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Call for Applications: NLM/Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) Leadership Fellows Program, 2016-2017

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to announce the 2016-2017 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. The application deadline is July 22, 2016.

“This program has been an unqualified success since its launch in 2002,” observed NLM Acting Director Betsy L. Humphreys. “We are so pleased to be a partner in it, and to witness its positive impact on the participants — both fellows and mentors — and on the management of libraries across the nation.”

AAHSL President Ruth Riley said: “The Leadership Fellows Program has an outstanding record of fulfilling AAHSL’s goal to produce the next generation of excellent executive leaders of academic health sciences libraries.  In partnership with the National Library of Medicine, the Program serves as an exemplar of leadership development in library science, information technology, and academic medicine, helping to ensure that the future of academic health sciences libraries is very bright.”

The Leadership Fellows Program has been remarkably successful in helping to move well prepared leaders into AAHSL directors’ positions. Seventy-two fellows and 59 different mentors have participated in the program from 2002-2016. To date, 28 fellows have received director appointments and over 50% have been promoted to director or other positions of higher responsibility.

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.

What Participants Are Saying

Fellow 2002-03:  As a member of the first cohort I've continued to be amazed at the quality retained and further refined as the Leadership Fellows Program has evolved. The perspective it provided has continued to sustain me in the decade plus since my fellowship year.

Mentor 2011-12: The program has given me the opportunity of mentoring a talented and visionary librarian. I’ve learned at least as much as I’ve given. I now have a fresh perspective on my own leadership role at my institution and insights into other libraries. I’m looking forward to following my fellow’s career. Our profession is in good hands.

Mentor 2014-15: I found the program energizing. It gave me time and reason to focus on the big picture, instead of the miscellany of day-to-day operations, and reconnected me to some of the passion that infuses librarianship as a profession.

Fellow 2014-15: It has given me ideas and confidence to seek positions of greater leadership in the mid term. In the present, I've gotten some practical skills that are already useful in my current position.

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 year-long 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 July 22, 2016 deadline for potential fellows for the 2016-2017 experience. Candidates for fellow should have a strong interest in pursuing a directorship in academic health sciences libraries, as well as prior 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 Carol Jenkins at the address below by July 22nd.

The program brochure, which includes information on program design, schedule, and application process, is available at on the AAHSL website. For more information about the program, please contact Carol Jenkins, Program Director, AAHSL Future Leadership Committee,

Since its founding in 1836, the National Library of Medicine has played a pivotal role in translating biomedical research into practice and is a leader in information innovation. NLM is the world's largest medical library, and millions of scientists, health professionals and the public around the world use NLM services every day.