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Library History


About Dr. Carpenter

The Coy C. Carpenter Library is named in honor of the late Dr. Coy Cornelius Carpenter. Dr. Carpenter was a pathologist who, in essence, established the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, and served as dean of the school for 26 years before being named vice president for medical affairs.

Dr. Carpenter served his entire professional career as a member of the faculty and administration of the institution. During his tenure as dean from 1936 to 1963, he witnessed a time of dramatic growth in medical knowledge which brought about sweeping changes in medical education and medical practice. With these changes came new challenges and frequent crises for the school. Because of his ability to meet the needs and challenges of medical education, it was said that Dr. Carpenter “built a shoe around a shoestring”. Indeed, no one has contributed more than he to the success of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine (renamed Wake Forest School of Medicine in 1997).

He skillfully guided the institution through its change from a two-year school of medicine at Wake Forest College in the town of Wake Forest, NC, to the four-year school that relocated in 1941 to Winston-Salem and affiliated with the North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Inc.

From Humble Beginnings

When the School of Medical Sciences of Wake Forest College was established in September of 1902, a variety of textbooks, reference works and journals were acquired to assist the faculty as well as students. After 1915 these materials were collectively known as the Pennell Memorial Medical Library. They were housed separately in part of the general Wake Forest College Library located in the Alumni Building on the college campus in the town of Wake Forest, NC. This collection was cared for and serviced by its one librarian.

When the School of Medical Sciences moved to Winston-Salem in 1941, the library was located on the first floor of the Medical School building. When additional space was acquired by the school in 1951 and 52, library materials were also moved to the ground floor of that building. Expansion continued when the James A. Gray building was completed in the 1958-59 school year. The Gray building was connected to the original medical school building, and after several departments moved into the building, the library was able to obtain some space that had been used for research earlier. In 1972, the library moved to the first floor of the Gray building, where it still is today. The library’s holdings have grown along with its floor space; in 1941 it had fewer than 2,500 volumes, but today it has over 145,000!

At Your Service

As the library has grown, so have the services offered to students, faculty, staff and community researchers. With the advances in technology, we have seen many changes in the volume and form of information available. The library works to provide the most up-to-date options to patrons so that you can find exactly what you need. Here’s a quick look at the changes that have occurred over the years:

Services added in: 


Interlibrary loan and photocopying


Teletype network linking CCC Library with other libraries



Dorothy Carpenter Medical Archives established to preserve and provide access to the history of the school and hospital

Online access to Medline, Toxline, and Dialog databases

Audiovisual resources section offering audiotapes, videotapes, and computer programs 



Microcomputers available for patron use in Learning Resource Center

Computer Aided Instruction (CAI), system for accessing databases through terminals for self-instruction

Customized bibliographic and research services

Drug Information Service Center (DISC) formed to offer clinical, educational and research support concerning drugs to all health professionals



Access to Micromedex, TOMES (Toxicology Occupational Medicine and the Environment) and Science Citation Index databases available

Holdings accessed via computer catalog



Access to over 1,500 online journals and textbooks

Access to over 50 databases online, including Biological Abstracts, MD Consult, UpToDate, InfoPoems

Document delivery and interlibrary loan services provided through online service called ILLiad, which electronically sends and tracks requests

PDA/mobile computing resources added

Ask a Librarian service offered via e-mail and instant messenger



Library space renovated to meet changing needs


Community Connections

Carpenter Library works to provide access to medical information to members of the community as well as the students, staff and faculty of the medical center. The public is welcome to come in and use our resources (by appointment), and we work closely with several law firms and other businesses to help them find the information they need. We offer a Patient Education page on our website as well. It is designed to help lay people, students, patients and families of patients find information and service organizations that will be helpful to them.

The library also works with the Northwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to extend library services to 17 counties in North Carolina. This relationship began in 1974, and over the years the services offered through AHEC have expanded. These new services evolved into a cooperative library information network (LINK), composed of four hospital consortia with regional hospital centers at Boone, Hickory, Salisbury and Winston-Salem.

Our Philosophy

We work to cultivate an innovative, forward-thinking approach in getting information in all it forms to our patrons. The latest technology combined with traditional attentive service helps us to distribute information as quickly and efficiently as possible.  We strive to meet all the needs of our patrons and have as our motivating philosophy that of the late Dr. Carpenter, “There is no alternative but success”.

Our Mission Statement

 To promote Health, Research, and Education in support of the goals of the core mission set forth by the Medical Center. 

Quick Reference

1st Floor, Gray Building

Archives 336-716-3690
Front Desk 336-716-4414
DocDel/ILL 336-716-4378
Resource Ctr 336-713-9761

Contact Us

Main Campus-1st FL Gray
Mon-Thu 7 am - Midnight
Fri 7 am - 6 pm
Sat 10 am - 6 pm
Sun 1 pm - Midnight
Student Resource Center
3rd Fl BGCME
Mon - Thu 8 am - 10 pm
Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Sat 10 am - 6 pm
Sun Noon - 8 pm
The Library is open to the public by prior arrangement only during regular operating hours.
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Last Updated: 09-15-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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