What IS a “health science or sciences library??

Thanks to everyone who replied [to my email query].  Suggestions are below.  Turns out this was for the NLM Information Resource Grants to Reduce Health Disparities which states:

“Proposed projects should exploit the capabilities of computer and information technology and health sciences libraries to bring health-related information to consumers and their health care providers. Preference will be given to applications that show strong involvement of health science libraries.”

I know we all work in health sciences libraries but there doesn’t appear to be any official definition.  This oversight should be corrected.  The MLA Guide to Managing Health Care Libraries didn’t have a definition either.

1)            Gary Freiburger from U of A sums it up and represents the AAHSL point of view : As far as I know there is no certification or official accreditation linked to the title.  I think it’s a generally accepted descriptive term used to indicate that a library goes beyond being a “medical library”, doesn’t focus on clinical resources and also includes other areas of healthcare.

2)            Jacque Doyle found this: From http://medlib.tripod.com/mdlbfaq.htm

2.1 What is a medical/health science(s) library?

In CanHealth (published in 1985 by the CHLA in Ottawa), David S. Crawford and M.A. Flower define a health science library as “a library which contains clinical or related materials to serve the information needs of practitioners of one or more of the health science disciplines as they progress through their student days and into their careers as clinicians or researchers, or both. Such a library provides information resources concerning specific care for individual patients and broader literature coverage of advances in the general field of medicine. It may also provide access to clinically sound public information for patients and their families.” (pg. 4).

And also looked at MESH headings:  Collections of systematically acquired and organized information resources, and usually providing assistance to users. (ERIC Thesaurus, http://www.eric.ed.gov/ accessed 2/1/2008)


3)            Amy Nadell offered these links:



 4)            Kay Deeney suggested looking at the grant itself:

Here’s a link to some of NLM’ Grants.


 5)            There is a nice brochure outlining the Medical Librarian:


 6)            and the Standards for Hospital Libraries


 7)            Sheila Hofstetter also found a nice listing of medical librarian duties


 I would still be interested in an official definition if anyone finds anything else.  Thanks.

Kathy Zeblisky, MLS, AHIP
Medical Librarian
Phoenix Children’s Hospital
1919 E Thomas Rd
Phoenix, AZ  85016
P 602 933-4248
F 602 933-4249


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