The WHSC Libary was established in 1923 as the Abner Wellborn Calhoun Medical Library from funds provided by Dr. F. Phinizy Calhoun in memory of his father, Dr. Abner Wellborn Calhoun. A.W. Calhoun was professor of Ophthalmology in the Atlanta Medical College and other of Emory's predecessor medical schools from 1874 until his death in 1910. The library opened on January 1, 1924 and was housed in the Wesley Memorial Hospital, predecessor to today's Emory University Hospital. The library replaced the medical school library which was housed in the Anatomy Building of the Medical School and had outgrown its space. It was intended to serve not only students in Emory's School of Medicine and doctors who practiced at Wesley Memorial, but all members of the medical profession. In 1924, M. Myrtle Tye was chosen as Emory's first full-time librarian.  During her tenure as Librarian, she directed the steady growth of the collection. Despite financial limitations imposed by the economy in the early 1930s, she was able to raise funds to purchase for the library a rare 1543 first edition of Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica.

Following Tye's death in 1933, Mildred McMillan Jordan was appointed librarian and served until her death in 1965. Miriam H. Libbey served as library director from 1966 until her death in December of 1984, at which time Carol Burns, Director of Public Services for the library, was appointed to the position.

The A.W. Calhoun Medical Library was renamed the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library when it moved to new quarters in the Dental School Building in 1987. Burns retired in 2000. Sandra Franklin, who since 1983 had served in the positions Reference Librarian, Assistant Director, and Associate Director, served as acting director until September 2002 when she was appointed to the Library Director position.

    Mission: Optimize research, education, and patient care processes with reliable and sustainable access to data and information.

    Vision: Connect and transform information and knowledge Values:  Innovation, Excellence, Learning Strategic Objective:  Develop robust services, tools, electronic collections, technology rich collaborative spaces, and workforce expertise to provide the WHSC user community with information and knowledge that supports evidence-based patient centered care, and interdisciplinary study and research.  

    The Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library serves the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, the graduate Division of Biological & Biomedical Sciences, the Emory National Primate Research Center, and Emory Healthcare including the components of the Emory Clinic, Emory University Hospital, Emory Hospital Midtown, and Wesley Woods. Branch libraries are located on the Grady campus, Glenn Building,  in Emory Hospital, and in Emory Midtown.

    The Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library offers a wide range of unique services and programs that aim to optimize research, education, and clinical care processes throughout the Woodruff Health Sciences Center with reliable and sustainable access to and utilization of data, information and knowledge. Informationists and staff:

    • Train to facilitate effective and efficient use of information resources, bibliographic and knowledge management tools, and genetic data analysis, including curriculum-integrated instruction.
    • Analyze scholarly productivity by creating structured customized reports on trends and patterns of faculty publications
    • Ensure the best use of published clinical evidence in patient care and education by participating in resident report at teaching hospitals and documenting information inquiries in the 'Bottom Line’ (blog); assist journal club presenters to evaluate article search strategies
    • Consult in a systematic review process on search strategy development and facilitating the literature search
    • Provide on demand and point of need training for groups or individuals
    • Promote the discovery of purchased and licensed information resources through web services
    • Assist the research community with policies and procedures related to NIH Public Access Policy Compliance 


    The WHSC Library, located at 1462 Clifton Road, is open 7 days each week (96 hours per week). Other locations include the Emory University Hospital, Emory Midtown Hospital, and Grady Branch.


    In addition to the resources or collections available in the Emory University Libraries, the following are purchased or managed by the WHSC Library:

    1. Number of physical volumes:  202,953

    2. No. of monographic titles held:  75,238, of which 5875 books are in electronic format

    3. No. of serial titles currently received:  6,897 (electronic); 40,000 unique electronic journals University wide

    4. No. of electronic databases:  136; 795 available University-wide

    Services and Use

    1. No. of persons physically entering the library:  170,702

    2. No. of page views for library's website:  740,638

    3. No. of visitor sessions for library's website: 172,829

    4. No. of external circulation of library materials: 8,824

    5. No. of internal uses of library materials: 9,245

    6. No. of library-sponsored or curriculum education sessions taught: 326

    7. Attendance at library-sponsored or curriculum education sessions: 4,442.