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NLM/AAHSL Co-sponsor 2008-2009 Leadership Fellows Program for Future Academic Health Center Library Directors

The National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce the 2008-2009 year of the leadership program jointly sponsored with the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL). The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program is focused on preparing emerging leaders for the position of library director in academic health sciences libraries.

"This collaboration of NLM and AAHSL is of exceptional value for the next generation of directors, and the program has benefited both fellows and mentors," said AAHSL president Linda Watson. "Our evaluation shows that it has contributed to the quality of leadership in the profession."

Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in a variety of learning settings, including exposure to leadership in another environment. They will be paired with mentors who are academic health sciences library directors. In addition to the individual relationship with their mentors, fellows benefit from working collaboratively with other fellows and mentors. Experienced program faculty and mentors will provide content and facilitation for the cohort. The program takes advantage of flexible scheduling and an online learning community to minimize disruption to professional and personal schedules. The sponsors will provide financial support for up to five fellows and will underwrite travel and meeting expenses.

Thirty fellows have participated in the program since its inauguration in 2002. To date, seven former fellows have assumed director positions.

"The program helped sharpen my focus and convinced me that becoming a director was a worthwhile ambition," noted Jett McCann, fellow, class of 2004-2005, and director at Georgetown University. "It exposed me to what a variety of directors actually do and how they work. The comradeship forged with my cohort colleagues continues; we are each others' best critics, advisers, and champions."

Jerry Perry, fellow, class of 2002-2003, and director at University of Colorado, said, "It provided an opportunity to reflect and put my career goals into perspective. The relationship and dialogue I established with my program mentor serve as an ongoing source of insight and discovery, and I'm certain it will make me a better director."

Judith Robinson, mentor, class of 2007-2008, and assistant dean at Eastern Virginia, stated, "As a new mentor in the program, I was thrilled with the opportunity to work in such a collaborative environment with the fellows and other mentors. The experiences with external experts and the chance to work closely with my fellow resulted in one of my most rewarding years as a director."

Program Overview

The one-year program design is multi-faceted: three in-person leadership institutes; attendance at an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting; a yearlong fellow/mentor relationship; Web-based courses and discussions on issues related to library leadership; and a two-week site visit to the mentor's home library (in one or two-week segments).

The program is designed to:

  • Introduce fellows to leadership theory and practical tools for implementing change at organizational and professional levels;
  • Introduce fellows to critical issues facing academic health sciences libraries;·
  • Develop meaningful professional relationships between fellows and mentors that give fellows access to career guidance and support;
  • Expose fellows to another academic health sciences library and its institutional leadership under the guidance of their mentors;
  • Examine career development and provide models of directors to fellows;
  • Create a cohort of leaders who will draw upon each other for support throughout their careers;
  • Promote diversity in the leadership of the profession; and
  • Offer recognition to emerging leaders and enhance the competitive standing of fellows as they pursue director positions.


The NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program is currently accepting applications and nominations for the August 1, 2008, deadline for potential fellows and mentors for the 2008-2009 experience. Candidates for fellow should have a strong interest in pursuing a directorship in academic health sciences libraries, as well as a minimum of five years of department head level or higher responsibility, or equivalent experience, in an academic health sciences library, hospital library, or other library-related setting. Applications from qualified minority candidates are encouraged. Mentors should have at least five years' experience as director of an academic health sciences library.

The program brochure, including information on program design, schedule, and application process, is available at ( For more information about the program, please contact Carolyn Lipscomb, Program Manager, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee, ( .