New name for library, but ‘McGoogan’ remains

When the McGoogan Library of Medicine changes its name this summer, it won’t be due to any lack of respect for namesake Leon McGoogan, M.D.

In fact, the new name — the Leon S. McGoogan Health Sciences Library, which was approved by the Board of Regents on June 26 — is intended to demonstrate the expanded scope of the institution Dr. McGoogan played such a key role in shaping during his career at UNMC.

“A lot of people have been confused, as UNMC has grown in its programs,” said Emily McElroy, dean of the library. “When they see ‘library of medicine,’ they think we’re only a resource for the College of Medicine. The new name reflects that we serve all the students in the health professions represented on the UNMC campus.”

Nearly every academic health sciences library in the country that has the breadth of programming UNMC offers have similar names, she said.

“We felt, with the renovations under way, that this was the appropriate time to move forward with a change.”

But changing the McGoogan name was never considered, McElroy said.

“Dr. McGoogan not only played a critical role in the original library construction, was instrumental in fundraising for the library and donated extensively to our rare book collection, but his initial fundraising still supports so many library functions. I don’t know what we would do without the foundation that he built.”

Dr. McGoogan (1900-93) was the former chairman of the UNMC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. His affiliation with the library began when he worked there as a medical student in 1922. When the NU Board of Regents voted to name the library after him in 1978, it was in recognition of his decades of commitment to the institution, McElroy said.

The library is hoping for a late July opening for the sixth and seventh floors, and McElroy is excited for the university community to see the renovated space. (The eighth floor, which is mostly archives and offices, won’t be completed until the end of the year.)

“Having windows looking out on 42nd Street on the sixth and seventh floor is amazing,” she said. “It’s so bright. There’s also an overlook above the Wigton Heritage Center – it’s a very welcoming space.”

When it does open, the library will resume its normal operating hours, but because of COVID-19 concerns, it will not be open to the general public, only to university, hospital and affiliate faculty, staff and students. People will be asked to wear masks in the public areas and social distancing rules will be observed.

“We are very excited for our new home,” McElroy said. “The university community will find it a welcoming and comfortable space that is a terrific complement to our dedicated, knowledgeable staff and our extensive collection of resources. Dr. McGoogan would be proud of it, as well.”


  1. Jerrie Dayton says:

    Can't wait to see it all. Very exciting changes.

  2. Nancy Woelfl says:

    I’m so pleased to see all the progress at the Library and applaud Dean McElroy for her hard work and leadership. I’m also grateful to Chancellor Gold and all who have supported the Library now and in the past. This is the perfect time to recognize the scope of the Library by designating it as a Health Sciences Library. It was my honor and privilege to be associated with the Library and UNMC for 26 years.

  3. Adam Karpf says:

    Great idea, very nice.

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