November 1957: New Patient Library #ThrowbackThursday

In 1957, Hospital Librarian Ruth Tews described the new patients' library at Saint Marys as “a dream come true.” The library was decorated in soft green with new furniture, shelves, and a table built into the window alcove. The library also had a desk and telephone. Patients who were able to leave their rooms were invited to come to the library to browse among the books displayed there and to select at leisure any books they would like to read.

Hospital Librarian Ruth Tews and Sister Mary Brigh took pride in the new patients’ library at St. Marys. Below, Mrs. Hazel Hagberg stocks her library cart and Mrs. Elna Ludden helps with book selection. Mrs. Iola Capelle, of the Clinic Library, plays the role of patient to demonstrate the library’s function.
Hospital Librarian Ruth Tews and Sister Mary Brigh took pride in the new patients’ library at Saint Marys. Below, Mrs. Hazel Hagberg stocks her library cart and Mrs. Elna Ludden helps with book selection. Mrs. Iola Capelle, of the Clinic Library, plays the role of patient to demonstrate the library’s function.

The Hospital Library Service was a project to which Mayo, Methodist, and Saint Marys Hospitals all made contributions. The hospitals contributed toward the purchase of books, which the librarians made available to patients in Saint Marys, Methodist, and Worrall Hospitals. At the time, there were about 8,500 books in the collection. Like any library, the hospital service tried to have books for every taste from crochet patterns to engineering, the current best sellers, old favorites, classics, murder, mystery, light fiction, biography, history, and children’s books.

“The best thing,” said Miss Tews, “is that up here, you’d never know you were in a hospital; the patient can forget he or she is a patient—and that’s good.”

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Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Associate at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She supports marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.