In 1967 Isabelle Anderson, Medical Librarian at St. Joseph’s Hospital, sent out a letter to librarians across the state inviting them to a meeting to discuss the feasibility of organizing a Medical Librarians Group. On May 5, 1967, 21 people met at the Maricopa County Medical Society Library and discussed possible members and target organizations, suggestions for programs or projects, and the possibility of establishing a liaison with the Arizona Hospital Association. The librarians present voted to form a group called the Medical Library Group of Arizona. Isabelle Anderson was elected chairman. The group’s stated purpose was to discuss and solve the mutual problems of medical libraries in Arizona.
Originally the meetings were on a fairly regular basis, but very informal. Beginning in the mid-1970s, meetings were monthly and held at local restaurants such as Coco’s and Victoria Station, but eventually we started meeting at different libraries for brown-bag lunch meetings. Early members included Isabelle Anderson (St. Joe’s), Miriam Miller (U of A), Maggie Lee (St. Joe’s), Marian Wittenberger (VA), Sue Newell and Pat Sullivan (MCMS), Mary Bassey and Ruth Burwash (PIMC), Betty Kjellberg and Jacque Doyle (Good Sam), and Ann Anderson (Barrow’s). Evelyn Gorman joined in the 70’s, replacing Isabelle Anderson. In 1975, the membership voted to merge with the Medical Library Group of Southern California to form what is now MLGSCA, a chapter of the Medical Library Association.
After the merger, the medical librarians in the Phoenix area recognized a need for a group to expand communications and resource sharing on a local level. An informal monthly luncheon meeting was established to further communication and joint problem solving among the increasing number of medical librarians. This group became the Maricopa Biomedical Librarians (MaBL), and later Central Arizona Biomedical Libraries (CABL).
*Some information taken from “MABL 1967-1990 Maricopa Biomedical Libraries: A Selective Chronological History” prepared by Helen Seaton and Sheila Walters.