New Member: New York Academy of Medicine

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The New York Academy of Medicine has joined NYSHEI as an associate member.

“NYAM is an institution of national renown. I am thrilled they have decided to join our growing NYSHEI family. Personal thanks are owed to Library Director Janice Kaplan for contributing the reputation and prestige of the Academy to NYSHEI. Like each new membership, Ms. Kaplan’s decision to join advances the goals of all NYSHEI institutions,” said NYSHEI Executive Director Jason Kramer

In January of 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine Library was founded with the gift of a three-volume set of Medical and Physiological Commentaries, by Dr. Martyn Paine (founder of the Medical College of the University of New York City). By the time the Library opened its doors to the public for the first time in October of 1878, the collection had grown to contain over 6,000 volumes and numerous journal titles, and was already well on its way to becoming one of the foremost private medical collections in the United States. The Library enjoyed its most dramatic growth spurt during the last part of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, increasing its collection largely through personal and institutional gifts including the collections of the Medical Journal Association, New York Hospital Library and the medical books of the New York Public Library.

Also noted for its rich historical and rare book collections, the Historical Collections of The New York Academy of Medicine were established in 1928 when the Academy purchased the Edward Clarke Streeter Collection, considered one of the finest private rare medical libraries in the world. This collection of 1,200 volumes provided the core of the rare book collection.

By the 1950’s, the Academy had established itself as the public medical library for New York City.

From 1969 through 2006, the Academy Library entered a long-standing relationship under contract with the National Library of Medicine as the Regional Medical Library (RML) for the Middle Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

In 1996, the RML became the headquarters for the National Online Training Center, having served as the Eastern Regional Training and Information Center since the mid-1980’s. The National Online Training Center continues to provides training programs in online literature searching for librarians and health professionals at sites throughout the United States.

In an effort to preserve its resources for future generations, the Library operates its own on-site book and paper conservation laboratory. Officially instituted in 1985, the Gladys Brooks Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility which employs techniques as new as ultrasound and as old as pulp-making to keep fragile historical materials intact. Taking its role as cultural custodian seriously, the Academy Library supports an active program of courses and workshops for many local library consortia and schools of library science. Here the book conservators share not only their technical knowledge, but also the importance of preservation for all library collections.

Today, The New York Academy of Medicine Library houses the second largest medical collection open to the general public in the United States, following that of the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, MD. The main collection consists of over 750,000 volumes, more than 400 current journal subscriptions, and a variety of electronic resources. The cornerstone of the Library’s Historical Collections is the Malloch Rare Book Room, which contains about 35,000 rare and important books, manuscripts, archives and artifacts documenting the history of medicine, science and other health-related disciplines (about 32,000 of these date from 1700 BC to 1800 AD). These materials are supplemented by an in-depth collection of secondary resources. All in all, if you were to put all of the Library’s materials side by side they would stretch for over 14 miles! And all of this is available for use as part of the Academy’s commitment to enhancing the health of the public.

In addition to providing access to its collections, the Library continues to seek new ways to offer and enhance the services that it provides to a growing variety of users, and continues to play a vital role in the health care community of New York.

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