H.M. Fishbon Memorial Library

Library History

MZ Library, then

The Jellinek-Nahmann Library, circa 1950

MZ Library, now

The Fishbon Memorial Library, 2010

The Place ...

  Dr. Bernard Strauss

Dr. Bernard Strauss, a 23 year old intern at Mount Zion in 1927, was concerned that the hospital where he would be serving did not have a library. Therefore, he took it upon himself to visit the Library of Congress to learn how to organize and establish a medical library. He was successful in his efforts, and for the next 15 years he worked to ensure that the library had appropriate books and journals to meet the needs of the medical staff. After serving in the Armed Forces from 1942-1945, Dr. Strauss relocated to Southern California; by that time the library was well established and the hospital had also established a Library Committee, on which Dr. Strauss had served.

The Library's location shifted more than once, and it was eventually housed in the Mount Zion Harold Brunn Institute for Cardiovascular Research. In 1949, the medical staff, in planning the new wing of the hospital, designated space for the Library on the main hallway where it could be accessed easily by the staff. The new "A wing" of the hospital was completed in 1950, and today, the Library is still in the location that was planned for it.

In 1990, Mount Zion Hospital merged with the UCSF Medical Center and the Library became part of the University of California system.

Modifications were made to the Library over time, including the addition of space and the taking away of space. In 1995, the reference room and information desk were upgraded and the reference room was named the "Richard F. Ury Reading Room" in honor of the Library's long-term volunteer library assistant.

  Dr. Harry Weinstein
Dr. Harry Weinstein

Six years later, the Library staff celebrated the completion of a major remodeling project by hosting an Open House on December 14, 2001. The guest of honor was Harry Weinstein, MD.  He participated in the planning and development of the Library in the late 1940's, and he was chair of the Library Committee when the current remodeling plan was proposed in 1998.  In honor of Dr. Weinstein and his ardent support of the Library for more than 50 years, the new main room was dedicated as "The Weinstein Room." Dr. Weinstein passed away November 2, 2008.  At that time, he was a Member Emeritus of the Mount Zion Library Committee, on which he had served for over 20 years, and a Professor Emeritus of UCSF.

The Weinstein Room is restored to its original 1950's spacious look and it has been brought into the 21st Century with new computers tucked into contemporary "Nova" stations. The configuration of the room allows for easy access to both hard copy and electronic resources.

Mrs. Strauss comes to town …

Lena Strauss
Mrs. Lena Strauss

On Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Mrs. Lena Strauss, wife of the founder of Mount Zion Medical Staff Library attended a reception at the Library to dedicate the new reference room in honor of her late husband, Bernard Strauss, MD.  Mrs. Strauss generously funded a complete remodeling project for the room: a custom-made reference desk, new carpet, fresh paint, signage, and a beautiful display case.  Attendees at the reception included Mount Zion physicians, nurses, staff, and guests from the Mount Zion Health Fund and the UCSF Medical Center Administration.

After the reception, Mrs. Strauss hosted a lunch for members of the library staff and representatives from Mount Zion Health Fund and Medical Center Administration at Laurel Court, the Fairmont, Nob Hill. It was a wonderful day.

The project, from planning to reception, took almost a year to complete.  During that year we learned more about Dr. Strauss and what an extraordinary person he was.  In her own way, Mrs. Strauss has brought him back to Mount Zion and allowed us to honor his contribution and commitment to this hospital so many years ago.

The Name ...

Dr. E. Jellinek Dr. A. Nahmann
Dr. Emil Jellinek Dr. Adolph Nahmann

Along with the location changes came name changes: originally called The Jellinek-Nahmann Library, it was renamed in 1966 to the Sinai Memorial Library in recognition of the generous and continuous donations to the Library by the Sinai Memorial Chapel.

  Dr. Harris Fishbon
Dr. Harris Fishbon

With the full support of the Sinai Memorial Chapel, the name was changed again in 1979 to the Harris M. Fishbon Memorial Library. Dr. Fishbon had been Chief of Medicine, Chair of the Library Committee, and for many years, acting Librarian at Mount Zion. Medical staff colleagues and friends of Dr. Fishbon felt that naming the Library for him was a most appropriate way to commemorate his extraordinary commitment to medicine, medical education, and Mount Zion.

The Collection ...

The Fishbon Library acquires materials based on the research and patient care activities at Mount Zion. Books, journals, and other material owned by the Library are reflected in OCLC's WorldCat. The Library has full access to the electronic resources of the UCSF Campus Library, and the California Digital Library.

The Library also has a History of Medicine (HOM) Collection that is shelved in the Hellman Conference Room at Mount Zion. The Library acquired these books and other selected materials as gifts from members of the Mount Zion Medical Staff over many years. A Mount Zion oral history project was begun in the late 1970s and continued through the mid 1990s. The oral history collection consists of 50+ interviews with mostly physicians who practiced (or are still practicing) medicine at Mount Zion. All of the interviews have been transcribed into hard copy. The entire HOM collection, including the oral histories, is reflected in OCLC's WorldCat. The oral histories are also listed in the National Library of Medicine's Guide to Oral Histories in Medicine and the Health Sciences.

The Librarians ...

Reeda Selden
Reeda Selden

Acting Librarian
Harris M. Fishbon, MD [1950s-early 1970s]

Professional Librarians

  • Reeda Seldon [1955- early 1970s]
  • Kay Kammerer [early to mid 1970s]
  • Andrea Vanderbilt-Rail [mid to late 1970s]
  • Dixie Shipp [late 1970s- early 1980s]
  • Angela Wesling 1982-1988
  • Gail Sorrough 1989-2014
  • Gloria Won 1988-89; 1992-2014
  • Laura Olson 2002-
  • Ari Kleiman 2009-
  • Michelle Henley 2015-