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Association clarifies status of ADA Library

August 30, 2012

In response to recent discussions on the ADA Library, the ADA issued the following statement:

The American Dental Association Library will continue to be a leading resource for oral health information. The ADA Library at its Headquarters in Chicago is available to ADA members as well as ADA staff and others in the dental and health professions.

Services available through the ADA Library will essentially remain the same through the end of 2012. This includes: sending journal articles either in PDF format or in print as well as use of the archived materials. Library staff will still be available to respond to a variety of inquiries by phone and email.

Should the House of Delegates approve the ADA’s proposed 2013 budget at its meeting in October, there would be some changes to the library that will take place over stages in 2013. Library services would be narrowed in scope in 2013 to those services that are most used and most impactful. Last year, less than one percent of members used the library’s services.

We are still determining the manner in which core services will be offered. As the method of research and library use continues to evolve, so too must the ADA in order to provide relevant services to ADA members and profession.

There is a growing trend from medical and other associations for online catalogs in place of hard copy materials. In fact, the Northwestern Medical School is currently in the process of transferring materials to an offsite location. Other associations offer library use only for its employees, such as the American Medical Association.

The ADA is determining what digital services we may be able to offer or enhance to meet growing technological preferences while serving a greater geographic region of our members. Last year the House of Delegates added a budget line item for the Cochrane Library as a separate budget item from the library.

Under this proposal, walk in services, including library loans of materials, would be discontinued. The ADA administration will explore potential partnerships with regional medical libraries that may be willing to house some the ADA’s book collection.

There are currently no plans for repurposing the library space within the ADA building.

The Board considered the cost and the value of all ADA programs as part of the budget process and ranked programs in terms of alignment with the ADA Strategic Plan in order to best allocate financial resources. After a thorough assessment and ranking of all programs of the ADA, some aspects of library use were determined to be of lower wide-spread usage and the Board agreed it was prudent to sunset those in 2013.

A final decision will be made by the ADA’s House of Delegates in October. No decision is final until this meeting.

The ADA Library staff has always received high praise for their wonderful service to the members, staff and the public, and this will continue. While the method of service delivery will change, access to leading oral health information will remain.