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The Rhode Island Special Interest Group (SIG) of NAHSL: Development of Medical Libraries in RI 1754 - 2016

Formerly known as the Association of Rhode Island Health Science Libraries (ARIHSL)

Deevlopment of Medical Libraries in RI 1754-2002

Development of Medical Libraries in Rhode Island


The Redwood Library, founded by Abraham Redwood has a collection of medical books which "...were amply sufficient to give the medical student competent information of all that was then known in the English language on Anatomy, Surgery, Chemistry, Botany..."


Establishment of Brown University Medical School (1811-1927) and of the Brown University Medical Association. The Association was for the benefit of professors, students and other physicians. The Association conducted a library and at its initial meeting on November 9, 1811, authorized the purchase of books. This library was maintained until March 28, 1825 when the Association ceased to exist.


Establishment of the Rhode Island Medical Society.


From the circular Medical Lectures in Brown University, "A Medical Library is attached to the school to which the students will allow access."


Dr. Caleb Fiske donated 72 volumes of valuable books to the Rhode Island Medical Society, accompanied by a letter: "Gentlemen, believing it to be an object of considerable interest to establish a medical library for the use of the Society, and as no successful effort hath hitherto been made to effect so desirable a purpose..." His gift received few additions and the collection was not updated.


The Library of Brown University has received "from two young gentlemen alumni, a respectable donation of French books which are valuable works on Natural History, on Anatomy and Surgery."


Establishment of Butler Hospital, which develops a medical and psychiatric library.


Providence Medical Association starts subscriptions to various journals.


War Department General Hospital in Portsmouth Grove has a library. Also known as Lovell General Hospital.


The opening of Rhode Island Hospital. Space was provided for a library which includes collections donated by: Dr. Ezekiel Fowler from Woonsocket (400 volumes), Dr. J. Davis Jones, and Dr. Usher Parson. Dr. William P. Bullock is the first librarian.


Rhode Island Medical Society presented all books, journals, instruments, and apparatus to Rhode Island Hospital, provided the members of the Society shall be permitted to have free use of them when desired, subject to the rules of the hospital.


Rhode Island Hospital Librarian Dr. Charles L. Leonard reports library has 2,000 volumes.


Dr. George Dallas Hersey, is appointed Librarian of the Rhode Island Medical Society (RIMS) and asks Rhode Island Hospital to return all the journals the Society gave them in 1868. The collection is moved to the Franklin Society rooms on North Main Street in Providence.


Providence Lying-Inn Hospital opens.


Books and journals of the Rhode Island Medical Society (RIMS) were moved to Providence Public Library (PPL), because the Franklin Society had no space. But after a few years, PPL notified RIMS that since the collection has grown to such proportions, PPL no longer had space.


Dr. Hersey (RIMS) is the Treasurer of the Medical Library Association.


Opening of the Rhode Island Medical Society Library building. The collection is moved out of the PPL into the new building. Miss Grace E. Dickerman came to RIMS from PPL. The library is open to everyone in RI for study and reference use.


The James Henry Davenport Collection -- books by and about doctors is given to the Rhode Island Medical Society.


Helen Moffitt DeJong begins work at RIMS (until 1975).


25 health sciences librarians, who saw the advantages that could come from increased cooperation between them, began meeting for a social hour.



The establishment of the Association of Rhode Island Health Sciences Libraries (ARIHSL). The group started working together on mutual problems and produced the first edition of the Union List of Medical Journals (May 27, 1953).


Anne Maxvillee was on an organizing committee for the New England Regional Group.


Anne Maxville, Rhode Island Medical Society, is chair of the New England Regional Group.


Doris Johnson, Rhode Island Hospital, was chair of the New England Regional Group.


The Rhode Island Medical Society received the collection of old medical books that belonged to Dr. Madelaine Ray Brown (1898-1968). Born in Providence, she received MA from Brown University, MD from Johns Hopkins (1927), specialty was neurology. She was the first woman house officer at Boston City Hospital.


Josephine Carson, Brown University, was chair of the New England Regional Groups of MLA.


