Who's Using the Frederick National Lab Scientific Library?

Written by Dr. Larry Phillips, Chemist, Developmental Therapeutics Program
January/February 2013

Larry Phillips

The concept of time is rarely on anyone's list of important human inventions. Nonetheless, it is important since it uniquely enables coordination of human effort and provides a convenient platform to record and catalog activities and events. When coupled with "the written word" a durable history is created, from which exploration of the future may be initiated. It should be obvious that creating both a repository of an overwhelming volume of seemingly unrelated bits of history and the methodology necessary for locating and retrieving a specific record is an impossible task for any one person, or even a small group of people. However, these are the responsibilities charged to the library. And, since history continues unabated to be created, recorded, cataloged, and re-interpreted, a library is necessarily forever dynamic.

Upon arriving at the laboratories in Frederick in 1990, a top priority was to find the library. Although much smaller than the one I had grown accustomed to at the NIH in Bethesda during the 1980s, Frederick's Scientific Library immediately became my sole contact for the history I needed for my work. And, twenty-two years later, I have yet to experience any disappointment, and I continue to be in awe of the offered services and capabilities.

No research can move forward unless a point of reference is established. Or, as Yogi Berra is credited with saying "You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." The Library has always been and will continue to be my silent lab partner.