Building new twenty-first century medical school libraries from the ground up: challenges, experiences, and lessons learned


  • Nadine Dexter Director, Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando, FL
  • Joanne M. Muellenbach Director, Jay Sexter Library, Touro University Nevada, Henderson, NV
  • Elizabeth R. Lorbeer Director, Library, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Debra Rand Associate Dean for Library Services, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Hempstead, NY
  • Matthew E. Wilcox Director, Edward and Barbara Netter Library, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT
  • Bradley A. Long Embedded Health Sciences Librarian, Harrell Health Sciences Library, University Park Program, Penn State University, State College, PA



Twenty-First Century Medical School Libraries, Born Digital Medical Libraries, Allopathic Medical Schools, Osteopathic Medical Schools


The twenty-first century library at a newly opened medical school often differs from those at traditional medical schools. One obvious difference is that the new medical school library tends to be a born-digital library, meaning that the library collection is almost exclusively digital. However, the unique issues related to building a library at a new medical school are not limited to online collections. A unique start-up culture is prevalent, of which newly appointed directors and other library and medical school leaders need to be aware. This special paper provides an overview of best practices experienced in building new medical school libraries from the ground up. The focus is on the key areas faced in a start-up environment, such as budgeting for online collections, space planning, staffing, medical informatics instruction, and library-specific accreditation issues for both allopathic and osteopathic institutions.

Author Biography

Joanne M. Muellenbach, Director, Jay Sexter Library, Touro University Nevada, Henderson, NV

Director, Jay Sexter Library

Associate Professor


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Special Paper