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Honoring Our Past

In 1995, Nina W. Matheson, AHIP, FMLA, gave the Janet Doe Lecture,” The Idea of the Library in the Twenty-First Century.” Now as it is 2018, we need to look at our progress. Have we established the library that Matheson outlined? I look at a medical library today and try to identify what people are doing. They are engrossed in the machine, and I hope they are using its power to create new information or to discover something original. I would like to think that librarians are well on their way to using our resources to create new information. Are we front and center with new information based on our research? Are librarians planning and carrying out research in our field of study?

Matheson says that research “can free you from the tyranny of the routine, from the yolk of received opinion, and the swamp of wishful thinking” [1]. We need to take those words seriously for our future depends upon it. Only if we give up managing second-hand information and put our efforts into the development of new information will libraries continue to hold a place in the field of medical education.

Matheson has given us the road map. Please read this lecture for it is full of ideas and steps that we need to take, and join a research team to get started. Be a part of the future in creating and utilizing the new information for tomorrow.


  1. Matheson NW. The idea of the library in the twenty-first century. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1995 Jan;83(1):1–7.

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