin M. Cahill MD Exhibition and Study Center that opened in October 2014. The Center provides space for Dr. Cahill’s antiquarian collection of medical texts as well as rotating exhibits. There is also a lounge area for reading and studying, and the library continues to provide workstations with desktop computers.
For over 30 years, the library has been a part of the METRO membership and has participated in and received benefits from METRO's programs at both The Medical Library Center of New York and Lenox Hill Hospital. Under METRO's leadership, these services have provided hospital librarians the opportunities and resources necessary to meet the ever-changing needs of the delivery of information services.
Throughout its history, the Lenox Hill Hospital Health Sciences Library has insured that health care professionals are able to access, use, and comprehend the wealth of health science information – all made available through the library’s collections and the resources it provides. In doing so, the library has met and will continue to meet the need for knowledge-based information as it supports the areas of clinical decision making, quality improvement, continuing education and research.
The Achelis Nursing School depicted above serves as the current home of the Lenox Hill Hospital Health Sciences Library.