NIH News Release
National Library of Medicine

Friday, June 30, 2000

Contact: Robert Mehnert
Kathy Cravedi
(301) 496-6308

NLM and the Medical Library Association to Support Scholarships, Recruitment for Minority Medical Librarians
American Library Association, Network Members Involved

Bethesda, Md. — The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has provided $102,000 to the Medical Library Association (MLA) to encourage minority students to choose health science librarianship as a career.

Through this support, the NLM will enable MLA to strengthen the Association's programs for recruiting minorities into the medical library profession and to increase scholarship opportunities for minority students seeking degrees in librarianship. NLM funds will be used to increase the size of the MLA's existing minority scholarship, to support, in partnership with MLA, the American Library Association's Spectrum Scholars program to attract students of color to graduate programs in library and information studies, and for outreach to minority college and high school students.

For many years NLM has actively recruited minority graduates of library schools to the NLM Associate Fellowship program, a highly successful post-masters internship program designed to develop future leaders in health sciences librarianship. (Information about the program is at Although these recruitment efforts have been successful in attracting some outstanding minority participants into the program, there is a distinct need to create more minority applicants in the pipeline. ]

"Only 9.5% of current library school graduates are members of minority groups. To increase diversity in health sciences librarianship we must greatly increase diversity in librarianship as a whole. MLA is very pleased to be working with NLM and with the American Library Association on concrete steps toward this goal," said J. Michael Homan, current MLA President. NLM Associate Director for Library Operations, Betsy L. Humphreys, stated that "Expanding the number of minorities in librarianship becomes even more critical as patients, family members, and the public turn to the World Wide Web and local libraries for health information. We need diversity if we are to build health information services that are understandable and sensitive to the concerns of all who need them."

The Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center, which is the Regional Medical Library for the South Central Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, will coordinate the work on behalf of the NLM. The project officer for the Medical Library Association is Carla J. Funk, Executive Dirctor, 312-419-9094, ext. 14; email:

The Medical Library Association is an educational organization of more than 1,100 institutions and 3,800 individual members in the health sciences information field. MLA members serve society by developing new health information delivery systems, fostering educational and research programs for health sciences information professionals, and encouraging an enhanced public awareness of health care issues.

The National Library of Medicine, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, is the world's largest medical library. The Library supports the 4500-member National Network of Libraries of Medicine through contracts with eight Regional Medical Libraries, each responsible for a different area of the U.S.