Guidelines for Libraries Serving Dental Education Programs
The Standards Committee of the Dental Section of the Medical Library Association prepared the Guidelines for Libraries Serving Dental Education Programs as a reference document. The Guidelines are designed to assist librarians and their institutions in completing the Commission on Dental Accreditation self-study report in the following four programs:
In preparing this document, the Standards Committee used selected guidelines developed for medical and dental school, college, and university libraries (1, 6, 7). The committee relied primarily on the standards approved by the Association of College and Research Libraries Board of Directors in 1986 (7). Since the majority of the dental libraries are located in academic institutions, the committee selectively included the guidelines applicable to libraries serving dental education, advanced dental education, and dental residency programs.
Throughout this document the verbs "must or shall, should, and may or could" are used according to the definitions given in the Accreditation Standards for Dental Education Programs, as approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (9):
Definition of Terms
1.1 The term library as used in this document, whether functioning administratively as a separate dental library or as a combined library, is defined as a legally established operation of the parent institution. The library should be a designated area of rooms or building(s) within the institution; and its mission, activities, and mode of operations shall be recognized in the official written documentation of the institution.
1.2 In order for a library to meet the minimum standards for accreditation in dental education and advanced dental education, specialty programs and/or hospital residency programs, it must have a defined dental collection which must be established as either (i) the principal collection of a separate health sciences or dental library, or (ii) as a part of an integrated collection of a combined health sciences library or other library.
1.3 The separate dental library or combined health sciences library housing the dental collection and which directly supports the dental education programs shall develop a written statement of its objectives in accord with the goals and purposes of the parent institution.
1.4 The development of library objectives shall be the responsibility of the library staff, in consultation with faculty, students, and administrative officers.
1.5 The statement of library objectives shall be reviewed periodically by the library staff and shall be revised as necessary.
2.1 The term learning resources as used in this document is defined as those material resources which (i) directly support the mission of the library and the institution, and (ii) may be housed in the library or outside the library in a separate designated facility.
2.2 The learning resources department's relationship to the library and its responsibility to the dental education programs of the institution shall be articulated in written documentation of the library and institution.
2.3 Learning resources, whether housed in a designated area of the library or in a separate facility in the institution, may include computer hardware or media equipment, machine readable data forms, audiovisual media, and other technological hardware and media used in teaching or learning as well as for information management, storage, and transfer.
2.4 Learning resources, whether as a part of the library or separate from the library, should be administered by qualified professional staff (either a librarian or media and/or computer specialist) with the appropriate training and/or education.
3.1 The general terms collection or dental collections, as used in this document, shall refer to that informational material, in whatever format, covering all aspects of the science and profession of dentistry which is housed in a library, whether as the principal collection or as part of an integrated health sciences collection.
3.2 The scope of the collection shall include dental information for conducting academic course work at the predoctoral and postdoctoral level, for research and development, and for patient care. Access to other biomedical and scientific information in the basic, social and behavioral sciences must also be provided. These collections should be housed in a library or libraries located in either the parent institution or in an affiliated educational institution such as a university or teaching hospital.
3.3 The library's collection should be comprised of all types of recorded Information, including print materials in all formats, audiovisual materials, machine-readable materials utilizing new technology such as executable programs or CD-ROM disc, and data on computer software, CD-ROM, or videodiscs.
3.31 The dental book collection shall include a selection of key textbooks and monographs published within the last ten years in the English language and cover all the subject areas of dentistry; tertiary works relating to oral health and dentistry; proceedings of conferences, workshops, symposia, and other meetings; reference works such as indexes and bibliographies; and dental theses and dissertations from the parent institution. The library should also maintain a historical collection of dental books and other material which support the institution's educational, research, and clinical studies.
3.32 The periodical (serial or journal) collection should be comprehensive in the subject area of dentistry published in the English language. This collection should support the teaching, research, and patient care needs of the academic program. It should include subscriptions to the periodicals published by the ADA recognized specialties. The library should also selectively maintain scholarly dental periodicals published in non-English languages. Wherever possible, the major serials should be retained as complete sets from the beginning volume number either as bound volumes or in machine readable formats.
3.33 The reference collection shall include the Index to Dental Literature in print or electronic format and other selected printed indexes, reference textbooks, dictionaries, directories, bibliographies, and handbooks. The reference collection should include online or other access, such as compact disc, to the computerized bibliographic databases of the National Library of Medicine for faculty, students, and staff. In addition, library users should have selective access to the ever growing number of informational and bibliographic databases in chemistry, biosciences, education, social sciences, psychology, business, and management.
