The History of the AHEC Library

The medical community of Charlotte began building a library of medical literature and sharing important and pertinent medical information around 1911. At first, the library was called the Library Club and was eventually named The Medical Library of Mecklenburg County. The Medical Library flourished solely through the support of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society until 1976 when the library was merged with the Charlotte Area Health Education Center Library. This merge, in addition to a partnership with Carolinas HealthCare System, stimulated fantastic growth and establishment for the AHEC Library of today.

The AHEC Library is located on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) in Charlotte, North Carolina. CMC is a major academic medical center teaching hospital and has 861 licensed beds. CMC is part of Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS), which is one of the largest publicly owned systems in the nation. There are no other libraries in the system, leaving the AHEC Library as the only information provider to all its 60,000 full-time and part-time health care employees. As a member of the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), the AHEC Library is also the primary and, in most cases, the only information provider for all health care professionals in a nine county area. Many of the library's population live in rural areas and formerly had little or no access to relevant, core biomedical information; it is the AHEC Library's mission to deliver these valuable resources to this enormous community regardless of location. The AHEC Library met and exceeded the needs of this community by developing the largest consortium of online users in the NC AHEC system; the AHEC Digital Library (ADL) currently has over 18,000 total users for the entire state – 10,000 of these users are managed by the Charlotte AHEC Library.

The AHEC Library offers a comprehensive array of both print and online resources to champion the informational and educational needs of all constituents of Carolinas HealthCare System, the Charlotte AHEC region, Cabarrus College of Health Sciences, Carolinas College of Health Sciences, Mercy School of Nursing, members of the Mecklenburg County Medical Society, patients and their families. The AHEC Library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. In addition to the AHEC Digital Library which is available to members round the clock, the AHEC Library offers core nursing, core allied health, and core biomedical resources; provides unique collection assets for Carolinas College of Health Sciences and Wingate University curriculum and onsite medical education residency programs; supports Charlotte AHEC continuing education and continuing medical education programs; and is the principal library for some of the largest research centers in the state, supporting research endeavors by Cannon Research Center and Heineman Medical Research, Inc, to name a few. Most AHEC Library services are free so that there is no impediment to information access.

The AHEC Library forges new types of educational programs aimed at health promotion, disease prevention, and improved health care outcomes. Our mission is to enhance and support our constituent's responsibilities of patient care, education, management, research, and community involvement. The AHEC Library staff, made up three professional librarians and one support staff, are dedicated to providing accurate and current information and offering training to all health care professionals to promote the mission, vision and values of Carolinas HealthCare System and the Charlotte AHEC. Implementing new educational technologies and services that enhance access to our programs and providing critical medical information resources are currently our primary objectives.

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