NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program, 2011-2012

The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) is pleased to announce the 2011-2012 year of the leadership program jointly sponsored by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and 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, M.D. “Since 2002, this leadership program has been invaluable in preparing library managers who are rising stars to move into directorship positions.”

AAHSL president Patricia Thibodeau said, “AAHSL is proud of this highly successful program which is preparing our future academic health sciences library leaders. This is a critical program for our libraries and our field, and we are pleased that our partnership with NLM is entering its tenth year.”

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.

Forty-five fellows have participated in the program since its inauguration in 2002. To date, seventeen fellows have been appointed to director positions.

“As I reflect back, I realize yet again what a wonderful and expanding experience the year was,” said Judy Burnham, fellow, class of 2004-2005, and director atUniversity of SouthAlabama. “My mentor helped me to see the importance of building relationships across campus, the cohort has provided me with sounding boards, and the curriculum helped raise my awareness of issues.”

Nadine Dexter, fellow, class of 2006-2007, and director atUniversity of CentralFlorida, said, “The confidence I gained while in the program has helped me with the tasks of bringing up a new academic health sciences library. The most valuable experiences for me were the Capstone and the visits to my mentor’s library. My mentor was an excellent guide throughout the year and shared with me many skills needed to navigate a directorship.”

Barbara Epstein, mentor, class of 2010-2011, and director atUniversityofPittsburgh, stated, “Being a mentor has given me the opportunity and motivation to reflect on my own leadership style and management decisions. Moving through the curriculum and planning my fellow’s visits prompted me to view my organization from a different vantage point. Mentoring the next generation of leaders has been highly rewarding, both personally and professionally.”

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, 2011, deadline for potential fellows for the 2011-2012 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 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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