The hospital library has been described as the "forgotten stepchild of the hospital." The average medical-society library, according to a recent survey, does not fare much better. Still, for physicians who cannot afford extensive and expensive private libraries, these neglected collections are apt to be the crucial link in the chain of medical information.
The Joint Committee on Accreditation of Hospitals is not specific in its requirements:
The hospital must maintain a medical library according to the needs of the hospital.
Facilities should be provided to meet the requirements of the services in the hospital.
Basic textbooks and current periodicals should be available and catalogued according to the needs of the hospital.
Personnel should be provided to assure efficient service to the medical staff.1
What constitutes "efficient service to the medical staff" depends on many factors. The physical size of the library must vary with the