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

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to announce the 2013-2014 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 M.J. Tooey said, "AAHSL was one of the early organizations to recognize the importance of identifying and preparing future leaders. Our program, in partnership with NLM, has for more than a decade been a model for best practices in association leadership development programs. We are justifiably proud of the program and of the future leaders it has nurtured."

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-five fellows have participated in the program in the first eleven classes. To date, 22 fellows have been appointed to director positions.

"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."

Tania Bardyn, fellow, class of 2010-2011, and director, University of Washington, said, "The things taught in the program are not just about being a director, but about the means of leading, identifying the key issues we face today in health sciences libraries, and thinking of it as your ticket to change librarianship."

Evelyn Morgen, mentor, class of 2011-2012, and director at University of Connecticut, stated, "I think both of us-my fellow and I-added to our leadership skills and to our understanding of current issues facing academic medical libraries. It was especially interesting to see all this from the perspective of multiple institutions and ranges of career development."

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, 2013, deadline for potential fellows for the 2013-2014 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,

The National Library of Medicine, a component of the US National Institutes of Health, is the world's largest medical library.