History of the Queen Square Library

The Library’s current role

The Queen Square Library is funded jointly by the Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital, and is the recognised specialist library for Neurology within the University of London. The Library receives 30-40,000 visits per annum from IoN, the National Hospital, UCL, UCLH and beyond; including many external visitors.

The Library’s collection primarily covers neurology, neurosurgery and neuroscience; allied fields such as psychiatry, ophthalmology, psychology, radiology, rehabilitation and critical care are also covered. The printed collection is composed of approximately 30,000 bound journals, 90 current print journal subscriptions,13,700 books and monographs. As well as collections of books & journals, the Library delivers a wide range of internet-based resources. The Library also provides study space, multimedia resources (videos, DVDs and CD-ROMs), IT facilities, photocopying & printing facilities, literature search and current awareness services, document delivery services and an extensive training program. The majority of the Library’s resources & services are available via a dedicated website which is visited more than 22,000 times each month. 

The history of the Library

There are printed records mentioning the existence of an established medical library at Queen Square as early as the National Hospital’s Annual Report of 1933. The use of the name “Rockefeller Medical Library" appears to have begun in about 1956. A number of hospital wards were renamed in that year to honour past members of consultant staff and,

“The Institute decided that the library should be called the Rockefeller Library in view of the interest shown by the Rockefeller Foundation and its financial support of the hospital, especially its substantial contribution to the cost of building the Queen Mary Wing.” (1).

The substantial contribution of £60,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation was received in 1936, following an appeal from the National Hospital in 1935. In the original appeal plans for library improvements were mentioned:

“The Hospital has already a reference library of neurological textbooks, monographs and periodicals. Sixteen English, American and foreign journals are now received regularly. A room where these journals and books may conveniently be consulted by the students would be an invaluable aid to their clinical and pathological studies.”

The Library moved into its current accommodation on the 1st Floor of no.23 Queen Square in 1980-81, when the University purchased the freehold of the building. Prior to this, the Library had been located in Alexandra House, but it is not clear exactly which year the Library space in Alexandra House was established.

Further changes to the Library during the no.23 period were: an additional room added within the Library space in 1982 (named the Hallpike Room after the family who donated the funds) and a refurbishment in 1995 during which several partitions were removed in order to improve access to stock, install a security system and increase shelf space and reader spaces.

In the first half of 2010 the library underwent a major refurbishment to create the library you see today. The Library re-opened with the name Queen Square Library, Archive and Museum, in recognition of its new and continuing roles across  the whole of Queen Square.

(1) Robinson,G.A. The National Hospitals for Nervous Diseases 1948-1982. London: The Board of Governors of The National Hospitals for Nervous Diseases (1982). p.52

Page last modified on 10 feb 14 12:13

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Queen Square Library, incorporating the Queen Square Archive and Museum.
UCL Institute of Neurology & The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
1st Floor, 23 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK | Tel: 020 3448 4709 x84144 | neurolibrary@ucl.ac.uk
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