The CAS Library collection originates from the 1939 Carnegie Corporation grant to review the world’s alcohol literature, which was meant to fill the void to survey and review the scattered literature on alcohol. The review project, led by E.M. Jellinek, was so successful that the staff of scholars and documentalists was invited to continue the operations at the Laboratory of Applied Physiology at Yale. The abstracts, later published in the QJSA, became the foundation of a singular repository for publications on alcohol, known as the Classified Abstract Archive of the Alcohol Literature (CAAAL). The CAAAL used McBee cards—a type of edge-notched punch card. Out of these efforts also grew an Information Division within the laboratory, which housed, organized, and cataloged the alcohol literature.
Since the CAS Library evolved from the activities of Yale and RU CAS, it became the home of many historical artifacts representing the trends throughout the development of alcohol studies. The Library had been affiliated with Rutgers University Libraries, operating as an independent entity focusing on the information needs of CAS faculty and addiction professionals until its closure in December 2016 following a change in the reporting structure at the Center.
The collection, formerly housed in the Brinkley and Adele Smithers Hall, Busch Campus, Piscataway, New Jersey, had been relocated and integrated in the collection of the Rutgers University Libraries. Before its closure, the Information Services Division was engaged in a variety of projects, including digitizing its archives.
One of the last projects was called R4R: Reading for Recovery, funded by a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association. It was another Carnegie grant, awarded in 1938 by the Carnegie Corporation, that funded the Center of Alcohol Studies’ own E. M. Jellinek and Mark Keller in their work reviewing the literature on the effects of alcohol on the individual. The results of this work would eventually be published as the Classified Abstract Archive of the Alcohol Literature (CAAAL). While the CAAAL abstracted scholarly and scientific literature relating to alcohol, Reading for Recovery aims to draw attention to popular works that deal with issues relating to alcohol and substance abuse, be they fiction or non-fiction.
In a way, however, the staff saw the projects as two sides of the same coin, with both dedicated to increasing the visibility and use of literature relating to addiction and were thrilled to be following in the footsteps of Jellinek and Keller by creating their own collection of addiction literature, grateful for a Carnegie grant has once again made this possible.