Our Library: A “Storehouse of Information”

It is National Library Week! This national observance was first created and celebrated by the American Library Association in April of 1958. National Library Week celebrates and acknowledges the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and helps to promote the use and support of libraries.

As part of National Library Week, and #TBT, we thought that our readers might want to know more about the Graff Medical & Scientific Library’s history as a “storehouse of information.”

pub_Scope_1966_01 3 Photo

The employee publication, Scope, published an article in January of 1966 detailing elements of the repository’s history and some of the ways that the library staff helped to fulfill the growing information needs of the City of Hope community.

The building that is pictured in this article, the George Piness Medical and Scientific Library, was occupied by the library starting in 1963. Although the library has since moved to its current location, the old Piness Medical and Scientific Library building is still standing. You may see it on your way to the cafeteria.

The article explains that the library began to expand its collection in 1954 when the focus pub_Scope_1966_01 3 Photo (2)of the collection shifted from patient needs to the needs of physicians, nurses, and researchers. During this time the library also gained a full-time staff member, Mrs. Shirley Pemberton, who managed reference materials. At the time of this article’s publication, the library was collecting materials in the areas of “biochemistry, biology, genetics, respiratory diseases, cancer (leukemia), as well as blood and heart diseases.” Materials were available in “German, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Chinese [and] English.”

You may have read our recent post that details how we are able to borrow materials from over 10,000 libraries worldwide using our current interlibrary loan system. Well, even back in 1966 we were able to lend to and borrow from an impressive “200 member institutions.”


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