Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.
The Republican Scientific Medical Library (RSML) of National Institutes of Health is one of the leading libraries, as well as a bibliographic/information services center in Armenia.
The Library was founded in 1939, with the intent to acquire, organize and preserve biomedical literature, as well as provide necessary access to multiple resources and services to the medical professionals via traditional and contemporary methods.
Since its inception, more than 80 decades ago, the Library has built one of the best biomedical information resources collection in Armenia, currently boasting more than half a million items. The collection includes print and electronic literature, text books, monographs, serials, thesis, audiovisual materials plus microfiche.
RSML played an important role during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) by providing helpful information to doctors of the evacuation of hospitals located in the Republic.
In 1946, as a result of the flood in Yerevan most of the collection of the library was destroyed. At the time, with the remaining small collection, it was merged with the Library of the Medical Institute but in 1949, was separated and started its own journey again.
In addition to its main mission, since 1951, RSML has coordinated medical library activities in Armenia, by making necessary information available through Network of Medical Libraries (NML). NML was comprised of libraries of medical institutes of higher education, newly formed research institutes and hospitals.
After the devastating earthquake in 1988, the activities of the Library changed dramatically. As part of the humanitarian aid program, in collaboration with FAR (Fund for Armenian Relief), the RSML collection was replenished with some of the best American books and journals. The first set of computers were obtained to be used with Medline laserdiscs, which radically changed the quality of information retrieval and delivery process. Moving forward, in the 90’s, computer and telecommunication technologies were introduced and implemented and computer classes were organized for librarians and health care professionals. Along with other larger library institutions, RSML took part in the activities and events of the Armenian Library Association.
In the history of RSML, one of the major changes occurred in 2003, when the Library lost its space at Toumanyan 8 Street. As a result, it was decided by the Government to transfer RSML to the National Academy of Sciences and relocate the entire collection in the current building at Roubinyantc 29 address, which at the time was a neglected and unattractive facility. Since then, many improvements have been made in spite of the unsuitable conditions of the building, to provide services and contribute to the development of medical education and science.
RSML has overcome many hurdles along the way and despite all difficulties the library today carries out diverse and extensive activities, as a result of which it has received wide recognition in the country.
In 2005, RSML was nominated and won the “VOCATION” national award in the field of “Non-medical organizations that contribute to the development of medical science”. The award was a testament to the achievements and accomplishments of the library and set high standards of expectation for future endeavors.
In recent years, the garden in front of the library has been landscaped to become a modern, ecologically clean, green space, (which is also called “Green Library”), an open air “reading room” with internet access where through WIFI, users can access biomedical e-books and journals. In addition, the garden serves as a venue for various events such as meetings, professional discussions, lectures and presentation of new books.
In 2021, RSML was declared the winner in the “BEST PROFESSIONAL LIBRARY” category nomination of the “Best Library” competition organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture of RA and the Armenian Library Association. One more accolade confirming the extra ordinary achievements at the same time raising the bar for future expectations.
Libraries of the future face many challenges. We believe that RSML, as a large center of biomedical information, will always maintain its place, and its role in the healthcare system of our country and it will guide the users in the endless world of knowledge.