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The Michael E. DeBakey Papers

[Agenda and minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine (including "Consideration of site for new building")] pdf (603,505 Bytes) transcript of pdf
[Agenda and minutes of the first meeting of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine (including "Consideration of site for new building")]
Held at the Army Medical Museum in Washington, DC. Among the topics discussed was site selection for the new building of the National Library of Medicine.
Item is a photocopy.
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16 (603,505 Bytes)
1957-03-20 (March 20, 1957)
Rogers, Frank B.
National Library of Medicine. Board of Regents
Original Repository: National Library of Medicine. Records of the National Library of Medicine. Board of Regent's Minutes, 1957-1993
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
National Library of Medicine (U.S.)
Exhibit Category:
Supporting the Medical Enterprise: DeBakey and National Library of Medicine
Metadata Record [Frank B. Rogers and the NLM Board of Regents] [20 March 1957] jpg (238,863 Bytes)
Metadata Record [Minutes of the second meeting of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine (including attachments)] (April 29, 1957) pdf (595,774 Bytes) transcript of pdf
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Document Type:
Minutes (administrative records)
Physical Condition:
Board of Regents
National Library of Medicine
First Meeting, March 20, 1957
9:30 a.m.
1. Introductory remarks - Dr. Burney
2. Adoption of agenda
3. Election of Chairman
4. Report from the Director, NLM
5. Consideration of site for new building
6. Decision on date of second meeting
7. Consideration of agenda for second meeting
Lunch will be served at the Library at about 12:30 p.m.
Adjournment at about 4 p.m.
Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine
Minutes of the First Meeting, FY '57
Washington, March 20, 1957
Members present. Bibby, Burney, Curran, Daniels, DeBakey, Francis, Hays, Hogan, Lyons, Marshall, Middleton, Mumford, Ogle, Spector, Volwiler, Wilson.
Dr. Ravdin was unable to be present due to previous commitments. Dr. Aims C, McGuinness, Special Assistant for Health and Medical Affairs to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, attended the morning session as a guest.
Preliminary. Dr. Burney, acting as Chairman pro tem, convened the meeting at 9:30 a.m. He welcomed the Board on behalf of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and on behalf of Secretary Folsom; expressed the appreciation of the Public Health Service for the willingness of the members to serve on the Board; welcomed whatever advice, counsel, or criticism the members of the Board might wish to offer.
Adoption of agenda. The tentative agenda was adopted without amendment.
Election of Chairman
On nomination by Miss Marshall, seconded by Dr. Mumford, Dr. Daniels was unanimously elected Chairman of the Board of Regents, and presided over the meeting from this point. Dr. Lyons was unanimously elected Vice Chairman. Dr. Burney suggested that the Director of the Library should act as Secretary to the Board, and this was accepted. The Board also took action to endorse the appointment of Colonel Rogers as Director of the National Library of Medicine.
Report from the Director
The Director review the events of the past six months which had been a period of transition and the Library's administrative affairs, now pretty well shaken down. The gross organizational structure of the Library was outlined, and changes in housekeeping and executive offices of the Library were given in some detail.
FY 1958 operating budget. The sum being requested for FY 1958 is $1,450,000, or almost $135,000 more than has been available during FY 1957. This may be accounted for roughly as follows:
$35,000 - for new and replacement equipment, some of which has had to be deferred in 1957 in order to meet other commitments.
$59,000 - to provide employer contributions to the retirement fund, newly required by law.
$11,000 - for three new positions which will enable Library to stay open during the evenings, as was the custom prior to 1953.
$25,000 - for reclassification of existing library and series positions according to new standards expected to be promulgated by the Civil Service Commission about July 1.
$5,000 - salaries to cover more than the usual number of working days in the year, plus overtime.
Personnel. The Director briefly mentioned difficulties encountered in maintaining staff levels, described recruiting trips recently undertaken, and spoke with a plan to establish intern positions in the Library.
