AHEC Digital Library (ADL)

North Carolina AHEC

AHEC and Outreach Services Department
Health Sciences Library
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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“The happy marriage of your library system and the internet puts the discovery of published material critical to the small-community based medical practitioner on the same footing as for a practitioner in the heart of a major university.”

– MAHEC physician

The NC AHEC Digital Library (ADL) is a collection of digital library services and resources to support health care in North Carolina. The ADL supports the NC AHEC Program and its libraries, as well as ADL hospital consortium members located throughout North Carolina.

The ADL was initially launched in 2000 with the support of a grant from the Duke Endowment, as an innovative effort to use new digital tools to expand access to library resources. Today, after more than fifteen years of success, the ADL is the primary method of library resource access for thousands of health care providers. According to one MAHEC physician, “The happy marriage of your library system and the internet puts the discovery of published material critical to the small-community based medical practitioner on the same footing as for a practitioner in the heart of a major university.”

Now the ADL is fully supported by the NC AHEC Program and membership fees, and it is a part of the NC AHEC Information and Library System Network. The NC AHEC ILS Network provides guidance to the development of the ADL and assistance to the health care providers and students who depend on the ADL.

The librarians who develop and manage the ADL are part of the Community Engagement, AHEC, and Outreach Services Department of the Health Sciences Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Staff at the Health Sciences Library UNC Chapel Hill include:


The ADL supports the delivery of quality, evidence-based health care across North Carolina. Due to the health care resources the ADL provides, NC health care providers have access to the current information resources necessary to provide quality care, even in rural underserved areas of the state. These resources include electronic databases, journals, and e-books, which members of the ADL can access through the ADL web portal. The ADL provides extensive services and links to important health care resources for any health care professional, even those who are unaffiliated with a health care system or academic institution. See the complete list of resources

Categories of ADL Members

The ADL provides access to a single, customized, web-based interface into key health information resources and services for ADL members. An ADL membership provides access to full-text journals, books, and electronic databases, as well as special health topic collections and links to carefully evaluated clinical and educational tools.

North Carolina Hospital Members

Through the ADL, more than 37 North Carolina hospitals and hospital systems have formed a consortium for joint purchasing of core e-journal subscriptions, e-books, and databases. Authorized users can access the consortium’s resources from locations within the hospital intranets and or from any Internet access point. To access the ADL as a hospital member, a user must be affiliated with one of the hospitals or health care systems in the consortium.

NC Health Professionals Individual Memberships

North Carolina health professionals who are not affiliated with one of the hospitals in the ADL consortium may purchase one of a limited number of individual ADL memberships. A limited number of these individual memberships are available for NC health professionals in clinical practice, for an annual membership fee. The resources available to this group are the same as those available to the hospital consortium members.

Community-based Preceptors, Faculty, and Medical Residents AHEC Digital Library (ADL) memberships

The AHEC Digital Library (ADL) provides support for the regional primary care educational programs of NC colleges and universities by facilitating access to the library resources of their affiliated campuses. Off-campus faculty, preceptors, and medical residents who teach health sciences students can be assigned an ADL membership in order to authenticate to the resources of their affiliated schools. In order to receive an ADL membership, documentation of status by the administrators for the health affairs programs must be provided to ADL or AHEC staff.

If you have any questions or would like additional information about access to library resources, please contact AHEC Digital Library staff

Collaborators on AHEC Health Quality and Workforce Initiatives

The ADL provides access to the online collaborative workspaces provided for the many AHEC sponsored groups who are working together on AHEC initiatives. The AHEC Practice Support Program and several other clinical or educational groups make use of this service.

Last modified: 12/01/21