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Letters: Important investment

October 15, 2012

The Sept. 17 ADA News arrived with a lengthy letter regarding the closing of the ADA Library. I would have gladly added my name to those of my esteemed colleagues from here in Chicago and around the U.S. I have used the Library personally for research (domestic violence/child abuse) for many years. In the last two years I have contributed three chapters in two medical texts, edited and contributed to an online training program for dentists, and was the primary author of that chapter in the 5th edition of the Manual of Forensic Odontology, which will be published by CRC Press this winter.

As a nonacademic pediatric and forensic dentist (only such dual boarded), the resources of the Library have been critical to the lectures I have presented worldwide and more importantly, to the literature to which I have had the good fortune to contribute. The resources of the Northwestern and Loyola dental school libraries are no longer readily available. Likewise, the University of Illinois at Chicago library is not easily available as I am not an Illinois grad.

Yes, only a small percentage of the membership takes advantage of the Library, but it is there when it is needed, and in-depth. The clipping service of articles has made my recent research a one-day affair each time. The Library is also a repository for many important historic texts in the field of forensic dentistry. Would that centralized resource be scattered?

As an ADA member I have dutifully paid my dues since American Student Dental Association membership in 1973, so nearly 40 years. Over that time beginning with my master’s research on orofacial injuries in child abuse, the Library has been an important resource personally. I would hate to see it be downsized or closed. Yes, much is available on the Internet today, but having the complete resources of a professionally run library are an important investment.

I can only ask that the trustees take the importance of such a resource to heart when they vote on the budget at the Annual Session.

John P. Kenney, D.D.S.
Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry &
American Board of
Forensic Odontology
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry &
American Academy of
Forensic Sciences
Park Ridge, Ill.