Set up of the Medline Service Center, Sciences Library, Brown University. Requests for a search could be made through a medical librarian, or directly to Mrs. Carson, the Biomedical Librarian in the Sciences Library. The cost per search was $10.00


ARIHSL adopted its name Association of Rhode Island Health Sciences Librarians and its first slate of officers were elected.


Brown University re-opens its medical school -- Program in Liberal Medical Education. Library began to acquire medical books and journals.


Ann Knight Randall, Brown University, is chair of the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries.


Cooperative Interlibrary Loan plan with the Maine Health Sciences Libraries (HSLIC). 3 copies of their union list are deposited in RI at: University of Rhode Island, Roger Williams College, and RIMS. Librarians in Rhode Island can call one of these libraries to check on availability of titles.


October 22-25 -- NAHSL held in Rhode Island


Patricia Thibodeau is President of ARIHSL


Began awarding an ARIHSL scrimshaw pin to members who are retiring. First was to Mary Murray.


In Health Sci/RI list who has what union lists and members can call to ask for holding information.


Jo-Anne Aspri began working at Kent as work-study student.


New England Regional Medical Library Services (NERMS) conducted a regional ILL cost study


ARIHSL Serials Committee is set up.


Deidre Donahue is President of ARISHSL


RIMS changed its ILL policy -- telephone requests will no longer be accepted. ARIHSL members would have to pay for ILL requests from RIMS collection. In 1979/80, RIMS accounted for 11% of ILL requests in the state.


Newsletters had information about activities in RILA, and in the New England Regional Council on Library Resources for Nursing.


Membership consists of 57 members (4 retired)


The Association dealt with introducing legislation on use of Community Access Cable Television (HR 82-7847)


Members were involved in the Hospital Library Section of NELA.


Legislative network (by phone) established to allow fast communication among ARIHSL members


ARIHSL accepted an offer from NERMLS to update ARIHSL Union List in NLM-compatable machine -- readable form (SERLINE) by a computer firm. Set-up the ARIHSL Union List Committee: Roseanne Gamache, Frank Kellerman, Chris LaFauci, Peg Lambeth, Hadassah Stein, and Ruth Szabo


ILL Committee's "Proposed Guidelines for ILL of materials in the ARIHSL Union List" were accepted


At an ARIHSL meeting a talk was given explaining reasons for proposed affiliation between WIH and RIH.


Department of State Library Services begins serving as central address for receipt of ARIHSL mail.


New York Academy of Medicine selected as Regional Library for Northeast region.


ARIHSL's On-Line User Group holds first meeting.


Christine LaFauci is ARIHSL President


University of Connecticut Health Center Library becomes the Resource Library for RI/CONN sub-region of Region I.


Bradley Hospital's Levy Library and East Providence Public Library team up to provide information about child behavior, development problems, and social work.


Approved expenditure of $400 to re-formate ARIHSL Union List tape to make it compatible with that of NLM. Motion was tabled to January 1984 meeting.


Began discussing visibility of institutional membership fee.


Most newsletters had information on serial holdings changes and union lists


Wendell Pols was ARIHSL President


Medical Information for the Layperson -- ARIHSL members presented a program at INFOEX -- a conference sponsored by Department of State Library Services for reference libraries from public libraries


Mr. Joszef Szabo updated the logo, and he was named an honorary member for his generous contribution to the organization.


44 copies of the union lists were sold to members of ARIHSL and 9 to non members.


Christine A. Chapman, Health Sciences Information, was chair of the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries.


Lynn Lloyd is ARIHSL President


Erika Schmidt receives scrimshaw necklace and a book on gardening upon retiring after 23 years of services at Butler Hospital's Isaac Ray Medical Library.


No librarians from RIH involved in ARIHSL. Annual dues in 1988 were $10.00. Union List -- 12th edition 1988 for $20.00

Brown Participated in initial test phase for Docline.


Major issues:

- Early 1980's hospitals receiving Medicare will not have to have a medical library


- 1985 UCMP to take place of SER hold microfiche last -- many objected to this, as would cost them $250 a year - NLM is concerned about serving the 10 underserved health professionals


May 15, 1985 revised By-Laws approved


Sometimes meet at lunch time


Most all ARIHSL Libraries submitted their holdings to UCMP.


