The origin of the Tulane Medical Library dates from the founding of the Medical College of Louisiana (now Tulane University School of Medicine) in 1834. First mention of the Library occurred in the faculty minutes of the College in 1844. In 1895, Dr. Rudolph Matas began his long history of support of the Library, devoting much of his energy and fortune to the expansion of its collections and services, for the benefit of students and faculty at his alma mater and medical practitioners everywhere. The Library was named in his honor in 1937.
Beyond the benefaction of Dr. Matas, other library endowments are those from the estates or families of Arthur Bernard Brown; Louis Augustus Burgess, M.D.; Herman Gessner, M.D.; C. Edmund Kells, D.D.S.; James D. Kenny; Isaac Ivan Lemann, M.D.; Andrew D. Mouledous, M.D.; Maurice Stern; Jacob Ambrose Storck, M.D.; Gloria Walsh; Eva Evelyn Weinstein; Harry B. Greenberg, M.D.; John L. & Elsie B. Martinez; and Guillermo Pacheco. Other funds that provide annual support ot the Matas Library mission are the Alumni Medical Library Fund, Alumni Journal Support Fund, and History of Medicine Society Library Fund.
Rudolph Matas Library was significantly refurbished in 2008, including a redesign of the main reading room on the second floor of the medical school. The renovation allowed for 24/7 access to computing, printing, and scanning resources; including a new commons, comfortable community study and group study areas. The renovation and furniture purchases were financially supported by Dr. John Doty and the TUHSC Auxiliary. The Matas Library currently has a total of over 157,819 print volumes and access to over 14,000 online journal titles and a growing collection of health science e-book titles. Librarians serve as liaisons to the academic departments and are committed to increase the educational services and outreach in academic teaching, research and the greater community.
Four individuals served as the Library Director over the Twentieth Century: Jane Grey Rogers, Mary Louise Marshall, William D. Postell, and W.D. Postell, Jr. The Library continues to be an essential resource for health sciences faculty, staff and students in the Twenty-first Century, serving New Orleans' medical and public health communities in new and expanded ways. Since early January 2009, the Matas Library has been under the leadership of a new director, Neville Prendergast. Prior to coming to Tulane, Mr. Prendergast received a graduate degree in library science from the University of Buffalo and served as Assistant Librarian of the Health Sciences Libraries at Buffalo, then as Associate Director for Becker Medical Library at Washington University in St. Louis. Mr. Prendergast also holds a graduate degree in Science Education.