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Associate Fellowship Program


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Program Objectives (Back to the top)

The National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship Program is a one-year postgraduate training fellowship at the NLM in Bethesda, Maryland, with an optional second year program component. The program is designed to provide a broad foundation in health sciences information services, and to prepare librarians for future leadership roles in health sciences libraries and in health services research. The Associate Fellows are introduced to a wide range of technologies and skills used in managing information at a national library. The program provides an opportunity to:

  • Gain exposure to and experience in many of the concepts, skills, and technologies that are shaping the future of the library and information fields.
  • Explore the role of research and development activities in providing biomedical information services to the health professions.
  • Examine current issues and trends affecting the library and information fields.
  • Prepare for careers in traditional and nontraditional settings in the fields of librarianship and information science.

Appointments for Associate Fellows are made for one year with a stipend of $51,630 (2009 GS-9/1, DC area) plus a monthly health insurance stipend. Associate Fellows are expected to complete the full training program (September-August).

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, February 1, 2013

Program Year (Back to the top)

The National Library of Medicine carries out its programs through:

  • Library Operations - The largest of NLM's components selects, acquires, catalogs, indexes, provides access to and disseminates the material in NLM's collection.
  • Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications - Conducts research in the uses of advanced computer and communications technologies to improve the organization, dissemination, and utilization of biomedical information.
  • Specialized Information Services - Provides access to information on toxicology through computerized databases.
  • Extramural Programs - Administers the Medical Library Assistance Act through grants and contracts.
  • Office of Computer and Communications Systems - Provides data processing and data communications support for all elements of the Library.
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information - Creates automated systems for knowledge about molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics; performs basic research on the structure, function, and evolution of biological macromolecules; and coordinates efforts to gather biotechnology information worldwide.

The fellowship is divided into two phases, the first being a structured curriculum and the second being project-sourced.

CURRICULUM (September-January). The Associate Fellows receive training in all components of the NLM's operations. The curriculum is divided into 18 different functional units. These units vary in length and topics and may include:

  1. Management
  2. Administration
  3. Collection Development
  4. Organization of Information
  5. NLM Technology
  6. Document Delivery
  7. Preservation
  8. Collection Management
  9. Customer Service, Training, User Support
  10. Services to Special Populations
  11. Intramural and Extramural Research
  12. National and International Leadership
  13. Information Products
  14. Consumer Health Information
  15. Policy and Standards Development
  16. Education and Training of Biomedical Information Professionals
  17. Communication and Promotion
  18. Project Management, Research and Evaluation

The training is done through lectures, discussion, selected hands-on experience and formal classes. In addition to the technical aspects, there is an emphasis on the research activities and management aspects of each topic. The purpose of this training is to develop problem-solving skills through experience in a large-scale, diverse and highly technical work environment. During this phase, the Associate Fellows also have site visits to other libraries in the area.

PROJECTS (February-August). The latter half of the program focuses on individualized projects related to the study, research, and evaluation of NLM programs and services. Each Associate Fellow selects two projects of three to seven months duration, with a staff member guiding each project. The results are delivered in written reports and informal presentations. The purpose of the projects is to create a self-directed course of study and investigation and to meet the challenge of interpreting results for decision-making in a library environment. A Spring Practicum is completed by each Associate Fellow at another library/information institution during this phase as well.

Optional Second Year

The NLM Associate Fellowship Program includes an optional second year at a library or information center in an academic health sciences center, hospital, or other health-related organization. The additional year provides an opportunity to develop skills and gain experience in working with administrators, librarians, health professionals, system developers, and educators to design and implement information services that are integrated with clinical and/or educational programs and contribute directly to accomplishing the parent institution's mission.

Who May Apply (Back to the top)

The NLM Associate Fellowship Program is open to U.S. and Canadian library and information science professionals, as well as graduate students completing their degrees. The qualification requirements are:

  • Master's degree in an ALA-approved library/information science program, earned by August of the year of appointment or within 2 years.
  • United States or Canadian citizenship
    Canadians with ALA-accredited Master's degrees should use the same application process as U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens will receive first preference.
  • Experience is desirable, but not essential.
  • NOTE: The international program is focused on Sub-Saharan Africa. International applicants should visit the International Associates page for more information.

Project Administrator (Back to the top)

The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), managed and operated by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), administers this program for the National Library of Medicine through an interagency agreement with the Department of Energy.


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