Museum of History of Belarusian Medicine
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ГУ "Республиканская научная медицинская библиотека"


State Institution "Republican Scientific Medical Library" – 75 years

The history of State Institution "Republican Scientific Medical Library" Republican Scientific Medical Library (RSML) holds a specific place in information and library supporting of scientists and specialists of scientific and research and health care institutions, educational institutions and other organizations of Healthcare of the Republic of Belarus.

The history of its creation is nearly concerned to the development of librarianship, medical education and science in Belarus.

In 1939 on 29th of May the People's Commissariat of Healthcare of the USSR published an order, in which the People's Commissariats of Healthcare of the Union Republics were asked to develop a plan of medical library network establishing and to provide the establishment of it in each field of main library at the Regional Healthcare Department by the end of 1940.

In 1940 an individual budget and staff were approved for Scientific Medical Library of the BSSR. I.B. Simanovskiy, an outstanding library scientist and institutor of librarianship in our country was appointed to the position of the Director of State Scientific Medical Library at Minsk Medical Institute by the order No.98 dated 10.03.1940 of F.Ya Shults, the director of Minsk Medical Institute. That day should be considered as a day of RSML establishment. Only for the first year of activity the library collection contained 15,000 exemplars.

In 1941 library activity was interrupted by the Great Patriotic War. The book collection was almost destroyed during the occupation. And only in 1944 Republican Scientific Medical Library was reactivated by a special resolution of the Council of the People’s Commissars of the BSSR No. 426. S.F. Sergeeva headed the library.

An important thing in the restoration of the library was its authorization for function of a scientific-methodological and organizational center for all medical libraries in the country. An important thing in the restoration of the library was its authorization for function of a scientific-methodological and organizational center for all medical libraries in the country. In April 1945 the People's Commissariat of Healthcare of the BSSR ordered to organize a regional library at each Regional Healthcare Department, because of the complete destruction of medical libraries in regions.

Since 1954 organizationaly the library became an independent institution and it was located in the building of Minsk Regional Clinical Hospital in Podlesnaya str. (isolated area of the library - 230 square meters). M.L. Zhuk was appointed to the position of the Director of State Scientific Medical Library at Minsk Medical Institute by the order of the Ministry of Health No. 488 dated 20.08.1954.

Since 1975 the library has become an industry depository of republican value, and one year later it had “a house-warming” in a building, which was built specially for it at 28, Fabritsius str. It was an undoubted merit of Director L.N. Pogrebnaya, who headed RSML from 1968 till 1982. Under her leadership the process of active reforming of many areas of activity started. RSML began to receive a copyright deposit of medical literature, to access all the medical journals published in the Soviet Union, as well as the most important foreign periodicals. The library actively worked to improve reference aids, as well as forms and methods of library services for research workers, clinicians, postgraduates, paramedical personnel.

The period of formation of RSML as the head establishing center of a national medical bibliography, active scientific researches, improving of service for readers was in 1960-1980-ss.

From 1990-s the library began the process of active implementation of modern computer technologies. The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus approved the "Automation Project of the Republican Scientific Medical Library", providing for automation of all library and information processes in the network mode, providing users with on-line access to the library catalog and free access to the Internet based on modern telecommunications facility. E.F. Gorelova, who headed the library from 1982 till 2001, made an unavailable contribution to solving the problems of automation.

Since January 1995 the library became WHO Documentation Centre on the territory of the Republic of Belarus by the decision of the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Today RSML transforming into a modern information center in the truest sense of the word takes on a new face. With the help of financial support from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus major repairs of the building of the library are carried out, modern library furniture and equipment are acquired. A functional structure of the library is reorganized: a single point of checkout of documents, regardless of the location is organized, a public access room, which contains the most valuable and relevant publications is opened. Since 2003 RSML is headed by V.N. Soroko.

Annually the library serves about 20.000 readers. The library collection has about 900.000 exemplars of publications in medicine and related fields of knowledge, including documents in electronic format.

Here operates a local computer network in the library, consisting of 7 servers and 75 workstations, 10 of which are intended for users’ work with information resources of the library. Access to the documents from the library collection, which were entered in 1990, is implemented through an electronic catalog, providing multi-faceted search of information with an opportunity of automatic order of documents. For the establishment and operation of the electronic catalog, automation of formation processes of information resources, management and integrity of them is applied Automated Library Information System "SAB-IRBIS". Electronic catalog is available on the Internet at the library website

RSML actively assists in the development and improvement of the providing system of organizations and specialists by scientific medical information through the implementation, support and development of remote access technologies. To this end, the library implements a scientific project "Operation and development of medical science information computer network, support and development of medical information servers, development and formation of new medical information resources" (MedNIKS). As a part of this activity there are maintained and developed web sites which represent a single scientific medical information portal MED.BY. In order to assure scientific and practical activity of the department RSML annually prepares and publishes a collected book of methodical documents "Modern methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases" for a current year in 7 volumes and a database, which is distributed on CD-ROM and it is provided for free access on, as well as peer-reviewed collection of research materials and full-text scientific database "Advances in medical science in Belarus" information-reference catalog "Healthcare of Belarus."

One of the fields of activity of the library is extrabudgetary activity. In accordance with the current legislation of the Republic of Belarus and the Charter of the library extrabudgetary funding sources are: provision of paid library and information services to users, publishing and printing services, research and information work under contracts, sponsorships, as well as renting premises. An income from the extrabudgetary activity is approximately 1/3 of the budget of the library.

The presence of editorial and publishing as well as printing licenses in the library and its own printing facilities allow providing the following services: printing of scientific, reference and advertising publications; literary, artistic editing and design publications; providing of presentation products, electronic databases on CD-ROM.

Since 2005 RSML is a member of a consortium of medical libraries of Russia and Belarus in the implementation of projects "Central Catalogue of Periodicals and Analytics in Medicine" and "Medical authoritarian file "Health workers of Russia"(a component part - "Health workers of Belarus").

In 2006 by the order of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus No. 640 dated 31.10.2005 Medical History Museum of Belarus entered into the structure of the library.

RSML is a methodical and coordinating center of 138 medical and hospital libraries of the republic, including 96 libraries of medical institutions, 23 libraries of medical universities and colleges, and 11 libraries of NSPC and 8 libraries of sanatorium resort facilities.

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