Gary Freiburger
President, AAHSL 2011-2012 andGary.jpg
Director Arizona Health Science Library
University of Arizona

October 2, 2012

AAHSL Committee Appointments
Thanks to everyone who volunteered to serve on our committees this year.  President-Elect MJ Toomey worked diligently to match up volunteers to vacancies.  Fortunately we had more volunteers than vacancies.  If you were not notified of an appointment you have been placed on our “reserve list” in case a vacancy opens up during the year.
AAMC Reorganization
Concerned about the lack of direct faculty involvement in AAMC, the AAMC Board has voted to change the make-up of the Council of Academic Societies.  Now, in addition to two representatives from each member Society (AAHSL is included in this group – Deborah Halstead and Jim Bothmer are our representatives), there will be additional representatives from the member college faculties.  There may be an opportunity for AAHSL members to be appointed in this capacity.  We are waiting to get more information on how the faculty representatives will be solicited.
Early in September AAHSL joined MLA in sending letters to the chairs and ranking members of several congressional committees.  The letters addressed the effect of budget sequestration on the NLM and urged congress to work together to find an alternative.  Please find the a sample copy titled: “201209 sequestration letter”.
We also signed on to a letter written by AAMC to various members of congress that expresses concern not only about the amount of funding to NIH in the FY2013 budget but primarily about the many regulations and stipulations added to the funding bill.  You can get all of the details in the this letter: “Community LHHS Sign-on 0912”.  As I write this over 100 organizations have signed on.  They range from our sister academic organizations such as AACP and AACN to national groups such as the March of Dimes and even include individual hospitals.

September 4, 2012

Slate of nominees for AAHSL Offices
At the membership meeting in November we will vote on candidates for two positions.  For the Board of Directors our nominee is Barbara Epstein, Director, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System.  For President-elect our nominee is Jim Bothmer, Associate Vice President for Health Sciences and Director of the Health Sciences Library, Creighton University.  Thanks to our nominating committee, MJ Tooey, Carol Jenkins and Jane Blumenthal.
Candidate Biosketches
Jim Bothmer has been Director of the Creighton University Health Sciences Library/Learning Resources Center and Assistant Professor in the Schools ofMedicine and Pharmacy and Health Professions for over 20 years.  Prior to that he was at the University of Wyoming Health Sciences Information Network, the University of New Mexico Medical Center Library, the University of Colorado Health Sciences Library, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Library.  He has been in the medical library profession for over 36 years.  In January 2008 he was promoted to Assistant Vice President for Health Sciences in addition to his Director responsibilities and in July 2011 he was promoted to Associate Vice President for Health Sciences.  He has served  AAHSL as a member of the Annual Statistics Editorial Board (now Assessment and Statistics) from  1997-2000.  He was on the Board of Directors of AAHSL from 2007-2010.  He has also served on the Nominating Committee (2005), theScholarly Communications Committee (2003-05) and the Scenario Planning TaskForce (2005-06).  In November 2011 he was appointed to a three-year term as the AAHSL representative to the AAMC’s Council on Academic Societies.
Barbara A. Epstein is Director of the University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System (HSLS), and Director of the Middle Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.  She currently chairs AAHSL’s Future Leadership Committee, and has been a mentor in the NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program.  In the past, she chaired AAHSL’s Program and Education Committee, and served on the Assessment and Statistics Committee and the Charting the Future Committee.  She was also a Planning Committee member and faculty for the New Directors Symposium II in 2010.  Barbara is currently Chair of MLA’s Scholarly Communications Committee and an MLA delegate to the Joint AAHSL/MLA Legislative Task Force.  Her professional contributions include 18 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and numerous posters, papers and presentations.
AAHSL Events at AAMC
You can find a complete list of AAHSL-related events at the AAMC meeting at:
or by clicking on the “Annual Meeting” tab on the AAHSL home page.

August 1, 2012

AcademicQuestion of the Year
In May I sent you a copy of AAHSL’s response to the second question that AAMC has posed, “What are the most effective ways to ensure that those who work and learn in medical schools and teaching hospitals can develop to their full potential?”  Liz Bayley, Jo-Anne Petropoulos and Andrea McLellan from the Health Sciences Library atMcMaster University crafted an excellent response.   Liz reported this in an email to everyone several weeks ago but I’m happy to repeat the news that Academic Medicine will be publishing, “Fluency not competency or expertise is needed to incorporate evidence into practice.”  Thanks again to this team for their outstanding work!
Scholarly Communication
Recently, at the request of the Board, the Scholarly Communication Committee (ScholComm) conducted an informal survey of the members on attitudes toward open access and advocacy.  The results were distributed with my last President’s Message and are posted on the website in the survey section under Rajia Tobia’s name.  As a result of the survey ScholComm, with Board approval, has added an item to their charge – number 2 below.
“The AAHSL Scholarly Communication Committee was appointed in February 2003 to develop, recommend, and guide the implementation of a plan and activities in support of the Association’s stand on the range of issues relating to Scholarly Communication. Among the topics to be considered are
1) Models of scholarly publishing, including investigation, analysis and consideration of Association support, collaboration, or other responses;
2) Advocacy to advance sustainable, effective and economically viable models of scholarly communication that are beneficial to our user community;
3) Pricing or licensing of print and electronicresources, including strategies and activities to influence publisher or vendor actions or relations with libraries;  
4) Communications, strategies and activities toinform, educate, and collaborate with academic health sciences administrators, faculty, or others stakeholders and organizations in the scholarly communications process;  
5) Communications, strategies and activities toinform and educate Association members, including mechanisms for sharing and disseminating information from and to them through timely and appropriate methods.”

