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Aeromedical Library at Brooks Moves to the GMR

By Steven Grove, MA,MALS, AHIP
Director, Franzello AeroMedical Library
Kettering, OH

When speaking of the AeroMedical Library and its mission in 2005, former director Joseph Franzello said
“This library has always been the last best resource for literature in aerospace medicine.”

Discovery Newsletter, Brooks AFB, # 13, Jan 21, 2005,
Rudy Purifactor, Editor, 311th Systems Wing

Through the efforts of Mr. Franzello, and many other Library supporters, the Aeromedical Library and its holdings will continue its mission when it moves 1300 miles to Area B, Wright Patterson Air Force Base (OH) in March 2011 and becomes the Franzello AeroMedical Library later in the year.

Due to BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure), Brooks AFB, San Antonio, TX, will be closing its doors in September 2011.  The internationally-known Aeromedical Library will also move with the School of Aerospace Medicine to support the 711 HPW wing and USAFSAM (United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine) personnel as well as other organizations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  It will find its home next to other educational institutions like Air Force Institute of Technology and work with other libraries on the base to provide information as other organizations as the need arises.   Even though the School receives Program 8 money (Medical) and other libraries on the base are supported through Program 6 or research money, the Franzello AeroMedical Library and 711 Human Performance Wing along with Air Force Research Laboratories Libraries will study the impact of such cooperation during the first year of its new existence.

The collection began at the Mineola Lab in 1917 at Hazelhurst Field in Mineola, Long Island, New York with only 2900 books. It was moved to Brooks in 1926 and again to Randolph in 1931.  Finally in 1959, the Aeromedical Library returned to Brooks with 60,000 items.  As an essential part of the School of Aerospace Medicine until 1990, it was transferred to the Armstrong Laboratory.  Even though funding was a concern, the Library refused to put out its lamp of learning. The Schoolhouse moved across the base but the Aeromedical Library remained on the “Hill”.

In 2002, the School’s Commander provided a funding line for the Library.  Then, in 2008, when the 711th Human Performance Wing was stood up, the Aeromedical Library was placed under the USAFSAM as a part of the Office of the Dean.

Yet another threat to its existence came during the early days of BRAC.  Originally, the Library was not included in the BRAC planning.  Together with the 311 Human Systems Wing, USAFSAM, Mr. Franzello fiercely advocated for the Library to maintain its collection up North at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

Planning began in earnest with the Library being attached to the new School. In 2005, Mr. Franzello and Mr. John Whitney, Head of Public Services, started out with a set of yellow squares on a poster board to denote the various areas of the library.

By 2010 the Franzello Aeromedical Library had become a 13000 square foot with a separate Technical Reports Room, Administration, the Archives area, and a Reading Room with more than 2000 ft. of compact and fixed shelving.  Large windows on one side of the Library provide natural light.  There will be three computer kiosks with 12 workstations that will provide customers with access to both medical and biological electronic information as well as the Internet.

The 573 sections compact shelving with 6876 shelves will house more than 32,500 books, 126,500 bound journals, 173,000 technical reports with Archives that include 2000 books, rare manuscripts and eight Special Collections of private libraries of several Aerospace Medicine luminaries.

The Library will be dedicated sometime in the middle of 2011 and will open in July or August of 2011.

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