Last week I visited Plymouth’s Discovery library, one of the biggest NHS libraries in the region. Although they have twice the number of staff and more than four times the amount of physical space, we share many of the same functions. I saw students and staff reading journals, researching and completing e-learning. Something unique to Plymouth, though, is their historic collection. The library houses the Plymouth Medical Society Historic Collection, which contains Hunter’s handwritten notes and a book containing, what they believe to be, the first ever use of the word “vaccination.”
In addition, they also support the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit, which provides medical care to British research stations and ships in the Antarctic. On our visit a librarian regaled us with stories of long-distance calls and Antarctic literature reviews. How interesting!