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Basic Medical Library Management: Information

Whether or not you have the funds available to join one of the professional associations listed below, you should definitely take advantage of all that is offered by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). As an extension of NLM, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) offers a host of services to medical librarians.

Professional Associations

  • The Medical Library Association (MLA): is dedicated to the support of health sciences research, education and patient care. MLA fosters excellence in professional achievement and leadership of health science library and information professionals in order to enhance the quality of health care, education and research. Chapter membership is also available through the MLA.

    • The Hospital Libraries Section of MLA is a great resource as JCAHO standards, hospital standards and technology issues are discussed on a regular basis.

  • The American Library Association (ALA): The ALA is a broad based association encompassing all forms of librarianship. The ALA provides a comprehensive list of state library associations and also links to a list of state library web sites
  • Public Library Association (PLA): The PLA, with more than 8,500 members, is one of the fastest-growing divisions of the ALA - the oldest and largest library association in the world. PLA's purpose is to advance the development and effectiveness of public library service and public librarians. Even if you do not join the PLA, the PLA web site may offer resources which you can use to develop a more effective library.
  • Special Libraries Association (SLA): SLA is a global network of nearly 14,000 information professionals in 60 countries; membership is a way to succeed in an increasingly challenging environment of information management and technology.

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM)

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) provides timely, convenient access to biomedical and health care information resources. The mission of the NN/LM program is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by 1) providing equal access to biomedical information to all U.S. health professionals and 2) improving the public's access to health information.

The NLM administers the network. It consists of eight regional offices throughout the country. There is a toll free phone number for all Regional Medical Libraries: 1-800-338-7657. NN/LM's National Online Training Center can be reached at the same 800 number. At the prompt, press 1 to connect to your regional office or 2 to connect to the training center.

Network with other medical librarians. The NN/LM members database allows you to search for medical libraries within your state. This database is an excellent means of finding contact information and ILL information which will help you to work more collaboratively with other libraries.


Consider joining a library consortium in your area. In the library world, a consortium is a group of libraries that have entered into an agreement to work together to facilitate resource sharing, group purchasing or professional development. Your Regional Medical Library will be able to put you in contact with a consortium in your area.

A consortium encourages fraternization and learning. Working with other librarians helps keep you in touch with new developments and provides a frame of reference while developing your library.

For more information about consortia:

Medical/Health Science Libraries