Share on:



Maud H. Mellish - 1915

"1909 Building"

  • 1907 - March 1, Maud H. Mellish appointed "to organize and develop a medical library."
  • 1907 - First library committee established with Dr. A.H. Sanford who serves as chair until 1942.
  • 1907 - Dewey Decimal Classification used until 1924.
  • 1907 - At the clinic, Dr Henry Plummer establishes the indexed medical record.
  • 1907 - From MLA history, Association of Medical Librarians changed name to Medical Library Association.
  • 1909 - A separate library building erected on the present site of the Plummer Building. This was the first building erected solely for use by the medical practice. Other offices were rented at that time.
  • 1911 - At the clinic, Dr. William Worrall Mayo, father of Drs. Will and Charlie, dies.
  • 1914 - In world news, World War I begins.
  • 1914 - The first building called "Mayo Clinic" constructed for the clinical practice. The library collection of 4,000 volumes moves to this location.
  • 1915 - At the clinic, the Mayo brothers help develop America's first graduate education program in clinical medicine.


Boston Medical Library Classification

  • 1918 - In world news, World War I armistice signed.
  • 1918 - Colonial Hospital Training School for Nurses admitted its first students.
  • 1920 - Violet Vistadt hired as Plummer Library reference librarian; she serves in this capacity for 46 years.
  • 1921 - Colonial Hospital Training School for Nurses changed names to Kahler Hospitals' School of Nursing when it became a 36-month diploma program for professional nursing. A very small library was established in a 12' room in the freshman dormitory.
  • 1922 - Library bookplate designed by Ella Jack of the Art Department.
  • 1922 - A nursing library and reading room at Saint Marys Hospital opens in the surgical pavilion (Joseph Building).
  • 1925 - Library books reclassified to the Boston Medical Library Classification.
  • 1926 - Circulation of library items begins; previously, only on-site use had been permitted.


Plummer Library, Mayo Hall, 1937

Plummer Library, Mayo Hall, 1937

  • 1928 - Library moves to the 12th floor of the recently completed Plummer Building.
  • 1929 - In world news, U.S. stock market crashes.
  • 1930 - In world news, Laboratory of Hygiene reorganized into the National Institutes of Health.
  • 1933 - Death of founding librarian Maud Mellish Wilson; Plummer Doors and the Clinic close during her funeral.
  • 1933 - From MLA history, Marcia C. Noyes is the first woman and non-physician elected President of MLA.
  • 1934 - Mayo Clinic Collection established: books, reprints, papers written by Mayo Clinic staff.
  • 1935 - Dr. William J. Mayo presents books from his father, Dr. William W. Mayo, to the medical library.
  • 1936 - Medical Library Association (MLA) meets in Rochester for its annual meeting.
  • 1937 - Browsing collection room for non-medical books opened.
  • 1937 - In world news, National Cancer Institute established.


Treasure room circa 1941

Bedside book service

Philosophical Transactions

Projected book system

  • 1939 - In world news, World War II begins.
  • 1939 - Foreign journals become difficult to acquire due to the war.
  • 1939 - At the clinic, Dr. Charles H. Mayo dies May 26.
  • 1939 - At the clinic, Dr. William J. Mayo dies July 28.
  • 1940 - The Kahler Hospitals' School of Nursing 'library' was moved to a partitioned-off room in back of the Damon Hotel Classroom.
  • 1941 - In world news, Pearl Harbor attacked.
  • 1941 - Treasure Room for rare history of medicine materials completed.
  • 1941 - Books on military medicine added; the collection is used heavily by Army and Navy officers in Rochester on special assignment.
  • 1941 - Due to increased utilization of the library, a public address system to page physicians installed.
  • 1941 - Due to World War II, 223 journals discontinued.
  • 1941 - Books and journals contributed by Mayo to overseas - China, International Red Cross, and demolished British libraries.
  • 1944 - Funds designated for postwar purchase of journals to fill gaps.
  • 1944 - A part-time librarian position was created for the Kahler Hospitals' School of Nursing.
  • 1945 - In world news, World War II ends.
  • 1945 - European journal agent furnished most of the war journal issues to complete runs.
  • 1945 - Sunday service hours for the library added.
  • 1946 - Hospital library service for patients reorganized under Mayo Medical Library administration. Provides bedside service.
  • 1946 - New library staff hired to keep up with increased workload.
  • 1947 - A classic set from 1665, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, purchased.
  • 1947 - Additional shelving installed on the 13th floor of the Plummer Building as well as the old Whiting Press Building for stack overflow.
  • 1947 - McBee Keysort system implemented.
  • 1947 - The projected book system implemented for visually impaired hospitalized patients.


