Letter from Michael E. DeBakey to William G. Reidy
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2 (116,141 Bytes)
1956-01-19 (January 19, 1956)
[DeBakey, Michael E.]
Reidy, William G.
United States Senate. Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. Professional Staff Member
MS C 47, National Library of Medicine (U.S.) Papers relating to the construction of a new medical library, 1874-1959, Modern
Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine (USA).
Reproduced with permission of Katrin DeBakey.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Supporting the Medical Enterprise: DeBakey and National Library of Medicine
The Need and Significance of a National Library of Health [January 1956]
Letter from Michael E. DeBakey to William G. Reidy (January 3, 1956)
Thank you for your letter of January 4, 1956, along with a copy of the first draft of a bill to establish a National Library
and Museum of Health. It is certainly a thoughtfully prepared document and I should like to commend you on its excellent preparation.
You have kindly asked for my comments and I should like to make them as follows:
Section 1: In regard to the members of the Board it would seem desirable to specify their length of tenure of office and to
provide some formula for "staggering" them. I believe too that it would be preferable to avoid specifying the exact
number of Board members to be drawn from each particular field and to indicate simply that the Board members would be drawn
from these various fields.
Section 2(c): I believe it would be desirable to indicate that the Chancellor should be elected annually. This would specify
his length of tenure and permit the Board to re-elect the presiding Chancellor or to elect a new one.
Section 4(a)(1): This is a particularly important section of the bill since it is concerned with the primary function of the
library. For this reason I believe it would be desirable to phrase it as specifically as possible in terms of the function
of the library but at the same time in sufficiently broad terms to permit flexibility of activities in order to achieve the
desired objectives. Accordingly I would like to suggest phrasing this section along the following lines:
"It shall be the primary function of the National Library of Health (1) to acquire and preserve pertinent medical literature
from all available sources including books, monographs, periodicals, journals, prints, films, recordings and the like; (2)
to organize, catalogue, and index these materials to provide adequate and current bibliographic control; (3) to make available
these catalogues, indexes and bibliographic listings by regular and current publications (4) and to make these materials available
upon request through loans or copying procedures as well as to provide references and research assistance."
I am enclosing a statement concerning the function and value of the Library which I hope will be useful to you in preparing
a preamble to the bill.
Thank you again for this opportunity of expressing my thoughts on the matter and with best wishes, I am,