About the Health Sciences Library


The mission of the Health Sciences Library is to advance health related education, research, service and rural health by organizing, synthesizing, and disseminating knowledge in the health sciences and by fostering the use of health care information. – Statement revised April 9, 1997.


The Health Sciences Library is a unit of The College of Community Health Sciences, a division of The University of Alabama School of Medicine, in Tuscaloosa. In 1972 a special act of the Alabama Legislature established CCHS to provide community-based medical education, with a primary care emphasis and a family practice residency training program, designed to encourage physicians to settle and practice in the rural and under served areas of Alabama. Today the focus of CCHS continues to be in seeking solutions for rural health care problems in Alabama. A major goal of CCHS is to rank among the top national academic programs in the production of primary care physicians for rural areas.

The medical program of CCHS was established under the leadership of William R. Willard, M.D. The medical student undergraduate program for 3rd and 4th year medical students is organized as a clinical campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM). The graduate medical education component was established as a three year family practice residency program, affiliated with UASOM.

The Library first opened in 1978 on completion of the Educational Tower built adjacent to and integrated with the DCH Medical Center. In 2004, it was moved to the new University Medical Center on The University of Alabama campus. The library serves to assist the CCHS in its mission and goals in health related education, research, service, and rural health. The Library recognizes and gives priority to the information needs of the School of Medicine, as well as University of Alabama healthcare-related programs. Additionally, the library serves as the primary resource for health science information for the University community, Tuscaloosa and West Alabama.


The faculty and staff of the Health Sciences Library use the Core Values adopted by the Medical Library Association and the ALA Core Values of Librarianship to help guide our practice. Our ethical standards are established by the Code of Ethics for Health Sciences Librarianship and the American Library Association Code of Ethics.


The Health Sciences Library is a gateway to health related information worldwide. This specialized collection includes books, current journal subscriptions, audio-visual resources, and access to specialized databases, library catalogs, and Internet resources. The collection covers topics in clinical medicine, family practice, primary care, medical education, consumer health, and related healthcare topics.

The reference collection provides core titles in the major medical specialties. U.S. and Alabama vital statistics are available. Also, drug guides, clinical treatment guidelines and standards are included in the collection.

The catalog for the Health Sciences Library collection is included in the UA Libraries Catalog. Searches may be limited to material located in the Health Sciences Library.

Electronic access is available at four public work stations. Numerous electronic resources are available, including PubMed (Medline), CINAHL, Exam Master, Stat!Ref, Up-to-Date, and many more. (Some resources may be restricted to medical students, residents, and CCHS faculty and staff.)


The book collection is arranged according to the National Library of Medicine Classification System, developed by the National Library of Medicine to organize and provide access to the subjects within the health sciences.

The journal collection is arranged alphabetically by title, disregarding the initial article. Note that ‘the’ within a the title is included in the letter by letter arrangement.

Subject access to the collection on the UA Library System or on Medline is provided by MeSH, the Medical Subject Headings of the National Library of Medicine. To do a subject search of the UA Library catalog for material located in the Health Sciences Library, you should use the MeSH vocabulary, e.g. SM = pregnancy.

Health Sciences Library