Dr. Henry Plummer

Plummer Building, Carillon Tower

  • 1948 - Linguaphone language self-study courses purchased so patrons can learn French, German, and Spanish.
  • 1948 - From MLA history, first training programming for medical librarianship was offered at Columbia University.
  • 1949 - Instructional film entitled "The Mayo Clinic Library: An Introduction to Its Use" created.
  • 1950 - At the clinic, Dr. Edward Kendall and Dr. Philip Hench share the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the isolation and first clinical use of cortisone.
  • 1950 - In world news, the Korean War begins. It would last until 1953.
  • 1954 - Mrs. Henry (Daisy) Plummer works with Library staff to select books from Dr. Henry Plummer's collection to be donated to the library upon her death.
  • 1954 - Kahler Hospitals' School of Nursing was renamed the Methodist-Kahler School of Nursing when Rochester Methodist Hospital was established as a not-for-profit entity.
  • 1956 - In world news, National Library of Medicine established.
  • 1956 - The Library expands to fill the 11th through 16th floors of the Plummer Building, increasing floor space to 30,000 square feet.
  • 1956 - Smoking now permitted in the Browsing Room.
  • 1956 - Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Saint Marys School of Nursing; library materials and services provided to student nurses since 1906.
  • 1956 – The first full-time librarian was hired for the for the Methodist-Kahler School of Nursing. The library continued to grow and was moved several times as the number of students increased and the institution evolved.
  • 1957 - Mayo Medical Library celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
  • 1957 - In world news, Soviet Sputnik satellite launched.


Library committee chooses a photocopier

"Birds of North America"

History of Medicine Library exhibit

  • 1958 - Medical Library Association meets in Rochester for its annual convention. First formal continuing education courses offered. Thomas E. Keys, Mayo library director, served as MLA president.
  • 1958 - At the clinic, Sister Mary Brigh Cassidy, administrator of Saint Marys Hospital, presents "Medical History in Minnesota" at the MLA meeting.
  • 1958 - Library volunteer program established for the Saint Marys Hospital Patients' Library.
  • 1958 - In world news, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) established.
  • 1959 - President Eisenhower appoints Mayo Clinic Librarian Thomas E. Keys to the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine.
  • 1961 - Library literature research program established - librarians begin using appropriate indexes to locate topical information for the medical staff.
  • 1961 - Delivery of medical books and journals to medical staff offices implemented.
  • 1962 - Library acquires its first photocopier, a Xerox 914.
  • 1963 - In world news, President John F. Kennedy assassinated.
  • 1963 - Dr. Henry Plummer's collection of Audubon's "Birds of North America" and "Indians of North America" given to the library by Mrs. Daisy Plummer.
  • 1964 - In world news, United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 signed into law.
  • 1964 - At the clinic, Mayo Clinic History of Medicine Society formed with Thomas E. Keys as the first president.
  • 1964 - Library establishes History of Medicine department.
  • 1964 - Mayo Clinic Author Catalog computerized, indexing more than 50,000 citations to Mayo authored works.
  • 1964 - From NLM history, MEDLARS was implemented by the National Library of Medicine with the first automated printing of Index Medicus.
  • 1965 - In the world, the Vietnam War begins.
  • 1966 - History of Medicine collection moves permanently to the 15th floor of the Plummer Building and becomes the Mayo Clinic History of Medicine Library.
  • 1967 - The nursing library at Saint Marys Hospital moves to the newly completed Alfred Unit.


Residents' books - chained collection

TWX machine used for MEDLINE

  • 1968 - In world news, Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated.
  • 1968 - In world news, Robert F. Kennedy assassinated.
  • 1968 - Book collection reclassified from Boston Medical Library Classification to Library of Congress; this took three years.
  • 1969 - In world news, Apollo lunar landing successful.
  • 1970 - A branch collection of core medical texts and journals provided at Saint Marys Hospital for hospital-based residents.
  • 1970 - Methodist-Kahler School of Nursing closed in May. It had issued 3,872 diplomas to graduating nurses since its founding in 1918. The Methodist-Kahler Library continued to serve the needs of staff and students at Rochester Methodist Hospital.
  • 1971 - From NLM history, MEDLINE becomes operational.
  • 1972 - At the clinic, Mayo Medical School opens.
  • 1972 - The Learning Resource Center, a branch of Mayo Medical Library, is established for the newly created Mayo Medical School.
  • 1972 - Reference Department acquires computerized MEDLINE access terminal.
  • 1973 - Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, former Mayo legal counsel, uses the Mayo Clinic Library for research on Roe v. Wade.
  • 1974 - At the clinic, Mayo School of Health Sciences established.
  • 1975 - A retail medical bookstore service created for staff and student use.
  • 1975 - Mayo joins OCLC.


Library staff use IBM PC's

Reference staff teach online searching

  • 1981 - In world news, IBM personal computers marketed.
  • 1982 - Library celebrates 75th Anniversary.
  • 1984 - Copy center equipment upgraded and procedures modified to include two-sided copying.
  • 1984 - Reference Department writes successful grant for an IBM PC to examine end user education and alternative information transfer techniques in relation to online searching.
  • 1985 - Video collection started at Rochester Methodist Hospital Patients' Library.
  • 1985 - Library committee studies automation systems. Formally proposes installation of OCLC integrated library system LS-2000, starting with SC350 serials module.
  • 1985 - Learning Resource Center purchases three microcomputers with software: database searching, word processing, and computer-based training.
  • 1986 - At the clinic, Mayo Clinic, Rochester Methodist Hospital, and Saint Marys Hospital formally integrated. A Sponsorship Agreement developed jointly by Mayo Foundation, Saint Marys Hospital and the Rochester Franciscans creates the Saint Marys Hospital Sponsorship Board.
  • 1986 - At the clinic, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville opens.
  • 1987 - At the clinic, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale opens.


St. Marys Patients' Library

17th century image by Bernardino Genga

St. Marys Staff Library

Mayo Hall - Plummer Building - Central Service Desk

  • 1989 - Rochester Methodist Hospital Patients' Library begins circulating CD players to patients.
  • 1989 - The Sister Joseph Patients and Visitor Library dedicated in Francis 7 Tower at Saint Marys Hospital.
  • 1990 - Residents medical collection and the materials of the staff library at Saint Marys Hospital are integrated and relocated to a new facility in Marian Hall.
  • 1990 - The patient and employee libraries of Rochester Methodist Hospital and Saint Marys Hospital formally join the Mayo Clinic Library on Nov. 1 to form the Section of Mayo Medical Center Libraries.
  • 1990 - In world news, Tim Berners-Lee develops World Wide Web.
  • 1992 - At the clinic, Mayo Health System formed.
  • 1992 - Access of Mayo Medical Library services extended to Mayo regional programs.
  • 1994 - J. Michael Homan appointed Mayo Clinic library director.
  • 1994 - Ovid databases and Micromedex drug information system are implemented. Formal training program for Ovid launched.
  • 1994 - Systemwide Library Advisory Committee created.
  • 1994 - Collection Development Committee formed to address current policies in both print and electronic environments.
  • 1995 - Internet access offered to patrons of the Patients' Libraries.
  • 1995 - History of Medicine Library receives a notable gift of 130 rare anatomical texts from the 16th to 18th centuries from former Mayo surgical fellow Dr. Anthony Kelly.
  • 1995 - Department book and journal acquisitions are transferred to central Purchasing.
  • 1995 - Library Web Task Force appointed and work initiated on the Mayo Clinic Libraries home page.
  • 1995 - Innovative Interfaces, Inc. selected as the Library Management System.
  • 1995 - Mayo Clinic Libraries selected as one of the top 10 "Excellence through Teamwork" groups in the medical center for the implementation of Ovid on a network-wide basis.
  • 1995 - Library Education Committee established to coordinate educational activities.
  • 1996 - Library Web site instituted. Serves as an electronic library hub for services, electronic journals, and Internet-based databases.
  • 1996 - At the clinic, Mayo School of Continuing Medical Education formally established.
  • 1996 - Major renovations in Plummer Library and Learning Resource Center: Medical Bookstore relocated, Public Service area redesigned, reconfiguration of Technical Services space, Learning Resource Center circulation reconfigured, Medical School Bookstore permanently closed.
  • 1997 - 90th Anniversary of Mayo Clinic Libraries celebrated with a reception.
  • 1997 - From NLM history, free web access to MEDLINE via PubMed and Internet Grateful Med.


