From locked cupboard to University Library: libraries for nurses in the UK after 1955
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 12:50 authored by Maurice Wakeham
This paper presents an outline of the history of library provision for nurses in the second half of the twentieth century. The few libraries for nurses that existed in the fifties were usually attached to Schools of Nursing and often run by volunteers, clerical assistants or nurse tutors. In an organisation where the emphasis was on training and skills development rather than education and reflection and the prime aim was maintaining a health service with limited resources, provision of books and journals for theoretical learning had a low priority. In turn nurses gained a reputation as people who did not read. In order to respond to problems of staff morale, recruitment and retention, in the last decade of the century attempts were made to make nursing more attractive by giving pre-registration learners student status, encouraging a research-based approach to learning and absorbing it into higher education. However many of the problems facing libraries would not be quickly resolved. An attempt will be made to explain library provision for nurses with reference to the generation of knowledge in nursing and its relationship to library based knowledge. This will touch on the role and status of the nurse, the nature of her work and training, the ideological foundations of the nursing profession and the impact that these have on the provision of library services.
Publication titleLibrary History
PublisherLibrary History Group of the Library Association
- Published version