The position of Medical Library Coordinator is established at Brown University


Janet Crager is ARIHSL President


Average salary for hospital librarian is $26,760.


Low attendance at meetings, decide to try 5 meetings a year, instead of 8. One lunch, one 3:30, 3 evening meetings (dinner, business meeting, speaker/or educational program)


Raynna B. Genetti become first Medical Library Coordinator, Brown University.


Ruth Szabo retires from St. Joseph Hospital.


Rhode Island Medical Society Library comes to Brown University.


Grace Varghese is President


Library Committee of RIMS meets to discuss the future of the RIMS Library, as usage is down, and the last 4 librarians stayed only for short tenure.

An RIMSL/ARIHSL Liaison Committee was set up, mainly to insure that the collection remains in RI.


From the minutes: "Docline wants to evaluate responses on usage. Eventually they would like to rid of the coupon system and have NLM keep track of the expenditures."

RIMS collection will be given to Brown University, with free access to RIMS members.


State journal collection will be available to ARIHSL at no charge for ILL's, for at least 3 years. [Brown continues to provide at no charge 6/18/2003]


ARIHSL has table at RILA Annual Conference to sell copies of Union List for $10.00. It was good publicity for ARIHSL -- but didn't sell any Union Lists.


ARIHSL joins BHSL as a consortium.


Jo-Anne Aspri is special libraries representative to ILL RHILINET Committee.


ARIHSL members participate in the Rhode Island Library Study under sponsorship of RILA and DSLS -- to evaluate library network programs and services.


Looking into having a Marcive monograph holdings list (Jo- Anne Aspri and Linda Walton). Nine libraries were interested.


Linda Walton is President


Carolyn Waller Bradley retires from Bradley Hospital


ARIHSL develops the Interlibrary Loan Code and Interlibrary Loan Guidelines, committee chaired by Jo-Anne Aspri. It was accepted at July 20, 1988 meeting.


ARIHSL Newsletter no longer publishes journal holdings updates -- all updated should be


through UCMP.


Set up a Membership Committee -- to keep list of current members updated, collect dues.


Linda Walton is special libraries representative to RI Library Study Implementation Committee. First time an ARIHSL member is on a state advisory committee for libraries.


ARIHSL celebrates its 35th anniversary with special cake and candles at November 30th meeting with new ARIHSL banner.


Tosca Carpenter is President


Average salary for hospital librarian in MA and RI is $31,574.


Because of Docline -- not necessary to update Union List every year. Decide to publish the ARIHSL Union List every other year, beginning in August 1989.


Mary Zammarelli is a member of the RHILINET ILL Taskforce.


12 hospital libraries join the RHILINET Interlibrary Loan System.


The ARIHSL Monograph Union List on microfiche was distributed. 8 libraries participated and 5,000 unique title are listed.


Raynna Bowlby, Brown University, was chair of the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries. NAHSL conference was held in Providence.


Jo-Anne Aspri is ARIHSL President


NAHSL is held in RI at the Omni-Biltmore, Providence, Chair is Raynna Bowlby


There are 45 members in ARIHSL, including 9 retired members.


Tosca Carpenter compiled the ARIHSL Policy and Procedure Manual.


Re-creation of the New England Region as part of the Medical Library Network, to become effective as of May 1991.


13th edition of ARIHSL Union List is published.


Dr. Lindberg's letter to hospital administrators about Grateful Med. Jo-Anne Aspri sent letter as ARIHSL President to Dr. Lindberg.


Committee created to consider creating institutional membership in ARIHSL.


Mary Zammarelli as President


Discussion about drop of attendance at ARIHSL meetings, at January 16th meeting. It was decided not to have noon time meetings, but either morning or evening meetings. Earlier announcement of up-coming meetngs.


University of Connecticut wins the RML contract for Region 8.


ARIHSL members present a review of medical resources for public librarians at RILA conference, June 7.


A motion was approved that $200.00 be given to any of the following members: President, President-Elect, Past President, or member of Executive Board to attend MLA conference.


Mary Ann Slocomb is President


Brown becomes a Resource Library for RI within the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.


Members work on submitting a Technology Update Grant from NLM. Principal Investigator -- Barbara Davis but was tabled because of changes at NLM.


