A prescription for medical libraries
What can medical librarians offer today’s medical students?
Libraries are strange places. Medical school libraries even more so: the bookish hush, the smell of earnest medical endeavour with a whiff of looming deadline, the occasional gentle snore from a sleep deprived student. The lines of textbooks, journals, magazines and DVDs, punctuated with desks, photocopiers, and humming computers, all ruled over by a flinty eyed chief librarian.
In a world of email, Google, and personal digital equipment, some people think that medical libraries are a fusty relic of the past, about as relevant to modern medics as the complete works of Galen and a bucketful of leeches. But others argue that they still have a place today and will become even more important as the volume of information available increases but the quality becomes harder to judge.
Medical and other science students use libraries in a different way from arts students or the general public. Much of the important