Skip Navigation Bar

NLM/AAHSL Co-sponsor 2010-2011 Leadership Fellows Program for Future Academic Health Sciences Library Directors

The National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce the 2010-2011 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.

NLM director Donald A. B. Lindberg said, "We are impressed with the successes of this leadership development program in preparing promising library managers for directorship positions. It has been a highly effective collaboration with AAHSL, and we look forward to continued participation in the program."

"The program is entering an unprecedented ninth year of identifying and developing the future leaders of academic health sciences libraries," said AAHSL president Connie Poole. "The partnership with NLM has demonstrated its value as graduates assume directorships and other senior positions."

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.

Forty fellows have participated in the program since its inauguration in 2002. To date, fifteen fellows have assumed director positions.

"Because of the self-assessment and reflection I engaged in, I had a stronger picture of what I had to offer as a director," said Teresa Knott, fellow, class of 2005-2006, and director at Virginia Commonwealth University. "The conversations-within our cohort, with my mentor, and with the people I met through the program-gave me the opportunity to consider issues facing the profession and the many facets of being a director."

Heidi Heilemann, fellow, class of 2007-2008, and director at Stanford University, said, "The program provided me with invaluable access to a diverse and knowledgeable cohort of fellows and mentors. I plan to tap into the resource of a network of experts on a variety of topics from all over the country for many years to come. The program is robust and rich in many ways."

Scott Plutchak, mentor, classes of 2003-2004 and 2008-2009, and director at University of Alabama at Birmingham, stated, "What I have found so rewarding is that it puts me in a position to really think reflectively about what I'm doing and why-from very concrete decisions to more nebulous areas of motivation and leadership style. What I've gained from the program as a mentor has more than repaid the time and effort that I've put into it."

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; webinars 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 2, 2010, deadline for potential fellows for the 2010-2011 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.

Directors with at least five years' experience as director of an academic health sciences library should indicate preliminary interest in being matched as a mentor by contacting the AAHSL Future Leadership Committee by August 2.

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,