Passionate Students, Compassionate Healers

Light on Life: The Nursing Collection

In her Memoirs (1987), Rita P. Kelleher, second Dean of the Boston College School of Nursing said of Mary Pekarski, Founding Librarian of the School of Nursing:

No one played a more significant role in the development of the School than Miss Mary L. Pekarski.  She began her work as School Librarian the year that the School was opened, and she has spent almost her entire working career in that capacity. From the period 1947 to 1978 the library resources grew from none to over 30,000 volumes.

Pekarski foresight to preserve the early history of the School of Nursing in its archives which was later developed into the Nursing Archives at the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections.

It is significant that Professor Mary Ellen Doona, titled her work on the Nursing Collection, Light on Life: The Nursing Collection (1990), because Mary Pekarski was indeed a light shining in the void in which much of nursing literature existed in the 1940’s.  There were no national nursing indexes at the time, except for the index of  the American Journal of Nursing (BC community only).  Pekarski had her own “index” hand-written on index cards. She had the vision of a comprehensive nursing collection of books and periodicals.  Perhaps seeing into the future, she began a bioethics collection at the Nursing Library in Cushing Hall.

Select E-Resources from the Libraries
(BC community only)
  AgeLine
Alt-Health Watch
CINAHL
Cochrane Library
Drugs and Pharmacology
Health and Psychosocial Instruments
MEDLINE
SPORT Discus
Virginia Henderson Library

» View More

Today, because of its comprehensive collection in nursing, the Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library serves as a resource library in nursing for the New England Region of  the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.  The Nursing Collection provides resources in bioethics and health information to the university as a whole and to appropriate economics, sociology, psychology, bioethics, and pre-medical classes.

Dean Barbara Hazard

There is comprehensive collecting of nursing materials in the English language, selected foreign language serial titles, and varying levels of bioethics and related health science materials. The collection, currently managed by librarian Wanda Anderson, provides historical materials in nursing as well as the most current resources in clinical practice.

Advances technology have resulted in the acquisition of electronic versions of the major health sciences indexes. The nursing collection program has included acquisition of electronic nursing journals since their inception. Digitized information and texts are added when appropriate, vastly improving a researcher's ability to identify and access research resources as scholarship is evolving with increased use of electronic formats. Digitization of the core documents of nursing preserves these important historical policy and practice materials as part of the legacy of nursing, especially documents which define the practice and scope of nursing.   For further research using the collection at Boston College, view the Libraries' research guide in nursing.

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