Veterinary Medical School Libraries
December 6, 2005
There are 28 veterinary medical school libraries in the US:
Auburn University Cary Veterinary Medical Library University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Library
Tuskegee University Williams Veterinary School Library Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine
University of California - Davis Carlson Health Sciences University of Missouri- Columbia College of Veterinary
Library / UC Davis Center for Animal Alternatives Medicine
Western University of Health Sciences Pumerantz Cornell University Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library
North Carolina State University College of Veterinary
Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Medicine
University of Florida Health Sciences Library & Veterinary Ohio State University Hodesson Veterinary Medicine Library
Medicine Reading Room
Oklahoma State University The William E. Brock Memorial
University of Georgia Sciences Library & Veterinary Medicine Library Center for Veterinary Health Sciences
Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine Library
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Veterinary
Medical Library University of Pennsylvania C.J. Marshall Memorial
Library/School of Veterinary Medicine
Perdue University Veterinary Medical Library
University of Tennessee Pendergrass Agriculture & Veterinary
Iowa State University Veterinary Medical Library Medicine Library
Kansas State University Veterinary Medicine Library Texas A & M Medical Sciences Library
Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary
Library Medicine Veterinary Medical Library
Tufts University - Webster Veterinary Library Washington State University Health Sciences Library
Michigan State University Veterinary Medical Center Library University of Wisconsin Steenbock Memorial Library
Note that most of these schools are large land-grant institutions that have substantial agriculture curricula.
Remember that veterinary science has its roots in enhancing farming production, not in healing your sick cat!
Veterinary library size & staffing
Some are standalone libraries – co-located with Veterinary Medicine program, in the
Some co-exist with medical, pharmaceutical or
other science library (serving more than 1 curricula). These are the largest libraries.
Some have 2 libraries, one for the vet school and one for a separate clinic.
Libraries that are not co-located with the vet classrooms sometimes have “reading rooms” in the
As many as 6 dedicated staff members, 1 or 2 with MLS degrees
As few as 1 librarian who have shared duties with other programs.
Number of volumes varies:
Smaller schools that only serve veterinary medical program average 30,000 volumes.
Larger schools that serve multiple health science programs average 140,000 volumes.
What kind of skills are needed in a
veterinary medical library?
MLS (of course)
Some experience in the field is preferred:
medical degree - a few librarians are also VMD’s
science degree – chemistry, biology, zoology, infectious diseases
“gentleman farmer” experience, raising various animals
“..but I do not think a fresh library science school graduate can adequately serve the
veterinary teaching faculty, hospital doctors, and veterinary students with necessary skills
and efficiency unless he/she is among many senior librarians.” – U of Illinois librarian
People skills a must!
“willingness to provide service is probably the most important and desirable staff quality” –
Colorado State librarian
“Chain of command” in veterinary school libraries
Many report to main campus library, even though vet library is located
Cornell University – until 18 months ago, reported to Vet School administration, now reports to main
campus library with a “dotted line” responsibility to vet school.
Oregon State University – The Library Director reports to main library but is “contracted out” for 20 % of
her time to the vet school. This helps with the accreditation reporting and budgeting.
Some report to the Dean of the Veterinary School.
Mississippi State – Head librarian reports to main library, but his staff librarians report to the vet school.
Veterinary Medical Library professional organizations and
Medical Library Association – Veterinary Medical Libraries Section
Journal of the Medical Library Association – quarterly publication
Publishes Annual Survey of Veterinary Medical Libraries,
Basic List of Veterinary Serials
Standards for veterinary medical libraries were approved at the MLA 2003 conference – format adopted from that used by
Hospitals Libraries section and JCAHO (remember them??)
Special Libraries Association – dual associations
Food, Agriculture and Nutrition Section Biomedical and Life Sciences Division
Food for Thought – semi annual newsletter Medical Section
Biofeedback – quarterly newsletter
American Veterinary Medical Association- accrediting body for vet schools.
Has a library accreditation section
Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA Council on Education (COE)
International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists
Online resources: VETLIB-L listserv, SLA Food Ag & Nutrition listserv
Whom do they serve?
“Academic veterinary medical libraries exist to support the educational,
clinical, and research needs of the faculty, students, and staff of the
veterinary medical institution.”
- American Veterinary Medical Association Standards
Information retrieval services are offered at many vet school libraries:
University of Illinois library has a fee-based service.
Ohio State University has a document delivery form on their home page.
Texas A&M offers free information retrieval and info retrieval education.
What materials are in a veterinary library?
textbooks and journals
CD-ROMs, videos and slides
online medical and agricultural databases such as PubMed,
AgriCola, Ovid Medline
donated collections of retired or deceased professors
surgical knot tying kits for practice
collection of plants that are toxic to animals
leather recliners and sleep timers (yes, students can check out
sleep timers for use in “power naps” at the library)
Spotlight on: Texas A&M
Medical Sciences Library Clinical Veterinary Librarian Program
“These librarians attend Clinical Rounds on a weekly basis and comprise part of the patient care team
along with the clinicians, surgeons, residents, and students of the clinics. Working with the other team
members, the librarians provide information support to assist the clinical team in making health care
decisions and providing quality patient care.” – description of program from library’s web page.
In my opinion this program epitomizes the true definition of a Special Librarian.
Spotlight on: Western University of Health Sciences
Newest veterinary school in the US, located in Pomona, CA.
Probationary accreditation granted by AVMA in 2003.
First class will graduate 2007.
Accreditation process began in 1999.
Library building is a converted AT&T switching substation.
Sources used for this presentation
• Survey of Medical Libraries in the United States and Canada – October 2000
compiled by Veterinary Medical Library / Virginia Polytechnic Institute for the Veterinary Medical Libraries section
of the Medical Library Association.
• email interviews conducted 11/22/05 through 12/1/05 with librarians and staff from the following veterinary
medical libraries: Louisiana State University, Colorado State University, University of Illinois at Champaign-
Urbana, Michigan State University, University of Georgia, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Tufts University,
University of California – Davis, Oregon State University, Mississippi State University, Cornell University,
Washington State University, Kansas State University, Iowa State University
• phone interview conducted 11/3/05 with Andre Nault, head librarian, University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical
• phone interview conducted 12/1/05 with Norma Funkhouser, Associate Professor, Texas A & M Medical
• phone interview conducted 12/3/05 with Pat Vader, Library Director, Western University of Health Sciences
• Murphy, Sarah et. al. Standards for the academic veterinary medical library. Journal of the Medical Library
Association. January 2005, volume 93(1). p130-132.
• American Veterinary Medical Association website. Accreditation Policies and Procedures of the AVMA Council
on Education (COE). Retrieved 11/27/05.< http://www.avma.org/education/cvea/coe_standard.asp>