Program and policy changes. The Act specifies that is the duty of the Board to make recommendations "on important matters of policy in regard to the Library, the scope, content, and organization of the Library's services, and the rules under which its materials, publications, facilities, and services shall be made available to various kinds of users . . ." Accordingly the Library staff has prepared, or is preparing, recommendations on loan policy, to include photoduplication, policy on scope and coverage, and policy on distribution of publications, which will be submitted to the Board at an early date for validation and/or amendment. As to programs, the Director stated his conviction that for the next decade the highest priority must be given to the completion of the rehabilitation of the Library, begun twenty years ago.
New building. 1) Public Buildings Service is almost ready to announce the selection of an architect to be responsible for drawing up plans for the new Library building; 2) there is some difference of opinion between the Bureau of the Budget and the Library concerning the status of plans presently in hand, the Library being firmly of the opinion that these represent diagrammatic preliminary plans rather than schematic plans which are the final step before the ultimate working drawings; 3) the schedule to be met is a tight one if site is to be selected, plans are to be drawn up, and request for construction funds is to be submitted as part of the FY 1959 budget. Questions from the group prompted the Director to state his personal belief that space limitations of 240,000 square feet as proposed in an earlier review of plans by the Bureau of the Budget are fairly reasonable, and that it is likely that the construction of a building of this reduced size will now cost close to the original estimate of $6 million. A building of this size would provide stack space for about 30 years' growth.
Obtaining Construction Funds
Dr. Burney explained that a presidential freeze order is in effect relative to construction of new federal buildings, in an attempt to alleviate inflationary pressures. The new administration building of that National Institutes of Health, the new National Institute of Dental Research, and other PHS buildings in addition to the Library have been affected by this freeze. Dr. McGuinness stated that all officials at DHEW are thoroughly aware of the acute problem of the Library, but that under present conditions we must "wait and see." Dr. Burney said that he was unwilling at this time to try to decide what priority the Library would have among all PHS buildings.
General Ogle suggested that it might be helpful to consider asking for construction funds in a bill separate from the normal HEW budget request. Dr. Middleton and Dr. Lyons supported this idea.
Dr. Curran and others suggested that because, in the case of the Library, inadequate housing was something more than an inconvenience -- and irreplaceable collection was in jeopardy -- a higher priority for it might be justified. Dr. Francis reemphasized this point.
General Hayes suggested that the Board go on record as recommending to the Surgeon General of the PHS that the construction of the new library building be placed at the top of his priority list.
Admiral Hogan commented that the spirit of the Congressional hearings on the Library was that the transfer to PHS was accomplished in order to decrease the competition with other funding.
Dr. DeBakey spoke feelingly to the point that in passing the National Library of Medicine Act Congress it clearly indicated its intent that a new building was to be constructed.
Dr. Burney explained the distinction between authorization of funds and appropriation of funds. He said he thought that it is important at present to get on with the planning phase.
Dr. Volwiler observed that freezes, by their nature, eventually result in a loss. Dr. Wilson's counseled patience.
Consideration of Site Selection
The Chairman asked for consideration of site, and was greeted with immediate advocacy of the metropolitan area of Washington. On the other hand, the feeling was expressed that it would be well to give the matter full and extended consideration before arriving at a decision.
Dr. Volwiler recounted some conversations he had had recently with various Chicago medical men.
In response to questions, Dr. Burney said that no requests for consideration of particular areas and been received. Some of the members suggested that some sort of hearings should be held; other members demurred. Dr. Spector recommended postponing a decision until the next meeting. This matter was discussed at very great length. The sense of the meeting which ultimately emerge as for deferment.
(Recess for lunch at 12:30; afternoon session resumed at 1 p.m.)
The chairman announced that he would get in touch with Dr. Coggeshall for a statement of the position of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and that Dr. Bibby would be in touch with the deans of the various dental schools.
Consideration of Sites
The Board reviewed and discussed the ten various possible sites in the Washington area which you been mentioned during the last decade. The greatest amount of interest was in the following sites:
Capitol Hill. Historically, this was a site strongly advocated just before World War II. The specific location is on East Capitol Street, just beyond the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Library of Congress Annex. The planning commission was at one time favorably inclined toward this, because it fits in with its long-term hopes for developing this area. It would, however, entail the extensive condemnation of private property, at a high price.
