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Honoring Our Past

What others write about the profession of librarianship is sometimes puzzling, always interesting. One of our best supporters was Sir William Osler, considered America’s finest and most beloved physician. He was a historian, book collector, author, and leader in medical education.

He spoke at the opening of the Summer School of Library Science in Wales in 1917, stating that the work of librarians within the previous few years had been so organized that we might speak of a science of librarianship. He continued, the “librarians of today, and it will be true still more of the librarians of tomorrow, are not fiery dragons interposed between the people and the books. Many people still think that a great reader or writer of books will make an excellent librarian. This is pure fallacy.”

His talk was reprinted in the supplement to the October 2012 Journal of the Medical Library Association [1], from the Library Association Record for August/September 1917.


  1. Osler W. The science of librarianship. J Med Lib Assoc. 2012 Oct;100(4 suppl):A.