Featured History: Templeton Radiology Library

The Templeton Library was established by the Radiology Department based on the aspirations of Frances Templeton.  Frances was the widow of Dr. Frederic Templeton, first Executive Officer of the Department. Joan Valaas Ferguson completed the initial cataloging and organizing work, and wrote the library’s first operational manual on January 3, 1980.  The library featured a working collection of then-current Radiology books and journals, as well personal items from Dr. Templeton.  One prominent feature of the early library was the American College of Radiology learning file: an extensive collection of annotated films.  Major renovation of the library was completed in 1984, which included the addition of a portrait of Dr. Templeton and a collection of historic x-ray tubes, both of which are seen in the library today.

According to the original operational manual, it was anticipated that the library would be maintained by the departmental secretary.  In practice, staff shared responsibility for making checkout cards and pasting pockets in books on a rotating basis.  Various departmental personnel maintained the Library over the years.  Early administrators of the library included Dr. Charles Rohrmann and Radiology staffer Helen Wilson.  For years, the library functioned as a basic repository for departmentally purchased books.

In the library’s 31st year, Marie Moffitt, who graduated from what was then the UW School of Librarianship in 1975, instituted sponsorship of an intern to operate the library.  Sarah Barrett, the first intern, started in January of 2011. She conducted the first journal needs assessment survey and coordinated with Dr. Shuman to arrange library book purchases at the RSNA conference.  Sarah instigated the use of the library’s first OPAC, Koha.  She adopted the practice of cataloging via NLM call number.

Sarah’s internship was followed by an interregnum wherein library operations returned to staff members, such as Program Coordinator Shelley MacElveen and Program Operations Specialist Bill Freeberg.  During this period, library operations were kept simple: books were ordered upon request, and the old filing system with color coding and numbering by topic was utilized. This period lasted from approximately January 2012-May 2013.

The June 2013- August 2014 Library Intern, Kimberly Tate, continued her predecessor practices of offering the Radiology community with assistance using information resources.  She worked extensively on the library’s cataloging, adding NLM/LC/Cutter number/publication year call numbers to the books.

original trl manual.jpg

Pictured: the original TRL Manual.

Kimberly’s successor, Rebecca Brothers, continued to build upon the existing foundation of library resources within the department.  She added books from the University of Washington e-book collection to Koha. She expanded upon the use of Piktochart to develop helpful infographics for library users, created a series of historical exhibits (of which this article is a continuation), and made regular posts on the library’s wordpress blog. She also conducted an extensive survey of journal usage preferences among the UW Radiology community and completed adding the book collection to the online database.  Her productive tenure lasted from September 2014 to June 2015.


As mentioned above, Rebecca Brothers developed a fantastic series of blog posts about significant figures in the history of radiology.  I decided early in my tenure that I was going to keep this tradition of historical review alive in some sense, and I have spent some time poring over primary historical documents and interviewing witnesses to develop this history of the Templeton Library.  I am proud to present the culmination of this work, which is quite probably most comprehensive history of the TRL extant.  It may be interesting to the reader to compare this history with that of other special and medical libraries, it may even offer some ideas for improvements to small libraries such as ours.



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