[Contributed by Cara Marcus, MAHSLIN president]
Whenever I take a vacation, I enjoy visiting their local libraries to expand my horizons and gain new insights from all locales. My most recent trip was to beautiful Palm Springs, where nestled among the glorious mountains, canyons and palm trees, I glimpsed the Medical Library at Desert Regional Medical Center. I say glimpsed as the medical librarian was away when I was in the area (perhaps she was skiing the snow-capped New England slopes for her own holiday getaway while I was there).
I found the medical center on the way to an outdoor wellness park complete with a walkable labyrinth and scented healing herb garden (believe me – I came back quite relaxed after this vacation!) As I walked through the hospital, which was founded in 1948, I was struck by the serene tiled hallways and open architecture that let nature indoors. Disappointed that the library was closed, I visited the gift shop to buy a poolside reading book. It turned out that the gift shop volunteer also volunteered in the library, and told me about how well-utilized it was and how much she enjoyed volunteering there. While she couldn’t open it for me, she told me that if I stood on the veranda, I would be able to see it through the windows.
I found out the library was part of the Sinatra Education Center, with funds donated by Frank Sinatra in memory of his father Anthony Martin (Marty) Sinatra. Old Blue-Eyes had lived in Palm Springs, and in the dedication of the Education Center shared, “This splendid structure is my dad’s kind of dream, just as it is yours and mine.” (Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, My Father, Simon and Schuster: 1986, p 224).
It was a beautiful medical library, with burnished wood shelves and carrels, a glass display case showcasing archival treasures, stately stands for oversized dictionaries, coffee-table books of photos, collections of textbook, periodical and audiovisual materials elegantly displayed, and a prominent reference desk. What I didn’t see in the library were computers – there were 3 workstations tucked away in the back and a separate computer room down the hall. While library services included electronic resources for both providers and patients (with instruction sheets in racks outside the door), it seemed that visitors to the library itself could quietly read, study and think in a serene setting. Maybe it was just as well the library was closed, or I may have disappeared to browse and peruse for hours while the California sun beckoned outside.
As I left the library and walked into the sunshine, I could almost hear Frank Sinatra singing, “The summer wind came blowin’ in from across the sea . . .” Happy New Year MAHSLIN!