McGill University. Medical Library

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McGill University. Medical Library

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  • McGill University. Faculty of Medicine. Library

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Dates of existence



McGill University’s Medical Library was started in 1823 by the staff of the Montreal General Hospital – it was the first medical library in Canada. The Library was located within the Montreal Medical Institution (north east corner of Place-d’Armes, 20 rue Saint Jacques, Montréal, Québec), before McGill Faculty of Medicine was established in 1829. As McGill’s Faculty of Medicine grew and became more established, the Library moved between various locations until, at last, the Faculty opened its very own building on campus in 1872. By 1898, McGill’s Medical Library had grown to be the largest medical library in all of North America, with over 15,000 volumes.

1907 was a fiery year in McGill’s history, and when flames tore through the Medical Building on 16th April 1907, thankfully the majority of the Medical Library’s collection was saved. The building itself, however, was completely destroyed. With the generosity of Lord Strathcona, a new medical building was built in 1909 and the Faculty of Medicine along with the library, museum, and laboratories, relocated to the new Strathcona Medical Building designed by Brown and Valance, Architects. When Sir William Osler’s library was bequeathed to McGill and the Osler Library of the History of Medicine was established in 1929 (also located in the Strathcona Medical Building), it was decided that the older historical collections of the Medical Library would gradually be extracted and re-housed at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine.

In 1966, the Faculty of Medicine, the Medical Library, and the Osler Library of the History of Medicine all moved to the newly built McIntyre Medical Sciences Building. The Medical Library would later change its name to the Health-Sciences Library in 1988, and in 1996 most of its older collections (1850-1964) were moved into off-site storage in order to create more space for computers, printers, and terminals. More recently in 2013, the medical and life sciences collections at McGill merged into what is now the Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering, and the library was closed.


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