Work begins on ARIHSL's 14th edition of the Union List.


ARIHSL is represented on the Regional Advisory Committee by Mary Ann Slocomb.


Quahog -- Compact disc of monographs holdings of RI public libraries and 10 hospital libraries is provided.


Barbara Davis is President


Grant proposal open to all ARIHSL members for funding for equipment and software, was submitted to Champlin Foundation on September 1993. Proposal rejected.


Approved new membership category -- Institutional Membership, and with this change the new name for ARIHSL is Association of Rhode Island Health Sciences Libraries. By-Laws were changed to reflect this.


ARIHSL changed name to Association of RI Health Sciences Libraries to high light the investment of resource on part of the institutions and benefits that occur to them through work of ARIHSL.


ARIHSL libraries join LORI -- Library of Rhode Island


15th Edition of the ARIHSL Union List was published. Price $30.00 members, $40.00 non-members. It costs $1,700 to produce. Decided to update "yellow pages" from union List every year and to include internet address and fax numbers.


Ann LeClair, one of the founding members of ARIHSL passed away on September 6.


ARIHSL celebrated its 40th Anniversary on October 27 at the Brown Faculty Club. Event was sponsored by Ebsco.


Ruthann Gildea is President 


ARIHSL members participate in satellite broadcast of Medlars Update at VA Hospital and Newport Hospital.


Members voted to continue ARIHSL membership in the Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates.


Journal Club was organized for interested members.


Membership fees are:

20 Individual members - $10.00

16 Institutional members - $20.00


ARIHSL sponsored a poster session at NAHSL '94, instead of presenting state reports.


Helen DeJong, 83, one of the founding members of ARIHSL passed away on March 31, 1994.


ARIHSL members attend workshops about access to OCLC.


Sylvia Hampton is President


NAHSL in RI at Westin Hotel, Providence, Co-chairs Tovah Reis and Ruthann Gildea


Irene Lathrop is President


Jo-Anne Aspri Kent receives the NAHSL Achievement Award.


ARIHSL develops its web site, which was hosted on the Brown University server. Its debut was May 15, 1996, Janet Crager was the first webmaster.


ARIHSL has 31 members, and 10 retired members for a total of 41 members.


Talks began with CRIARL about merging the ARIHSL Union List of Medical Periodicals with the CRIARL Union List.


Sylvia Hampton is President


Janice Schuster is President


Tovah Reis was appointed as a member-at-large from MLA to the 2001 National Organizing Committee for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) conference to be held in Boston.  She was also Chair of the IFLA 2001 Local Planning SubCommittee.


The June 4 meeting was to brainstorm ideas and solutions about the future of ARIHSL as it is entering the next year without an incoming president. Sylvia Hampton, Past President volunteered to serve as President for the coming year. It was decided to have only four meetings, create a listserv, use e-mail for reports and announcements, and that ARIHSL will maintain its district organizational status for the coming year.


Sylvia Hampton is President



Individual – 10 

Institutional -- 14


Robin Devin, University of Rhode Island, is President.


Jo-Anne Aspri, Kent Hospital, was NAHSL conference chair. Conference was held in Newport.


Tovah Reis, Brown University, received NAHSL Achievement Award


MaryAnn Slocomb, UMASS ( ) RIH was chair of NAHSL

1754-2002 Prepared for the ARIHSL 50th anniversary by Tovah Reis

Development of Medical Libraries in RI 2003-2016


Pat Padula, Landmark Medical Center, is President


50th anniversary celebration held in June.


Tovah Reis, Brown University, is President


JoAnne Aspri is notified that ARIHSL has received a LORI award of $36,100 for “The Heart of the Matter: Improving Health Information Access in Rhode Island,” to provide funding for ARIHSL to participate in the HELIN network, thereby making health information resources more widely available.


Mary Ann Slocomb, Rhode Island Hospital, received the NAHSL Achievement Award


Carol-Ann Rausch was honored by Memorial Hospital for forty years of dedicated service


Lifespan and Brown received a $25,000 grant from the RML to provide five to six

courses on consumer health for librarians.



