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Side Trip to Libraryland: A Medical Library in Science Fiction

December 11, 2010

I’m reading Isaac Asimov’s “Robot Dreams,” and found this decription of a medical library in the short story, “Hostess.” The copyright date for the piece is 1951. In the relevant excerpt below, our protagonist, Rose, is doing a bit of surreptitious research. Certain aspects will be familiar to librarians now:

The New York Academy of Medicine had been enlarged both vertically and horizontally in the past two decades. The library alone occupied one entire wing of the third floor. Undoubtedly, if all the books, pamphlets and periodicals it contained were in their original printed form, rather than in microfilm, the entire building, huge though it was, would not have been sufficient to hold them. As it was, Rose knew there was already talk of limiting printed works to the last five years, rather than to the last ten, as was now the case.

Rose, as a member of the Academy, had free entry to the library. She hurried toward the alcoves devoted to extraterrestrial medicine and was relieved to find them unoccupied.

It might have been wiser to have enlisted the aid of a librarian, but she chose not to. The thinner and smaller the trail she left, the less likely it was that Drake might pick it up.

Our print volumes go back 35 years, but we’d never tell your creepy husband what you were looking up.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2011 4:36 am

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