The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library strives to be a center of excellence that develops and sustains services and resources to support the biomedical, health, and public health care information needs of Yale University and the Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
Elihu Yale himself donated Yale College’s first two medical volumes. A century later, in 1813, the Medical Institution of Yale College was opened with the help of Yale president Timothy Dwight and the Connecticut State Medical Society. By 1865, when a catalog was made of the collection, it numbered 1,200 volumes and was integrated with the College Library. It was not until 1917 that the professors of the medical school began another separate medical library.
Situated in the center of the Sterling Hall of Medicine, the current Medical Library was completed in 1940. The library was designed in the shape of a Y with two wings, one for the Historical Library reading room and one for what was then the periodical room, with stacks below for books and journals. The central rotunda honors Dr. Harvey Cushing (1869–1939), a neurosurgeon and pioneer of brain surgery, who graduated from Yale College in 1891 and returned to Yale in 1934.
A generous gift from Mrs. John Hay Whitney, daughter of Dr. Harvey Cushing, enabled a major renovation and expansion of the Medical Library that included the addition of a skylit Information Room and increased study and stack space. Upon completion of the renovations in June 1990, the library was officially renamed the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, honoring both Cushing and John Hay Whitney (1904–1982), Yale graduate, editor of the Herald Tribune, and patron of the arts.
During orientation week, first-year students are introduced to the library, the Personal Librarian Program, and their “personal librarian.” Librarians become personal librarians for approximately twenty students each year and maintain contact with the same students throughout their four years in medical school. A personal librarian is able to recommend resources best suited for individual research needs, provide instruction in new technologies and resources, and guide students to specific resources as their research and learning needs change.
Students have access to library resources beyond the Medical Library’s vast collections. Interlibrary Loan obtains and delivers materials not owned by the Yale University Library through cooperative agreements with other libraries around the world. Document Delivery obtains and delivers materials from collections at most Yale University libraries, in whatever format the student requires.
Library guides and video tutorials provide 24/7 help on a wide range of targeted library topics, from beginning thesis research to how to use a specific library resource. Most questions about the library can be answered by the Medical Library Web site, but students should not hesitate to contact their personal librarian for assistance.
Spaces to Collaborate and Study
Students will find myriad options available for group or individual study space throughout the Medical Library. On the main floor, group study rooms include the Gordon Conference Room and the Simbonis Conference Room. The Betsey Cushing Whitney Group Study Center, located on the lower level, consists of a lounge area and two group spaces. A conference room located in the Cushing Center is equipped with a computer, large monitor, Internet access, and teleconferencing capabilities. All of the library’s group study and conference rooms contain either large plasma monitors or data projectors for group display. Details can be found at http://library.medicine.yale.edu/about/places. Individual study carrels and tables are located on all levels of the library. The Morse Reading Room is designated as quiet study space.
Computing in the Library
The Cushing/Whitney Medical Library provides Windows and Macintosh computers in the Information Room and the 24/7 Computer & Study Space (http://library.medicine.yale.edu/services/computing/computers). All computers have access to the Internet, and many include productivity software such as Microsoft Office, EndNote, and other tools including desktop publishing software, statistical and mapping software (SAS, SPSS, ArcGIS, etc.), database management software, and medical education software. Black-and-white and color printers/copiers/scanners are available in both spaces. In addition, the library offers two scanning stations (Windows and Macintosh) in the 24/7 space. Software on these computers includes a variety of Adobe graphics applications and Final Cut for video editing and production.
A mix of Windows and Mac laptops are available for Medical Center students needing a computer for short-term, temporary use. Equipment including digital cameras, HD digital video cameras, and related video accessories is available from the Circulation Desk. Also available are chargers for common models of phones, iPads, and both Dell and Apple computers. This equipment may be borrowed by anyone with a valid Yale ID.
The Cushing/Whitney Medical Library provides a comprehensive collection of clinical reference tools, databases, evidence-based practice resources, image collections, educational software, and books and journals in support of programs in medicine, nursing, public health, and the basic sciences. The library includes more than 36,000 electronic books, 22,000 electronic journals, and 95 databases, in addition to more than 416,000 print volumes. Yale affiliates have access to the library’s electronic collections from any remote computer using VPN software.
The Historical Library contains one of the world’s finest collections of rare medical books, journals, prints, posters, and photographs, as well as current works in the history of medicine. There are 325 medical incunabula, more than 75 manuscript volumes from the twelfth through sixteenth century, and one of the best study collections of weights and measures in the world. Its holdings also include Yale medical theses to 1900, catalogs, yearbooks, photographs, and other publications and ephemera related to the Yale School of Medicine. In addition, an outstanding selection of photographs, posters, and other images is available in the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library Digitized Collections.
The Cushing Center houses a unique collection of materials owned by Dr. Harvey Cushing. The center is the home of the Harvey Cushing Brain Tumor Registry, which consists of approximately 400 brain specimens, glass-plate negatives, and accompanying patient files from the early twentieth century. The space also displays a portion of his rich collection of anatomical and surgical books.
Medical Library Associates
Michael Kashgarian, M.D., Chair
Melissa Grafe, Secretary
The Associates of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library were formed in 1948 to assist in augmenting the library’s services and collections. Membership information is available online at http://library.medicine.yale.edu/associates.