Louise M. Darling (1911-99)
...The character of the staff
as an entity is intangibly,
but nonetheless indelibly,
reflected in the service
the library gives.
- Louise M. Darling
Newly returned from serving in the U.S. Army Library Service in Hawaii and the Philippines, Louise Darling founded the Biomedical Library in 1947. With a new medical school having been recently created at UCLA, then-University Librarian Lawrence Clark Powell gave her the assignment of building a new library to support both the life sciences and the medical sciences in teaching and research.
The library's preeminent collections of books and print and electronic journals bear witness to the tradition of excellence Darling established in collection development. From the beginning, she also considered the history of medicine and biology to be an important part of a research library, and she began acquiring rare books and journals as soon as the library was established.
Darling's primary concern throughout her long career was people: library users and especially the staff who provide service to them, as illustrated in the quotation above. She credited the Biomedical Library’s innovative accomplishments in automation, training, and regional extension to the quality of its staff, and in 1976 she established the Louise M. Darling Staff Development Fund to assist in furthering their educational pursuits.
Many librarians who now hold key positions in libraries throughout the country were trained by Darling, and countless others were inspired by her work. Her profound influence on the course of medical librarianship is exemplified by the Medical Library Association’s Marcia C. Noyes Award for outstanding achievement, which she received in 1974. The UCLA Alumni Association recognized her contributions to the profession at large and to UCLA in particular with its award of distinction in 1977. The Biomedical Library was named in her honor in 1987.