Individual - 16

Institutional – 20


Deborah Porrazzo, RI Department of Health, is President


Every town in RI now has a library with Exeter being the last and opening September



Hospital libraries are now affiliate HELIN members with their books included in the catalog.  The hospital libraries also participate in the LORI book delivery system.



Individual - 16

Institutional – 17


The CRIARL Union List is being discontinued. Hospital libraries now keep their serial holdings in the HELIN catalog.


Patricia Gorman, Memorial Hospital, is President


Janet Crager, Brown University, is chair of the NAHSL 2005 Conference. The conference was held at the Westin Hotel in Providence, with an event at RISD. There were 152 attendees.


Tovah Reis was elected as Chair of Section Council, and in that role became a member of the Medical Library Association Board of Directors (2005 -2008).


ARIHSL, individual members, and the Regional Medical Library send letters of support to the RI Department of Health with regards to proposed library closure.


Westerly Hospital closed their library with intention of contracting library services from Westerly Public Library.



Individual - 12

Institutional – 18


RI Department of Health Library closed September, 2006 Archives:


Mary Zammarelli, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, is President


Community College of RI joined ARIHSL



Individual - 9

Institutional – 19


Ruthann Gildea, Butler Hospital, is President


September minutes note that “Lifespan and Care New England have proposed a merger. “


Rhode Island Library Commission was extended through 2009 and renamed to the Karla Harry Commission.


The Executive Board discussed revising the hospital library section of the Rhode Island Rules and Regulations for the Licensing of Hospitals. Past President Mary Zammarelli sent a list of the proposed revisions to the RI Department of Health.


Members met with the Rhode Island Medical Society to discuss libraries being part of the essential criteria for continuing medical education (CME). RIMS sent letter stating “after considerable discussion, the committee decided that it would not be in the best interest of Rhode Island’s continuing medical education community to adopt the Medical Library Association’s “Standards for Health Science Libraries in Hospitals” or to incorporate more guidelines into an already stringent CME accreditation process.” The committee did “acknowledge that an institution’s health science library/librarian is an essential resource for CME programs and supports ARIHSL’s efforts in raising awareness among hospital administrators and medical staffs of the value of medical library services.”


Mary Ann Slocomb was appointed by the Governor and officially approved on March 12th by the Education Committee of the RI Senate as a member of the RI Library Board (LiBRI.)



Individual - 12

Institutional – 16


RI Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) is now convening quarterly meetings of Library Directors from RI. 41 librarians attended.


Eleanor Slater Hospital, Cranston, eliminated their contracted librarian position.


The RI Library Board sent a letter to the RI Speaker of the House, the governor, and the President of the House to express the Board’s concerns about the budget’s impact on libraries in RI. The letter focused on: the loss of “Maintenance of Effort”; the loss of the librarian position at the Eleanor Slater Hospital; and the reduced requirement of school librarians.


The Regional Medical Library a) placed Eleanor Slater Hospital on Temporary status, inactive in DOCLINE and b) sent a letter to the CEO on behalf of NN-LM/NER underscoring the importance and value of a professional librarian in the health care setting.


RI statewide databases were implemented as a group effort by HELIN, Ocean State Libraries (OSL), and the Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS). This pilot project was geared to give database access to all Rhode Islanders. EBSCO MEDLINE was included in the package.


Barbara Davis, Newport Hospital, is President.


A Department of Health Rules and Regulations for Licensing of Hospitals hearing was

held. ARIHSL representatives who testified in favor of the revision of the Professional Library section were Barbara Davis, Pat Gorman, Pat Padula, and Tovah Reis from ARIHSL, Cherine Whitney from SLA, and Donna DiMichele from OLIS.


Revised Rhode Island Rules and Regulations for Licensing of Hospitals became law on

May 14, 2009.


South County Hospital closed its library.



Individual - 12

Institutional – 13


Arline Dyer, Memorial Hospital, is President


April 2009: The amended RI Rules and Regulations for Licensing of Hospitals, Section 14.0 is stated as follows:

Section 14.0 Professional Library

14.1 The hospital shall provide appropriate library services for the professional and

technical needs of hospital personnel including:

a) current books, periodicals and other pertinent materials;

b) appropriate computer resources for literature search and retrieval;

c) adequate facilities;

d) adequate personnel to maintain the library service.