Soldiers' Home. The General Services Administration controls the southern portion of the Soldiers' Home tract, consisting of roughly 117 acres. The western part of this, about 47 acres, is now occupied by the new District Medical Center, soon to become operational. At one time there was a plan for locating a VA hospital in the central sector. Land would cost $13,500 per acre, payable to the Soldiers' Home proper for the southern tract.
Bethesda, National Institutes of Health. The Glenbrook Golf Course, operated by Montgomery County, is immediately adjacent to the NIH campus, to the south. NIH owns this land, and can dispossess the lessor on 30 days' notice. A suitable site for the library would be in about the location of the present golf clubhouse. Nothing would be built between that site and Wisconsin Avenue; there's ample room for parking and expansion; the site is available.
Bethesda, Naval Medical Center. The Department of Defense had chosen the site on the southern edge of the Naval Medical Center reservation, on the north side of Jones Bridge Road looking out on the Columbia country club to the south, at approximately midway between Connecticut Avenue to the east and Wisconsin Avenue to the west. The site was acceptable on the several counts that the terrain is very suitable for the type of building required, there was an extensive open space around the site for parking and future growth, and it was available. There are two serious drawbacks, however; one is the fact that the building would be located far from main traffic arteries were public transportation is available; the other is a possible conflict in jurisdiction which would be involved. Under the Armed Forces have been agreed that management control of the Library would be shifted from the Army to the Navy when the new building was constructed on Navy ground. By the same logic, now that management of the Library has been vested in the Public Health Service, it would make sense to put the building on PHS ground. Admiral Hogan stated, however, that no jurisdictional conflict need arise, as the Secretary of the Navy had stated that he would gladly turn over the property.
Character of the Building
General Ogle said that he would like to see a monumental type of construction, which might at once be symbolic of the importance of the role of the medical sciences and serve as a vehicle of medical education for the people. Dr. DeBakey said that while the building should not be luxurious, it should certainly not be miserly. Colonel Rogers said that he objected to the word "monumental" only in its occasional connotations of "book museum" and "white marble stairways." He felt the capable architect, imbued with the purposes, hopes, and aspirations of the Library, could produce a building indicative thereof, and beautiful by virtue of its simplicity, and not in any sense a mere barnlike factory building.
Nearness to a Medical Center
Colonel Rogers stated that he felt that location of the Library near a medical center was very important, not so much from the standpoint of the service which the Library would give to the center, but rather from the standpoint of the stimulus which the center would get to the Library. Miss Marshall underlined his point.
Further Discussion
There was considerable discussion of additional points such as accessibility, distances of various sites from downtown Washington, influence of new communications techniques, and the place of exhibits. The Chairman suggested, and the members agreed, that would be well to begin the next meeting with a trip to some of the sites proposed.
Date of Next Meeting
The date for the next meeting was considered. It appeared that conflicts would arise on almost any date in April, but that on the whole April 29 would accommodate the majority, and this was agreed upon.
(Whereupon the meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m. following which several members of the Board made an inspection tour of the Library.)
Frank B. Rogers
Secretary to the Board of Regents
National Library of Medicine
National Library of Medicine
Considerations in Selection of the Site for the New Building
The problem of site selection for the new building of the National Library of Medicine may be divided in three major parts - 1) area selection; 2) site selection; and 3) location selection. Area determination means area in the gross; it means the selection of the city or metropolitan area near or within which the Library will be located. Site selection is the narrowing of the problem by picking out a particular circumscribed region within the chosen metropolitan area. Location selection means for choosing a specific acreage on the selected site. It is suggested that the first two parts - area and site - on the responsibilities of the Board of Regents; it is further suggested that the third part, location of the selected site, should be left to the discretion of the Library administration, and its parent agency. It is believed that the approach to these problems ought to proceed in the order given.
