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NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, 2014-2015

Call for Applications


The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 year of the leadership program jointly sponsored with the National Library of Medicine (NLM). 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 Jim Bothmer said, “For over ten years the Leadership Fellows Program has been an outstanding vehicle for AAHSL. In partnership with the National Library of Medicine, the program has been featured as one of the best library leadership courses in the nation. We are now in the second decade of the program and we look forward to producing more visionary individuals to lead academic health sciences libraries into the future. This is a crown jewel of AAHSL and we are proud of our record to date.”

Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in a variety of learning settings, including exposure to leadership in another library environment. Each fellow will be paired with a mentor who is an academic health sciences library director. In addition to the individual relationship with their mentors, fellows benefit from working collaboratively with others in their cohort.  Highly regarded program faculty and mentors will provide content and facilitation. The program takes advantage of flexible scheduling and an online learning community to minimize disruption to professional and personal schedules. NLM and AAHSL will provide financial support underwriting travel and other program expenses.

Two formal evaluations of the program have been conducted by an outside expert. The goals of both studies were to assess the impact of the program on the professional development and careers of fellows and the effectiveness of the curriculum in preparation to be a director. The evaluations confirm the success of the program goals and design.

Sixty-one fellows and fifty-two different mentors have participated in the program since its beginning. To date, twenty-six of fifty-five graduate fellows have received director appointments; overall, 76% of fellow graduates have been promoted to director or other positions of higher responsibility.
“The program has been invaluable to me as I guide and develop a library at a new medical school,” said Nadine Dexter, fellow, class of 2006-2007, and director at University of Central Florida. “I am using many of the concepts and principles, as well as tapping into the network of colleagues. Even when the program is over, ideas and connections continue.”

John Gallagher, fellow, class of 2012-2013, now interim director at Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University, says, “I cannot emphasize enough just how rewarding participation in the program has been. The many conversations with my mentor, with the other fellows, and with other directors and consultants associated with the program have exposed me to a much broader spectrum of concepts and issues that health sciences library directors confront in their roles.”

A mentor in the 2012-2013 program notes, “Participating in this program as a mentor helped strengthen my knowledge and understanding of current challenges and opportunities for health sciences libraries.  It was a rich experience because of the intimate access I had to other library directors and future leaders.  For my fellow, whether she applies for a director position in the near or longer term, the experience helped to sharpen career goals and expectations for leadership opportunities.”

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 two weeks of site visit to the mentor’s home library.

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, 2014, deadline for potential fellows for the 2014-2015 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 Carol Jenkins, Program Director, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee,

The world’s largest biomedical library, NLM maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology.