THE MEDICAL LIBRARY.
It was always designed to establish a Medical Library in the Newcastle Infirmary,
and the late Dr. Clarke made several unsuccessful efforts to carry the plan into execution. He, however, presented several valuable works to that hospital, and which
tended to prevent his suggestions from being forgotten. At length, a better spirit
prevailed; and, at a meeting of the medical officers of the Infirmary, called on October 4, 1819, to consider the propriety of establishing a library in that hospital, it was
resolved to be "highly expedient to establish such an institution, both with the view
of affording facilities for study to the profession at large, and for fixing for the reception of presents and bequests an eligible and permanent depot."
Any person may become a subscriber to this library, on paying an annual subscription of one guinea, unless he be a student, when he is required to pay only half-aguinea. Any subscriber may recommend a book. The books are kept in the physicians' room, which is open from 2 to 4 o'clock every day, Sunday and Thursday
excepted. The property is invested in the medical officers of the Infirmary for the
time being. A committee, treasurer, librarian, and secretary, are chosen on the Monday preceding the first Thursday in October. The committee to consist of one physician, one surgeon, and the librarian, who meet, or are consulted, on the 24th of
every month, concerning the books recommended by the subscribers.
The medical officers of the Infirmary having reduced the fee they were accustomed
to receive with students from 18 to 5 guineas, agreed that even this sum should be
appropriated to the purchase of books for this library. Yet, notwithstanding so very
liberal an example, most of the other gentlemen of the faculty in the town decline
subscribing to this useful institution. They think that the committee should be
chosen from amongst the whole body of subscribers; but, on the contrary, the medical officers allege, that the library is a constituent part of the General Infirmary, that
it is kept in the physicians' room with the leave of the quarterly court, and that the
property is invested in them only so long as they continue medical officers of the
Infirmary; from which it follows, that gentlemen not holding office in this hospital
cannot be admitted to share in the government of the library. Much of the success
of this establishment is owing to the exertions of Mr. Church, the house surgeon.
A catalogue of the books was published in 1823. The library at present contains
upwards of 940 volumes, 130 of which were presented by Mr. Charnley. Many valuable works have been presented by the late C. J. Brandling, Esq. M. P. Drs. Headlam, Bulman, and Ramsay, and Messrs. Moore, Baird, Smiles, M'Intire, Church, &c.;
and several were bequeathed by Mr. R. Ferguson.