Friday, October 5, 2012

MGH bids farewell to Warren Library space

GOING MOBILE: Nicholson, left, and Davis display the new Warren Library mobile cart.

It was a bittersweet moment as MGHers bid farewell to the Warren Library during a Sept. 27 celebration honoring its 171-year history. The library’s physical space in the Bulfinch basement has closed; however, it will continue to operate as a mobile cart run by Volunteer Services.

Surrounded by employees and by posters detailing the library’s rich history, Jeff Davis, senior vice president of Human Resources, said that in its heyday in the 1940s, the library’s circulation was 80,000 items checked out annually – but those numbers have steadily decreased to less than 500. In addition, concerns about infection control have grown as it has become increasingly difficult to adequately disinfect borrowed materials.

“But the library’s mission will still live on – in fact, it will go back to the way things used to be. We will deliver books to our patients and allow them to take them when they go home,” Davis said, thanking MGH Buildings and Grounds for building a beautiful wooden cart to transport reading materials. He noted plans to create an electronic lending library are being reviewed.

“The Volunteer Department is honored to accept this book cart to use in continuing this service, the original mission and legacy of this room,” added Wayne Newell, director of the Volunteer Department.

During the celebration, the library was remembered as a warm and inviting area for employees to enjoy while reading a newspaper or book. Brit Nicholson, MD, chief medical officer, recalled meeting many acquaintances and friends there. “I have always thought of the Warren Library as one of those treasures that was unique to the MGH,” he said. “It was an oasis of refuge.”

Read more articles from the 10/5/12 Hotline issue.


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