Part I -
This may be most conveniently approached by posing the question as follows: - should the site be within the Washington Metropolitan area, or should it be somewhere outside this area? The pro-arguments for one will be the con-arguments for the other, and vice versa. The units are covered in extenso in the transcripts of the hearings before the Committee on House Administration. They may be summarized as follows:
In favor of the Washington Metropolitan area:
A 1. The presumption must be for this alternative, which is a continuance of the status quo.
A 2. The major users of the Library are government agencies within the Washington area. Moving the Library outside the area would disrupt established patterns of service, and leave the agencies without an adequate service for immediate access to needed reference material. (See Appendix A)
A 3. The cost of moving a library of this size and a distance from Washington would be formidable (for example: estimated cost of moving Library to Bethesda is $85,000). Money spent on moving would be better spent on facilities, materials, and services.
A 4. Moving would be disruption of the present staff, assembled and trained over the years at considerable cost. The staffing problem is a major problem.
A 5. Moving would introduce extraordinary complications in the receptacle relationship party established with the two other great national libraries, Library of Congress, the Library of the Department of Agriculture.
A 6. There is logic and placing a national library at the seat of government, where it's national status is better recognized by both the Congress and the citizenry.
In favor of an area outside of Washington:
B 1. National treasures and national monuments should be more accessible for all the people; when the opportunity presents, the near monopoly of the Eastern Seaboard should be broken.
B 2. If the Library were located nearer to the geographic population center of the Nation, the time required to bring the Library's resources to users on both coasts would be equalized. This would be reinforced at the area chosen was a transportation center; this emphasis on availability of transportation is pertinent mainly in relation to carriers of mail.
B 3. The Library should be located in a city in which other great medical libraries already exist; if this were done, the libraries would supplement and reinforce one another.
B 4. Part of the Library is already in Cleveland; transporting this part to Chicago, for example, would be no more expensive than transporting it back to Washington. (But note that the Cleveland collection contains only 35,000 volumes out of the total of 500,000.)
B 5. The Library might receive the stimulus of national organizations having headquarters in the new area.
B 6. The danger of possible loss of the collections through bombing is less outside the Washington area than in it.
Leaving out of consideration, for the moment, the arguments stemming from the fact that the Library already in being in Washington, we can set forth requirements on area as follows:
C 1. The area selected should be in or near a fairly large city. This would assure an adequate transportation network, a fair sized group of medical people with whom ideas could be interchanged, and from whom consultation and stimulation could be obtained, and not least, a population from which an adequate staff, with adequate language competencies, could be drawn.
C 2. Other things being equal, the less industrialized and given city is, the less probable that it might be, bombing target, the safer the Library might be. It is difficult if not impossible to reconcile this criterion with criterion C 1 above.
If not the Washington area, then what other area? The following cities have been suggested, and my serve as examples of types.
D 1. Chicago is the second largest city in the United States; it therefore has, save for one other city, the largest number of doctors, hospitals, medical schools, research facilities, and so forth.
D 2. Chicago's transportation center. It is also highly industrialized. For both reasons is presumably a prime bombing target, and is perhaps more accessible than most, if the polar route is considered.
D 3. The headquarters of many national medical associations are in Chicago, and Chicago is host to many national medical conventions.
D 4. Chicago already is the home of the largest medical library west of the Alleghenies (The John Crerar Library), and altogether has 4 of the 15 largest medical libraries in the country.
D 5. The airline distance between Washington and Los Angeles is 2295 miles; between Washington and Chicago is 594 miles; and between Chicago and Los Angeles is 1741 miles. Chicago is therefore 554 miles, or 24%, closer to Los Angeles than is Washington.
D 6. A specific site within the Chicago area is available without charge to the government.
E 1. The population of greater Denver is over half a million. Air and rail facilities are available.
E 2. The area is not highly industrial. Access for bombing might be most difficult.
E 3. A good medical school is at hand; University of Denver located in city, but University of Colorado located elsewhere.
E 4. A few other government agencies have found special merit in locating here, or close by (Air Academy, NACA Lab.).
F 1. Located 100 airline miles from the nation's capital.
F 2. Has a great university, and a medical school.
