Consolidation & Sharing

Strathcona Medical Building
from the Royal Victoria Hospital

The Library continued to have the services of a professional librarian in addition to the "Honorary Librarian" and by 1920 the Library numbered 28,000 volumes. In that year Dr. C.F. Wylde (the Honorary Librarian) began to give a special course to medical students on how to use the Library's resources effectively for their research. In the same decade inter-library loan (a system first suggested by the McGill University Librarian Charles F. Gould in 1909) had become a daily part of the Library's operations as a way of sharing collections among institutions locally, nationally and internationally. Until recently, the richness of the Library's collections meant that the Library lent far more to others than it received in return.

The next 30 years saw an increase in cooperation among medical libraries to share the burden of coping with the rapid increase in information and associated costs. In 1962 the Medical Library's system of classification changed to the system devised a few years earlier by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. By this time the collection numbered 96,000 volumes.

Throughout the history of the Library several subjects and collections have been merged and extracted. Some of the collections of the Montreal Veterinary College were added in 1889 when the College was incorporated into the University as the Faculty of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Science. The older and historical collections have been gradually extracted and moved to the safekeeping of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, established at McGill in 1929. The ten thousand volume Dentistry Library was incorporated into the Medical Library in 1988 and in this year the Library was renamed the Health Sciences Library. Three years later the collections and services of the Nursing Library were also incorporated.

Model of McIntyre Medical Sciences Building-- McGill Archives

In 1966 the Faculty of Medicine and its Library moved to its present location in the distinctive round McIntyre Medical Sciences Building. Designed by Marshall and Merrett, the present location also houses the Osler Library of the History of Medicine and the two Libraries share staff and many services. Opened within the Medical Library in the Strathcona Medical Building in 1929, the Osler Library (and its furniture) was designed by well-known Montreal architect, Percy Nobbs and was transferred to its current site almost intact. In 1996, the Health Sciences Library moved most of its older collections (1850-1964) into off-site storage. While this is not a perfect solution to chronic space problems (libraries keep growing) it does protect older material and has allowed the Library to provide space for computers, printers and terminals.

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