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Health sciences library celebrates 80 years on 12th Street

October 24, 2012

Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences will mark 80 years at 509 North 12th Street at a drop-in birthday party Tuesday, Oct. 30, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. (Note the change in date due to VCU's closure on Oct. 29.) Members of the university community are invited to come for a slice of cake and to tour the 2012 renovations of the basement and second floors and see just how well the gracious Georgian-style building has held up over the years.

Eighty years ago in September, 1932, students entered the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences for the first time. Simply called the "college library" when the building opened, the facility featured a large reading room with windows on three sides (the current Special Collections and Archives Reading Room, shown here), stacks with steel shelving and study cubicles, some of which are in use today, and five seminar rooms, used today for group study. The interior of the original building included a skylight and walls painted in a shade of gray-green popular with designers at that time. 

Today's Tompkins-McCaw is one of the top medical libraries in the nation. It has the largest medical collection in the state and on the East Coast, it trails only Harvard and Yale for the depth and breadth of its collection, which includes extensive journal collections dating to the 19th century. Its recently opened second-floor classroom space is one of the smartest classrooms on the MCV or Monroe park campuses. It features technology for sharing work in small groups and with an instructor or presenter-led session and seats 44, each with individual screens and computer access. 

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