F 3. Not industrial; population small; transportation facilities not too good.
Part II - Site
Now moving to the second major part, the problem of site within an area. The ideal requirements are as follows:
G 1. Location adjacent to a medical center. Up until now it has always been assumed that this was a major requirement. It will be recalled that the 1951 NRC Committee said that "relation to a medical center . . . [is] essential to provide the National Medical Library with direct advice and endorsement from the medical and scientific professions". And the Armed Forces Medical Library Advisory Group, in a letter to General Hayes on 13 April 56, stated that the Library should be "provided with that most essential ingredient for its healthy growth - the constant, day-by-day stimulation of medical people which will promote improvements in the Library's services by contact and familiarity of the Library's staff with the whole medical scene, in all its operational aspects." A primary consideration in site selection would seem to rest on the validity or non-validity of this argument).
G 2. Government land Artie available, or available without great expense or dislocation of present tenants.
G 3. Transportation accessible for staff.
G 4. Transportation available for visitors.
G 5. Adequate parking space available an adequate space available for subsequent additions to stacks.
G 6. Freedom to build functional building, without undue restriction from zoning laws.
G 7. The further the site is from the center of the city, the less likely is the possibility of total loss from bombing.
G 8. Availability of cited early date, as speed of building is of the essence.
Measured against these criteria, the various sites which have been mentioned within Metropolitan Washington might be rated as outlined in Appendix B (Chicago medical Center, only specific site mentioned outside Washington, shown for comparison). Ten possible sites are rated on a simple three-level scale; it would be possible to rate any two sites, comparing one to the other, on a more detailed scale which would reveal minor advantages and disadvantages of each.
Part III - Location
While it is probably logical to assume that ultimate selection of a specific location on a given site should be the prerogative of the Library administration and its parent agency, the general availability of suitable locations on a given site will also tend to influence selection of the site. Factors bearing on choice of location are as follows:
H 1. Suitability of terrain (slope, level of water-table, character of subsoil, etc.).
H 2. Relationship with surrounding buildings.
H 3. Availability of sewage lines, power lines, heating lines, etc. (e.g., whether or not the Library will have to provide its own heating plant is a large factor in construction costs.)
H 4. Availability of housekeeping services from adjacent area (food, landscaping, trucking, and similar items).
H 5. Availability of administrative services from adjacent area (supply, fiscal accounting, and personnel processing support).
H 6. Style of architecture.
H 7. Suitability of road net.
H 8. Future plans for site development.
Appendix A
National Library of Medicine
Predicted Circulation Levels for FY 1957
(based on FY 56 figures, and first-quarter FY 57 experience)
Total circulation - 128,400
Within library - 28,200
Photoduplication - 78,000
Interlibrary loans - 22,200
Interlibrary loans - 22,200
Metropolitan Washington area - 18,200 (82%)
Government agencies - 15,000 (67.5%)
Civilian institutions - 3,200 (14.5%)
Outside of Washington - 4,000 (18%)
Government agencies - 1,200 (5.5%)
Civilian institutions - 2,800 (12.5%)
Total loans to government agencies - 16,200 (73%)
Total loans to civilian institutions - 6,000 (27%)
Appendix B
National Library of Medicine
[Chart = Reading of Selected Building Site Possibilities]
National Library of Medicine
Board of Regents
April 29, 1957
1. Assemble library 9:30 a.m. Allow time for filling out travel vouchers and similar details.
2. Bus leaves library promptly at 9:45 a.m. for inspection tour of several possible building sites.
3. Lunch - served at the Library at 12 noon.
4. Afternoon session begins at library at 12:30 p.m.
a. Further consideration of site.
b. Discussion of recommendation on loan policy.
c. Presentation of scope and coverage policy (if time permits).
d. Setting of date for next meeting.
5. Adjournment at about 4 p.m.
(Please return the section below, with appropriate checkmarks)
National Library of Medicine
7th Street and Independence Avenue, S. W.
Washington 25, D. C.
I will be present for the bus tour on April 29th.
I will be present for lunch.
I will be present for the afternoon session.
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