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Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library


  • John Gallagher, M.L.S., Director
  • Holly Grossetta Nardini, M.L.S., Associate Director
  • Janene Batten, M.L.S., Nursing Librarian
  • Arthur Belanger, Manager of Library Systems
  • Alexandria Brackett, M.L.S., Clinical Librarian
  • Thomas Falco, Research Specialist
  • Melissa Funaro, M.L.S., M.S., Clinical Librarian
  • Rolando Garcia Milian, M.L.S., Biomedical Sciences Research Support Librarian
  • Mark Gentry, M.L.S., M.A., Senior Clinical Librarian
  • Jan Glover, M.L.S., Senior Research and Education Librarian
  • Melissa Grafe, M.L.S., Ph.D., John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History
  • Alyssa Grimshaw, M.L.S., Evening/Weekend Supervisor and Clinical Librarian
  • Denise Hersey, M.L.S., M.A., Assistant Director of Clinical Information Services
  • Andrew Hickner, M.L.S., Web Services Librarian
  • Martha Horan, M.L.S., Preservation and Collection Management Librarian
  • Robert Hughes, Business and Operations Manager
  • Melanie Norton, M.L.S., Head of Access and Delivery Services
  • Kate Nyhan, M.L.S., Research and Education Librarian
  • Judy Spak, M.L.S., Assistant Director of Research and Education Services
  • Lei Wang, M.L.S., Assistant Director of Technology and Innovation Services
  • Susan Wheeler, Curator, Prints and Drawings

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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.

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Elihu Yale himself donated Yale College’s first two medical volumes. A century later, in 1813, the Medical Institution of Yale College opened, but it was not until 1917 that the professors of the medical school began a separate medical library on the medical campus.

The Historical Library was the vision of Dr. Harvey Cushing, a neurosurgeon and pioneer of brain surgery, who graduated from Yale College in 1891 and returned to Yale in 1934. Cushing joined with his two friends and fellow bibliophiles, Arnold C. Klebs and John F. Fulton, in what they called their “Trinitarian plan,” to donate their superb book collections to Yale. As the plan matured it became wedded to the idea of creating a new medical library for the Yale School of Medicine. Cushing was the driving force persuading Yale officials to realize his vision. He wanted the medical library to be the heart of the medical school and therefore specified that it be located on the main floor and that the old and new collections be equally accessible. This vision was realized in 1941 with the dedication of the Yale Medical Library, 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.

A generous gift from Betsey Cushing Roosevelt 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.

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During orientation week, first-year students are introduced to the library and their “personal librarian.” Every Yale medical student has a personal librarian to answer questions and help in research, especially when approaching the thesis.

Students have access to library resources beyond the Medical Library’s vast collections. The library can scan, loan, or deliver articles and books not owned by Yale from other libraries around the world.

Library guides and video tutorials provide 24/7 help on a wide range of library topics, from beginning thesis research to using a specific library resource. Most questions about the library can be answered by the Medical Library website, but students should not hesitate to contact their personal librarian for assistance.

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Spaces to Collaborate and Study

Students will find options available for group or individual study space throughout the Medical Library. Individual study carrels and tables are located on all levels of the library. The Morse Reading Room is designated as quiet study space. The Medical Library will begin extensive renovations in November 2017. During renovations, some spaces may not be available, but new and improved areas will be available after renovations are complete in August 2018. Details about available spaces and the renovation can be found at http://library.medicine.yale.edu.

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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). The computers have productivity software such as Microsoft Office, EndNote, and other tools including desktop publishing software, statistics and GIS software (SAS, SPSS, ArcGIS, etc.), and medical education software. Black-and-white and color printers/copiers/scanners are available. In addition, the library offers two scanning stations (Windows and Macintosh) in the 24/7 space, which have a variety of applications for graphics and 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. Digital cameras, camcorders, and related video accessories are available at the Circulation Desk. Also available are chargers for common models of mobile phones, iPads, and both Dell and Apple computers. This equipment may be borrowed by anyone with a valid Yale ID.

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Library Collections

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, physician associates, bioinformatics, and the basic sciences. The library provides access to more than 38,000 electronic books, 23,000 electronic journals, and 96 databases, in addition to more than 366,000 print volumes. Its holdings also include all Yale medical student theses, many of which are available online. Yale affiliates have access to the library’s electronic collections from any device wherever they are.

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 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, located in the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, 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.

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Medical Library Associates

The Associates of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library are friends of the library who, through membership and other contributions, are committed to assist the Medical Library in its mission of serving the information needs of Yale students, faculty and staff. Funds raised by associates represent unallocated money that can be used at the Librarian’s discretion to support various projects.

The associates host an annual lecture in the Historical Library in the spring. Past lecturers include Nobel Laureates, writers, professors, and Surgeons General who have spoken on a wide variety of topics relating to medicine. More information is available online at http://library.medicine.yale.edu/associates.

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