Books Not Bombs

The mission of Operation Medical Libraries is to collect and distribute current medical textbooks and journals to war-torn countries through partnerships with American medical schools, hospitals, physicians, dentists, medical professionals and the US military.

Almost all medical professionals in the Western World can rely on the internet for looking up questions and maintaining their continuing medical education. While Iraqi and Afghan doctors would welcome the opportunity to take greater advantage of all that is available on the Internet, the lack of electricity, slow access, and limited availability make it difficult for most doctors and medical students to access Internet resources. As a result, they have to rely heavily on medical textbooks for clinical information to manage sick patients.

The U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy Medical Corps (MC) and the U.S. Air Force and Army Nurse Corps (NC) have struggled to get textbooks back in the hands of Afghan and Iraqi medical professionals. Operation Medical Libraries (OML) is helping to meet this need. The impact on the medical communities of these two countries has been immediate and apparent. The effects will be felt for generations to come.

OML is provides medical texts and journals to medical schools and hospitals in developing countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Originally founded as Books Without Borders, it started in April 2007 by Valerie Walker, Director of the UCLA Medical Alumni Association (MAA). She responded to an email request from a graduate of the medical school at UCLA for donated medical textbooks for medical facilities in Tikrit, Iraq. Original donations came from the UCLA medical alumni, faculty, and students. The name was changed to Operation Medical Libraries in the spring 2008 due to a name conflict with an unrelated organization.

Subsequently, MC and NC representatives working with other medical schools and hospitals in Afghanistan and Iraq contacted the UCLA MAA in search of much needed medical materials. The association’s scope and significance increased by volumes through the participation of other American medical schools, such as University of California, San Diego and medical center libraries, such as Providence St. Joseph Medical Center. By August 18, 2008, over 13 tons of medical textbooks and journals have been distributed throughout Afghanistan and Iraq.

OML is unique because there is no middle man or warehouse. Textbooks and journals are sent directly from the donor to the recipient, who sorts through the medical literature and delivers them to the appropriate nearby medical facility or university.

Operation Medical Libraries (OML) is a a grass roots effort originally founded as Books Without Borders in April 2007 by Valerie Walker, Director of the UCLA Medical Alumni Association (MAA).

According to the Clinton Global Initiative, over 7,000 tons of usable medical materials and supplies are discarded every day in American hospitals and clinics. Most of these items are outright incinerated or deposited in landfills.The global impact of donating your medical textbooks will be immediate and lasting. The effect of change will be significant. The scope includes advancing medical education; improving health care; extending the productive life of a product made by cutting trees; and reducing the pressures on our landfill sites and the pollution from incinerators. Don’t throw away knowledge. Pass it on to your medical colleagues! Make a global difference!

OML exists to shrink the educational gap in all areas of the health sciences in developing countries, which
globally face the same problem: doctors and nurses go without the latest professional information they need to provide proper health care to their patients. In response to this urgent demand for life saving
knowledge, OML has built a powerful collaboration between publishers, authors, universities, and hospitals to provide formal medical references and continuing education materials for health sciences students and professionals living in the developing world. In recognition of OML’s valuable contribution to medical health worldwide, several U.S. Government agencies have also joined in the effort.

Current textbooks in the health sciences fields of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacology, and
physical therapy are desired, as well as anatomy and basic science books. Textbooks need to be
new or gently used, contain current information, and published within the last five years. For more
information. For more information, go to How to Donate Books or e-mail OML.

This entry was posted in Asia, Books, Libraries, Middle East. Bookmark the permalink.

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