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(May 4/19) I was very disappointed to see today that the Health Science Library will be closed every
weekend (along with every other library on campus) over the summer.
I find this to fall embarrassingly far below the standard of services expected at a world-
leading medical school. It is well known that medical students and residents do not follow
the traditional University calendar and often have many exams (ALL Royal College exams, MCCQE
etc) taking place during the summer months. As such, the Health Science Libray plays a vital
role to medical learners at McMaster, as residents and medical students continue to study,
learn, teach, and work. I would also underscore this fact by highlighting that there are NO
other dedicated study spaces at any of the other major teaching hospitals across the city. As
such, the library has remained the only place for medical students and residents to study,
collaborate, and advance their clinical knowledge.
A quick online review demonstrates that this thrifty approach is unique to McMaster. In fact,
there is no other medical school in CANADA that closes its health sciences library on
weekends (this includes a review of all 14 English language medical schools health science
libraries). This is for good reason - the medical community including medical students,
residents, and faculty depend on the library as a space to work year round. In an era where
our medical school has received some of the largest philanthropic donations in Canadian
history, I find it puzzling that the very heart of any univerisy, its libraries, would be a
place the University would try to pinch a few pennies.
I wonder if the medical school/students, PARO resident representatives, or Post Graduate
Medical Education, were consulted when this decision was made?
Library response: Thank you for sharing your concerns. Unfortunately, the Health Sciences Library budget has been showing a deficit for the past several years. We have worked to balance our budget by cutting some of our services (including weekend hours) and cancelling journal titles. We have recently received some additional funds to prevent the cancellation of additional journal subscriptions, but no additional funds were provided to cover staffing costs. We continue to provide 24 hour access to our online collection and we hope this will help you with your information needs. Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish to discuss your concerns in more detail. (May 7/19)
Answered by: Jennifer McKinnell (Director, Health Sciences Library)