The New Desk

IMG_0165 Our shiny new front desk has arrived and been assembled behind The Wall. It's much bigger than the old one, and will serve as both the Circulation Desk and the Reference Desk. I meant to sneak back and take some pictures of it when it was still in big piled-up pieces, but of course time just flies when you're working on a PubMed tutorial (right?) and I didn't get a chance. So I hope these are an interesting peak into our still unfinished entrance area!

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The Levy Labyrinth

IMG_0159 If you've come to the Library recently you've noticed a whole lot of new walls where there were no walls before, and Library staff and desks have been scattered around to the four corners (almost). We're all still here though – answering questions checking out books, and all the other things you've come to expect (including, yes, asking you not to drink coffee at our new computers). Here's a quick rundown of where people and things are now:


When you step off the elevators and enter the Library, you have a choice of going left – down the stairs to the 10th floor, which has our bound journals and probably the quietest study space at the moment – or going right, towards the Circulation Desk and the rest of the 11th floor.


On the opposite side of the 11th floor (walk allllll the way around the offices or elevator bank to get there) are the public computers, along with the Reference Desk – which is for the moment just a little table with a computer on it, but it does have the most important feature, the reference librarians.

From the public computer area you'll see the new classrooms, and if you walk alongside them you'll get to the temporary office of the Levy Library Computing Help Desk (which used to be downstairs on the 10th floor in the former Media Resource Center).


The Library Administrative Offices, Academic Computing and the Archives are right where they were before – but if a new wall is preventing you from taking your normal route, just ask us and we'll tell you the new way.

And, sorry: the men's room is closed.

Yikes! What happened to the Reference Desk?


We don't know either! But hopefully it will reappear in its new (temporary) location tomorrow. The circulation desk is also on the move, as the contractors are about to start the next phase of renovations, which is, yes, the very front of the library. So look out for some detours and changed locations over the next few days. It might get a bit (more) confusing, but remember there are always lots of ways to reach us: by phone – 212-241-7791 for circulation and 212-241-7793 for reference, by email at, or by chatting with us using the IM screen name mssmref or the box below.

PS – there's more pictures on our facebook page!

More Renovation Changes

IMG_0124 The changes are getting bigger and more apparent every day at the Library. If you walk in today you'll see lots of sheets of plastic hanging around the 11th floor, and the paint and wallpaper (who knew there was wallpaper?) have been stripped from the elevator lobby – if you hurry you might see the decades-old swear words written on the walls before they get covered up again!IMG_0119

The plastic is blocking off some study space on the West side of the Library and also the stairs down to the 10th floor, so we're temporarily back to the request procedures if you need a print journal or a dissertation – just ask at the Circulation Desk and we will let you know when we are able to pull the item for you.

And a heads-up for the next little while: things are going to get a bit strange as the elevator lobby and Library entrance are renovated. We're going to do what we can to make sure the Library stays open, but there will likely be days when we'll all have to enter on the 10th floor instead of the 11th (look for signs in the elevators about this) or take a detour to where we're going. We'll try to keep things well signposted – give us a call at 212-241-7793 (Reference) or 212-241-7791 (Circulation) if you run into any confusion with getting to us.

Tough Times – Then and Now

The papers continue to be full of stories about the adjustments people and corporations are making in these hard economic times.  Certainly health care institutions are not immune to these conditions.  I thought it might be of interest to look at what Mount Sinai did during the Great Depression. 

In 1931, The Mount Sinai Hospital cut staff salaries, although they grew again slowly as the 1930s progressed.  That same year we opened a Consultation Service to aid people of moderate means.  Private physicians could refer patients with difficult diagnoses to Mount Sinai for a full work-up for a small fixed fee ($15 at first).  All of the results, and hopefully a diagnosis, would then be sent to the community physician for follow-up and care of the patient.  This service was ended in 1958. 

Occupational Therapy workshopIn 1933, Mount Sinai's Social Work Department established a work room to help the morale and rehabilitation of unemployed patients. Patients were taught skills and some got jobs.  The program produced goods that were sold, with the patient getting 1/3 of the money while the rest supported the work room. Women were taught to sew so they could make clothes for their families, but not necessarily to get a job. This program became permanent in 1941 and was transferred to the Dept. of Rehabilitation Medicine in 1955.

The Nursing Department began the option for private nurses to work either an 8 or a 12 hour shift, trying to provide work to more people, although it was not popular at first. During these years, the School of Nursing received fewer applications, perhaps due to the times.  In 1934, the Hospital lowered the rates on some private rooms, creating more at the $8, $9, and $10 per day level.  They also lowered the cost of a pint of whisky or sherry from $2 to $1 – for medicinal purposes only, of course!  In response to New Deal legislation, we also implemented the 8 hour day for all non-medical staff and hired more graduate nurses for our wards.  Overall during the Depression, our clinic volume rose and the number of in-patient days went down.

And, in a move strangely  similar to today's Mount Sinai, during the tough economic times of the 1930s, Mount Sinai chose to renovate and enlarge its facilties to better position themselves for the future.

Website troubles

You might have noticed that both the Mount Sinai website and the Levy Library website have been going down periodically over the past couple of days. They're usually only down for a few minutes at a time, but it can be frustrating. So, here are some alternate links to get to Library Resources:

To access databases like PubMed, UpToDate, etc:

To access online journals:

To access e-books:

For information about the Library, including hours, policies, etc:

And, you can always Ask a Librarian:
(p.s. – should that site ever go down, you can call us at x47793 or x47204, or email us at

More computers!

We're happy to announce that much of the area that has been blocked off behind walls for so long is now open and full of shiny new computers for you to use! The wall is still up, but there is now an open doorway that will let you in. There are 80 new computers loaded up with new software like Microsoft Office 2007, SPSS and Scifinder Scholar.

Some other things have been moved around a bit as we enter the next phase of our renovation. The printers and copiers are now in their permanent location next to the computers. The scanners and the large-format banner printer might move around a little bit more, so if you don't see them just ask us at the desk. And, the Leisure Reading Section is currently in front of the temporary wall, right near the Reference Desk (and that issue of People with the Saved by the Bell cast on the cover is looking awfully tempting right now!).

And, last but certainly not least, the women's restroom is open again!