Individual - 12

Institutional – 13


Rachel Carpenter, Rhode Island College, is President


Sue Warthman, Rhode Island Hospital, is chair of the NAHSL 2010 Conference. Regina Swanson, Rhode Island Hospital, is co-chair. The conference was held at the Marriot in Newport, with an opening reception at the Easton's Beach Rotunda Ballroom & Carousel. The conference theme was Libraries in Balance: Preserving our Roots, Growing our Future.


Barbara Davis, Newport Hospital, received the NAHSL Achievement Award


The new RINI Middle College Charter School opened in Providence in September with the purpose of preparing high school students to become health care professionals. It was established by the Rhode Island Nurses Institute.


Nancy Ross, Women & Infants Hospital, is President.


Nancy Ross unveiled the new ARIHSL website. It is a Google site with content converted from the old site hosted by UMass Medical, along with new content.

New site:

The domain name was purchased.


ARIHSL became a member of the Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA)


The MLA Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP) certification became available online.


Mary Ann Slocomb received a letter from Governor Chaffee reappointing her for a second 3-year term on the Library Board of Rhode Island (LiBRI), which began on January 1, 2011


Ruthann Gildea, Butler Hospital, is President.


On October 21, COLA joined with other Rhode Island library groups to host a reception for Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), who has long been a powerful advocate of libraries.


The Medical Library Association annual meeting was held in Boston this year. The theme was One Health.


Three library-related positions were eliminated by Lifespan: Director of Lifespan Library Services (RI Hospital); Director of Education and Organization Development

(Newport Hospital); Part-Time Library Assistant (Newport Hospital)


Sue Warthman, New England Institute of Technology, is President.



Individual - 12

Institutional – 14


AskRI, the Statewide Reference Resource Center, added EBSCO’s Consumer Health Complete database to its offerings.


The ARIHSL website was converted to LibGuide format after NAHSL provided free LibGuide accounts to the state associations. The new site is:

The domain still exists and will resolve to the new address.


SLA & ARIHSL shared a table at RI Legislative Awareness Day at

the RI State House on February 11.


Thanks to Rachel Carpenter’s digitization efforts, ARIHSL archived newsletters are now available on the ARIHSL website, Members Only / Archived Newsletters tab.


Cheryl Banick, VA Hospital, was awarded the DBIO (Biomedical and Life Sciences Division of the Special Library Association) member of the year.


Ocean State Libraries was awarded a grant to create “One Catalog” – a catalog shared between HELIN libraries and OSL.


Johnson and Wales University is the first in Rhode Island to offer a Physician Assistant Program. Classes began in June with an inaugural class of 24 students.


Nicola Pallotti, Memorial Hospital of RI, is President.


The Physician Assistant Program at Bryant University was accredited in September 2014. The program admitted its inaugural class of 32 students in January 2015.


University of RI and Bryant University left the HELIN consortium and no longer have their resources in the shared catalog.


Madge Boldt, RI Hospital, is President.


Tovah Reis was awarded MLA Fellowship. MLA Fellows are elected by the Board of Directors for sustained and outstanding contributions to health sciences librarianship and to the advancement of the purposes of MLA.


Erika Sevetson, Brown University, is chair of the NAHSL 2015 Conference. The conference theme was Anchored in Excellence and it was held at the Omni in Providence. There were 123 attendees.


Landmark Hospital eliminated their librarian position. A letter of advocacy for hospital libraries to administration at Landmark on behalf of ARIHSL was sent.


New LORI standards requiring a public Interlibrary Loan Policy were a concern to the hospital libraries. ARIHSL members collaborated to produce a compliant general ILL policy that members can link to. The policy is here:


At Lifespan, the Systems Librarian resigned and a Public Services Librarian retired. Neither full-time position was filled. Lifespan now has 1.3 FTE Librarians / 1 FTE Technician to cover their four hospital system.


NAHSL has decided that the conferences will change from a two day annual conference to alternating between a two day conference and a one day conference. The two day conference will be held at different locations around the region and the alternate year will be a one day conference to be held in central Massachusetts.  The change will start in 2017


Amanda Richman, RI Hospital, is President.

2003-2016 Prepared by Madge Boldt