  • 1998 - Audiovisual materials and searchable book table of contents added to the library catalog. With the inclusion of this information, the library management system reaches approximately 330,000 total volumes encompassing Mayo Clinic's sites in Rochester, Jacksonville, and Arizona.
  • 1998 - The libraries complete first Sponsorship Values Review for the Saint Marys Hospital Sponsorship Board.
  • 1998 - From MLA history, Medical Library Association celebrates 100th anniversary.
  • 2000 - Library Management Council and Library Technology Committee established.
  • 2000 - Library Director J. Michael Homan inaugurated as president of the Medical Library Association.
  • 2000 - Editorial team is created to plan and publish a quarterly online newsletter.
  • 2001 - In world news, terrorists attack the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
  • 2001 - Quarterly Newsletter of the Mayo Clinic Libraries launched.
  • 2002 - Mayo Clinic Libraries Web Usability Task Force conducts a comprehensive study of the library Web site and presents a final report with recommendations for improvement.
  • 2002 - Innovative Interfaces, Inc. Millennium software implemented with extensive orientation and training.
  • 2002 - At the clinic, Mayo Clinic Arizona launches Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, Research, Informatics, and Training Center (MERIT Center).
  • 2003 - At the clinic, Mayo and University of Minnesota form Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Genomics.
  • 2003 - Library Director J. Michael Homan elected president of Association of Academic Health Science Libraries (AAHSL).
  • 2003 - A systemwide online survey implemented; focused on the quality of library services, systems, facilities, and staff is designed, administered and analyzed.
  • 2003 - An updated, jointly managed, and consolidated Web site implemented for all Mayo clinic Libraries based on the Usability Study findings.
  • 2003 - Mayo Authors/Ovid complete redesign accomplished, including full-text links.
  • 2003 - New resources added to database collection: UpToDate, Facts and Comparisons, and SFX. Electronic document delivery of library materials implemented.
  • 2003 - Link resolver (SFX) and electronic document delivery of library materials implemented.
  • 2003 - At the clinic, Education Technology Center implemented.
  • 2004 - Internal marketing survey lists Mayo Clinic Libraries as key intranet resource for physicians, scientists and students.
  • 2004 - Library services featured in two internal publications: Mayo Today and Mayo Magazine.
  • 2004 - Mayo Historical Archives integrated into Mayo Clinic Libraries.
  • 2004 - First volumes sent to the Minnesota Library Access Center (MLAC) for permanent storage. MLAC now holds approximately 100,000 book and serial volumes from Mayo Clinic.
  • 2005 - At the clinic, the Mayo Multidisciplinary Simulation Center opens.
  • 2005 - New electronic document delivery software, Celsus, designed and implemented.
  • 2005 - A voluntary career progression program called Career Ladders for library associates implemented.
  • 2005 - Mayo libraries collaborate with Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing on Resources for Nurses and Nurse Researchers.
  • 2006 - Minnesota Go Local project with links to the National Library of Medicine's MedLine Plus system initiated with the University of Minnesota Health Science Libraries and other partners.
  • 2006 - The Core Public Health Journal Project receives the 2006 Louise Darling Medal for the Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development at the MLA meeting. Mayo represented on this team.
  • 2007 - February 2, 2007 -- Formal reception honoring current and emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic Libraries on occasion of library centennial.
  • 2007 - New medical library opens at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.
  • 2007 - Plummer Library is renovated to include group study rooms and a cybercafé.
  • 2007 - Mayo Clinic Libraries celebrates its centennial with a two-day symposium on October 2-3, 2007 in Rochester.


  • 2008 - Venables Health Sciences Library renovated with the addition of new computers, new carpet, and new art work.
  • 2008 - Learning Resource Center renovated as part of the Mitchell Student Center remodel project
  • 2009 - The collection and staff of the Colonial Library (formerly known as Methodist-Kahler Library) transferred to the Plummer Library and renamed "Colonial Library Services."
  • 2009 - Exhibit of the Kahler/Methodist Kahler Nursing Library and artifacts placed on permanent display in the History of Medicine Library.
  • 2009 - Quarterly Newsletter of the Mayo Clinic Libraries published from 2001-2008 was succeeded by Liblog: Quarterly Newsletter of the Mayo Clinic Libraries beginning with Issue 30
  • 2010 - Mayo Authors Database was redesigned with the assistance of the Mayo Usability Lab and migrated to a Mayo Clinic server on the Mayo intranet.
  • 2010 - Mayo Clinic with the assistance of the Mayo Historical Unit and Mayo Clinic Libraries hosted the joint annual meetings of the American Osler Society, American Association for the History of Medicine and several other groups in Rochester.
  • 2011 - A new online Current Awareness system was implemented with enterprise access. The new system provides table of contents e-alerts with links to full-text.
  • 2011 - The newly named Saint Marys Hospital Library and Knowledge Services celebrates the completion of a major renovation with a library blessing, a dessert reception and open house events.
  • 2011 - Mayo Clinic is ranked nationally by the Special Libraries Association for its high rate of librarian-authored substantive research and professional practice publications in leading library science journals (2000-2010).
  • ART936619