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


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to announce the 2012-2013 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 continues to be pleased with the success of this collaboration with AAHSL," said NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD. "Since 2002, this leadership program has been invaluable in preparing library managers who are rising stars to move into directorship positions."

AAHSL president Gary Freiburger said, "AAHSL is proud of this successful program, which is meeting a critical need in our libraries. As it enters its eleventh year, it has a proven track record in identifying, encouraging, and preparing future academic health sciences library directors. We are delighted to continue our partnership with NLM."

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 a small cohort of fellows and will underwrite travel and meeting expenses.

Fifty fellows have participated in the program since its inauguration in 2002. To date, 19 fellows have been appointed to director positions.

"The program was a defining influence on my career," said Brian Bunnett, fellow, class of 2003-2004, and library director at the University of New Mexico. "It has been eight years since I completed the program, but I will continue to benefit for the rest of my career from the contacts I made, the knowledge I gained, and the confidence it instilled in me."

Beth Layton, fellow, class of 2004-2005, and library director, Northeast Ohio Medical University, said, "As I tackle new issues and position the library to reflect the institutional and external environment, I continue to realize how much I learned during the fellowship. I incorporate what I learned on trends and politics into planning and daily operations. I believe my institution benefits from my participation in the program."

Jean Shipman, mentor, class of 2010-2011, and library director at the University of Utah, stated, "While you think you can't afford the time, you can't afford not to make the time. Through participation, you get to connect directly with nine other librarians to glean wisdom from their contexts, experience, and in-depth knowledge. If you would like permission to take time to contemplate issues key to the successful management of libraries, working with your fellow offers such an opportunity."

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 1, 2012, deadline for potential fellows for the 2012-2013 experience. Candidates for fellow should have a strong interest in pursuing a directorship in academic health sciences libraries, as well as significant management experience. Applications are welcomed from professionals working in academic health sciences libraries, hospital libraries, or other library-related settings. 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 1.

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,


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