Libraries in the Greater San Francisco/San José Bay Area
This list includes health and medical libraries that allow various types of access to the general public. Some of these libraries are specifically set up to help community members find information; others primarily serve physicians and other health care professionals affiliated with their institution and offer limited services to the general public. Access policies, open hours, reference availability, etc. vary widely among the health libraries listed here so please call ahead first to inquire. Because many people start their health information research at their local public libraries, whether on foot or online, we also include the locations for the main libraries of some county and city library systems.
Contact the main library for branch locations
Because many people start their health information research at their local public libraries, whether on foot or online, we also include the locations for the main libraries of some county and city library systems.
What is a "Plane Tree"?
The ancient Greeks knew. So does every medical student who remembers his or her medical history.
When Angelica Thieriot, founder of the Planetree organization, was pulling together visionary health and community leaders in the mid-70's, her goal was to create a different type of U.S. hospital care and a radical approach of access to information that centered on the patient's needs and interests. She wanted a name for this organization that reflected the concept of a healing spirit, a natural environment, and a supportive center for learning. Her research led her to Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, who often taught his medical students under the shade of a plane tree. Even today, visitors to the Isle of Kos can see the place that is marked as "Hippocrates tree." A plane tree is known in the U.S. as a sycamore tree, prevalent in California and elsewhere. Community leaders planted one in front of the Victorian that originally housed the library to commemorate its opening in spring of 1989.
The Planetree concept has taken root in many other places throughout the United States and internationally, through affiliations with hospitals, medical centers, and other community organizations, and through years of shared philosophy and purpose with like-minded health care professionals, hospital administrators, medical librarians, community activists, and informed, empowered individuals.
As of May 1, 1998, the Planetree national office is located in Derby, Connecticut. Now known as Planetree, Inc. the organization of locally owned and operated Planetree-affiliated hospitals and health resource centers will be administered as a subsidiary of Griffin Health Services Corporation. A Planetree affiliate since 1992, the Griffin Hospital promotes Planetree principles throughout its 161 bed hospital. For inquires about Planetree services, programs, products, and consultation, contact the national administrative office by phone at 203-732-7500.
Some Planetree Health Resource Centers offer a Medical Research Service to their local communities. They will prepare (typically for a fee) a literature search or information packet on your topic, selecting from medical library materials, databases, and Internet resources. Since 1981, the Planetree Health Library in San Francisco has offered an Information-By-Mail service for people who don't have access to a Health Resource Center in their community. For more information about this service, contact the San Francisco staff at (415) 923-3681.
Through the years, hundreds of agencies have consulted with Planetree to establish or expand a health library for their community. In addition, some have formally affiliated with the national organization and are listed here.