METRO Member Spotlight: Rita and Frits Markus Library and Scientific Information Commons at The Rockefeller University

by Davis Erin Anderson, Community Engagement Manager, METRO

Located along the East River in Manhattan, The Rockefeller University is a foremost research institution in the biomedical sciences, chemistry, bioinformatics, and physics. The university was founded in 1901 by John D. Rockefeller as the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and carries the distinction of being the first to be entirely devoted to biomedical research. Later, the Institute added graduate-level coursework to its operations and updated its name to reflect its new role as a training ground for foremost scientists.

Rockefeller.jpgRockefeller’s library has been a critical element of the university’s mission to benefit humanity through science since the very beginning. A research library was included in the design of Founder’s Hall, the very first lab building on campus. Within the next two decades, the library had outgrown its environs and was moved into Welch Hall, named for one of the institute’s founding scientists. As proof of the library’s key role in the scholarly communication process, it was stationed along with the institute’s combined dining/seminar room. In 1965, the dining facilities found a new home and Welch Hall became devoted entirely to the library’s holdings.

Thanks to a gift from the estate of Rita and Frits Markus, the library has recently undergone a complete renovation. Re-opened in April 2013, the newly renamed Rita and Frits Markus Library and Scientific Information Commons now features state-of-the-art technology and a variety of spaces suitable to the stages of in-depth research projects.

Led by University Librarian Carol Feltes, librarians at Markus Library are always on the lookout for new ways to reach out to their user communities. The library prepares customized reading lists for presentations offered on campus, exhibits for special events, and webpages that highlight Rockefeller achievements and scientists. They maintain a database of faculty publications updated weekly with links to full texts of faculty-authored articles.

Markus Library provides circulating research collections in areas such as physiology, immunology, cellular and molecular biology, and other physics and mathematics materials as they related to the life sciences. Most notably, the library maintains a collection of over 350 scientific instruments, many of them unique and developed specifically at Rockefeller for the conduct of breakthrough science.

Rockefeller University is a member of a tri-institutional partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Weill Cornell Medical College. The library operates as a National Library of Medicine in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Mid-Atlantic Region. As a member of METRO, the Markus Library offers their support for biomedical inquiry to their fellow METRO members.


Photo provided by Carol Feltes, University Librarian at Rockefeller University.