3.34 The audiovisual materials (video and audiotapes, slides and overheads, microforms, etc.) should be adequate to support the institution's educational, clinical, and research programs.
3.35 The library should maintain and make available a collection of computer-based programs including interactive teaching/learning programs, word processing, data management, spread sheets, graphics, telecommunication, end-user bibliographic searching, and other programs based on user needs and the educational requirements of the parent institution.
4.1 The library professional staff shall be responsible for all aspects of collection development within the library, which includes the selection, acquisition, and withdrawal of library materials. These responsibilities shall be described in a written collection development policy.
4.2 The library professional staff shall conduct periodic reviews and evaluations of the library collection in order to establish short-term and long-range collection development goals and priorities, and to assist in the formulation of the library's acquisitions' budget.
4.3 All library materials shall be purchased and processed through the appropriate department(s) of the separate dental library, the combined health sciences library or the central library.
4.4 Faculty, students, and other users of the collection shall be provided with the appropriate means for recommending the acquisition and/or withdrawal of library materials.
4.5 The collection should be classified and cataloged according to a standard classification system, preferably that of the National Library of Medicine.
4.6 There shall be a card, online, or other machine readable catalog of the library's complete collection which permits easy identification and retrieval of items by author, title, subject, key word, call number, or any combination of these.
4.7 The current collections shall be easily identifiable and arranged for efficient retrieval. Materials kept in closed stacks or in offsite storage should be available upon request within a reasonable period of time. If materials are not available for any reason, other provisions, such as interlibrary loan, should be made available in order to secure the requested materials.
4.8 If the separate dental library is a branch of the university library, its holdings should be included in the printed, online, or other machine readable database catalogs of the university and health sciences libraries.
4.9 The library collection should be housed under environmental conditions which help to preserve and conserve the print and non-print materials. Special attention should be paid to proper temperature levels, humidity and dust control, and lighting levels in the library facility and storage areas which house the collection.
5.1 The library staff (professional and support) shall be of high quality and in sufficient numbers to meet the changing needs of the library's primary users, changes in the curriculum, changes in programs and services offered by the library, the rate of growth of the collection, and the rapid changes in library technology and information management.
5.2 Librarians, including the director, shall have a graduate degree from an American Library Association accredited program.
5.3 Librarians should participate in professional activities which contribute to the parent institution and the professions of librarianship and dentistry. The institution should provide adequate financial support for the professional development of the library staff.
5.4 Professional librarians in academic institutions may be members of the faculty of the parent institution with all the rights and privileges of other faculty.
5.5 The professional librarian responsible for the dental library or dental collection should have representation on the curriculum and research committees and task forces of the institution, especially those committees and task forces which have financial or other impact on the library and its programs.
5.6 The procedures for appointment, retention, and termination of the library staff, as well as the responsibilities and authority of the staff, shall be defined in writing by the institution.
5.7 The support staff (library technicians, clerks, and full- or part-time assistants) shall be assigned responsibilities appropriate to their qualifications, education, training, experience, and capabilities.
5.8 The number of librarians and support staff should be determined by the number of primary users (faculty, students, staff), the size of the dental library and its collection. The level of reference and technical services and support provided, and whether or not the library is a separate entity or part of a decentralized or centralized health sciences library.
5.81 If the library is a separate entity and supports only one dental education program, for example, a predoctoral, a postdoctoral, or an allied dental program, the staff shall consist of at least one professional full-time librarian and one or more full-time support staff to meet the public and technical service needs of the library.
5.82 If the library is a separate entity but serves many programs, including predoctoral, postdoctoral, and allied dental programs, then the full-time staff should consist of two or more professional librarians and two or more support staff.
5.83 If the library is a combined health sciences library and serves many programs, then at least one full-time professional librarian shall be responsible for collection development for the dental program(s), user services, and dental instructional programs. There shall be liaison with the dental school faculty.
5.9 Library policies and procedures concerning library staff shall be in accord with institutional guidelines and sound personnel management.
6.1 The library shall establish and maintain a range and quality of services to support the institution's teaching, research, and patient care programs and encourage optimal library use.
6.2 The library shall collect and maintain a reference collection which supports the educational, research, and clinical programs of the parent institution.
6.3 The library staff shall provide information and instruction to the user through orientation sessions, individualized or group instruction, workshops, and/or credit or non-credit courses. These shall include, but not be limited to, a variety of professional reference services and end-user bibliographic instruction programs designed to take full advantage of the "state of the art" resources available in the library and/or in the institution.
