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Charting the Course for the 21st Century: NLM's Long Range Plan 2006-2016

he Board approved Charting the Course for the 21st Century: NLM's Long Range Plan 2006-2016 on September 19, 2006. It is available in three formats:

It includes the following chapters:

At its September 2004 meeting, the NLM Board of Regents decided to develop a Long Range Plan for 2006-2016. A Subcommittee on Planning was appointed, and was co-chaired by the Honorable Newt Gingrich and Dr. William Stead; members include Dr. Holly Buchanan, Dr. Wallace Conerly, Dr. Thomas Detre and Dr. Kenneth Walker.

In April 2005, a Strategic Visions Working Group comprised of outstanding leaders from all sectors of NLM's diverse constituencies met to provide the broadest view of NLM's mission, current situation, and its potential future contributions to the health and well-being of America in the 21st Century. A vision statement identified new scientific, medical, technical, social and economic developments that may impact national and global needs for research, clinical and patient data and information. It formed the basis for the creation of four long range planning panels that met twice each during the months of November-December 2005, and February-March 2006, named and chaired as follows:

  • Resources and Infrastructure: Dr. Edward Shortliffe and Ms. Gail Yokote
  • Health Information for Underserved and Diverse Populations: Dr. Louis Sullivan and Ms. Eugenie Prime
  • Support for Clinical and Public Health Systems: Dr. Reed Gardner
  • Support for Genomic Science: Dr. Daphne Preuss

Nearly 100 panelists worked to identify the forward-looking strategies and infrastructure that will enable NLM to maintain its role as a premier national library and positive force for change in the US and abroad in the 21st Century. The panelists considered, among many relevant issues and trends, exciting changes in genomic and computer science, scientific publication models, and transformational changes in health care delivery, electronic health records, and quality and safety made possible by new information technology. The promise of new research correlating genotype, phenotype and environmental data figured prominently in their deliberations, as did the challenges posed by a critical lack of space needed to house NLM's programs and collections; the existence of health disparities among the underserved; a lack of trust in societal institutions, including government; and the mitigation of threats to the public health from disasters and epidemics.

At its May 2006 meeting, the Board accepted with thanks the individual reports of the four planning panels, discussed the recommendations contained therein, and requested that NLM staff prepare a consolidated 10-year Plan based on these reports along with appropriate staff input.

These pre-report planning documents are also available:

Reports of the Four Planning Panels (MS Word)

Planning Panel Information, including background documents

Other Planning Documents

NLM Health Disparities Strategic Research Plan and Budget, 2009-2013 (PDF - 275K)

National Library of Medicine Long Range Plan 2000-2005 (PDF - 18 MB)

The NLM Track Record (PDF) (a description of NLM accomplishments and program plans relating to the Long Range Plan as of 1999)

A Global Vision for the National Library of Medicine 1998 (PDF - 2036K)

Education and Training of Health Sciences Librarians 1995

Improving Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Services 1993

Electronic Imaging 1990

Improving Health Professionals' Access to Information 1999 ("the DeBakey Outreach Report")

NLM Long Range Plan 1987


For print copies, please contact the NLM Office of Communications & Public Liaison, (301) 496-6308 or

For further information about NLM's Long Range Plan, please contact Dr. Barbara Rapp, Chief, Office of Planning and Analysis ( ).


*PDF documents require the use of Adobe® Reader, which can be downloaded from Adobe's Web site at no charge.