6.4 The library should keep readers abreast of new or innovative trends in dentistry by providing users with reasonable access to current awareness services, such as regular table of contents and other selective dissemination of information services, available either in-house or commercially.
6.5 There shall be a written circulation policy which clearly states the loan periods for all library materials including restrictions on special materials, such as reference, reserve, journals, audiovisuals, computer programs, CD-ROM, etc.
6.6 The size and quality of the collection should be enhanced through the use of interlibrary loan and through participation in library cooperative agreements or programs with local, regional, and national library networks.
6.7 Both the library and learning resources component shall have hours of operation which provide maximum use of the collection, services, resources, and facilities. These resources and services must be readily accessible to students, faculty, and researchers; and the hours of operation shall be consistent with reasonable demand and the time schedules, staffing, and operational calendar of the library and the parent institution.
6.8 The library should provide resources, services, or referral in support of continuing education for the graduates of the parent institution and dental practitioners In the community.
7.1 The parent institution shall provide adequate housing for the dental collection in either a separate library or in a combined health sciences library.
7.2 The library shall provide adequate and well-planned study and reading space for its users.
7.3 The library shall provide sufficient office and workroom space for the library staff.
7.4 The library should furnish and maintain facilities and equipment such as microcomputers, CD-ROM technology, computer-assisted instruction, computer bibliographic search services, information access and retrieval, telecommunication, telefacsimile, and/or other technologies as they become available.
7.5 The library should respond to the changing role and uses of computer technology and should provide the necessary space for the adaptation of new programs and the acquisition of new equipment.
7.6 The library must be accessible to the disabled and be located in a building which is in compliance with current federal, state, and city public laws, and their amendments.
8.1 The responsibility and flow of authority under which the library is empowered to act shall be recognized in writing. This may be documented in the institution's bylaws, trustees' minutes, or a public law.
8.2 The library should articulate its roles and functions through written mission statements, goals, and objectives. These statements should be evaluated regularly and revised every five to ten years.
8.3 The resources of the library shall include all print and non-print materials including audiovisuals and other mixed media and machine readable data forms purchased or acquired in any manner, and used in the library to aid students, faculty, and staff of every department and office of the sponsoring institution.
8.4 The library shall be administered in a manner which permits and encourages the fullest and most effective use of the library's and the institution's available resources.
8.5 The library director of a separate dental library should report to the president, dean, university librarian, or chief academic officer of the institution. If the dental collection is an integral part of a larger health sciences library or university library, then a clear, direct link should exist between the library administration and the dental school administration and faculty.
8.6 Job tasks and responsibilities of each library staff member shall be defined in writing by the library administration in consultation with the library staff and other relevant personnel agencies of the institution. These tasks and responsibilities should be reviewed annually by the library administration and should be mutually agreed upon by the library staff member and the library administration.
8.7 The library shall maintain a written policy manual specifying its hours, staffing, circulation, reference, and other services for library users.
8.8 The library shall maintain a procedure guide for its staff covering internal and external operations.
8.9 The library should publish an annual report which is made available to the institution and its members.
8.10 There should be a library committee and it should be made up of representatives from different departments and/or specialties and should include at least one student. The library committee shall function in an informative and advisory, rather than administrative and executive capacity.
8.11 The librarian(s) should maintain a systematic and continuous program for evaluating the library's performance, for informing the community of its accomplishments, and for identifying needed improvements.
8.12 A policy statement shall define the status of library staff members in academic institutions in relation to academic rank, tenure, sabbatical or professional leaves, group life and health insurance, retirement, and any other provisions and benefits which the institution may make for its administrative, instructional, and professional staff.
8.13 The librarian should participate actively in institutional meetings and committees.
9.1 The operating budget for the library must be adequate to provide staff salaries and wages which are competitive regionally and nationally.
9.2 The library's budget must also provide funds for equipment and supplies, development of new library programs and services, maintenance of ongoing library services and programs, professional development of the library staff, and the acquisition of informational materials and resources.
9.3 The library's budget shall take into account the size of the collection; the number of people served; the extent and growth of the institution's educational, clinical, and research programs; the amount of research support, extension projects, and other sources of income; the advances in technology; and, the library's need to maintain and enhance its present equipment and facility.
9.4 The library's budget must be competitive with other area institutions in order to attract and maintain experienced and qualified staff.
9.5 A policy statement shall indicate who is responsible for the preparation and administration of the library's budget.
9.6 A policy statement shall clearly define who shall maintain an internal accounting system, approve invoices for payment, monitor purchases, and be fiscally responsible for all library expenditures.
Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2007 July 13