June 29, 2012

Leadership Fellows Program
We are gearing up for our eleventh year of the Leadership Fellows Program.  Over the past 10 years 50 fellows and 42 mentors have participated.  Over half of AAHSL member libraries have participated.  Wouldn’t you like to contribute by volunteering to be a mentor?  I can speak from experience that it’s a great learning opportunity for the mentor as well as the fellow and the time commitment is not a burden.   For more information contact Carolyn Lipscomb today at:  [email protected]  We welcome your participation whether it’s your first time as a mentor or your second or your third . . .
During the recent email discussion regarding AAHSL members and AMIA a librarian from one of our member libraries suggested that AMIA create a Librarian/Informationist Working Group.  She suggested that such a group would not only make librarians feel more welcome in AMIA but could also “influence programming in a way that would be meaningful to a wider audience of librarians."
We learned that AMIA Working Groups are grassroots organizations.  A description and procedures for forming a working group are listed here:
If you or a member of your staff are interested you could certainly use the AAHSL-all list to begin to locate colleagues interested in helping to form such a group.
This month AAHSL joined over 30 organizations in signing on to a letter to members of Congress urging them to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan to avoid cuts to “Non-Defense Discretionary” programs.  Programs facing cuts include many agencies including NIH (NDD signon June 2012).
The AAHSL Board asked the Scholarly Communications Committee to poll the membership regarding attitudes toward open access, the NIH Public Access policy, the role of AAHSL in advocating with publishers, etc.  The results are summarized in the attached document: ScholCommSurveySummary . . . and full results, including answers to open-ended questions are posted in the Survey section of the website under Rajia Tobia’s name.  Thanks to the committee for putting the survey together and cumulating the results.  The Board will use these results as we discuss the roles of the various AAHSL committees that deal with these issues.

June 1, 2012

Our revitalized website!
Our new website (same address: ) went live on Wednesday. I think you’ll be as impressed as I am with this new look.  Expect to see further improvements and additional content in the future.  Now of course the committee awaits your suggestions and will be working throughout the year to ensure that the sitestays up-to-date with fresh content.  Thanks to Judy Consales, Chair, Nancy Tannery, Donna Gibson and Mark Spasser, committee members and to Sarah Luczyk at headquarters for their hard work in bringing this project to completion well ahead of schedule!  
LCME Recommendations
Thanks to our LCME Task Force who reviewed sections ER-11 and ER-12 of the LCME Database for accreditation (see here) and recommended changes that reflect the changing nature of our libraries.  These recommendations were delivered to the appropriate people at the AMA and the AAMC last month.  Members of the Task Force were:  Melissa Just, Nadine Dexter, Janice Swiatek-Kelly, Liz Bayley, Jacqueline D. Doyle, Gail Yokote, Chris Shaffer and Sandra Franklin, Board Liaison.
New Libraries (written by Pat Thibodeau)
In recognition of the importance of supporting new medical schools, AAHSL has appointed a New Academic Health Sciences Libraries Task Force.  An outcome of this group has been the development of a symposium which will bring together representatives from schools currently in the LCME pipeline to discuss the planning process for library services and resources, discuss experiences and challenges, and share their vision of the medical school library for the 21st century.    The meeting is by invitation only and will take place on June 25-26, in Orlando Florida.    For more details you can visit the symposium Website at
Congratulations to our scholarship winners!
Each year AAHSL funds four scholarships to be used for leadership training.  Please join me in congratulating these four deserving recipients and in recognizing the support that their home institutions offer them so that they can participate.
    Will Olmstadt, MLS, MPH, Public Health Librarian, Becker Library, Washington University, for Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
     Neil Romanosky, MSLIS, MCIS, Assistant Director for Administration, NYU Health Sciences Libraries, for Harvard Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
    John Weed, MSIS, Head of Collection Resources, Briscoe Library, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, for TALL Texans Leadership Development Institute
      Misa Mi, PhD, MLIS, Medical Librarian, Medical Library, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, for application to Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in Health Professions

To commemorate and publicize the 10th anniversary of the NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows program, a poster was created and displayed at the MLA annual meeting in Seattle.  (see here)  Thanks to Carolyn Lipscomb, Barbara Epstein, Lynn Kasner Morgan, Julie Sollenberger and MJ Tooey for contributing.
One of AAHSL’s Goals is to strengthen the organization by improving our infrastructure.  In support of this goal, Pat Thibodeau reviewed and revised our travel policy this month to make it more understandable for officers and members of committees and task forces.  Thank you Pat!
AAHSL joined AAMC and 159 other organizations in signing a May 16 letter urging House and Senate appropriators to restore the statutorily mandated limit on the amount of salaries that can be paid from NIH extramural awards to Level I of the Federal Executive Schedule.  The board felt this was in the best interest of our institutions and the advancement of research.  (see here)

May 2, 2012

AAHSL President Message #6

Joint Legislative Task Force
(Thanks to Cynthia and MJ for their notes on this visit)
The Joint MLA/Legislative Task Force met on April 10th and 11th in Washington, DC.  The first day was primarily spent in briefings and preparation for visits to Capitol Hill on the second day.  The LTF received briefings on issues of interest from:
U.S. Copyright Office
American Association of Law Libraries
Association of American Medical Colleges
National Library of Medicine
Three teams of LTF members visited various Senators and Representatives on April 11th.  Packets were left at the offices of congressmen where there were no appointments.  The main two issues that were focused on during these educational visits were NLM/NIH funding and FRPAA.  Most of the staffers were knowledgeable about these issues and took notes regarding our viewpoint.
Our AAHSL representatives were:  Cynthia Henderson (Chair), Neil Rambo, Julie Schneider, M.J. Tooey (for Gary Freiburger), (Barbara Epstein also attended representing MLA)
Academic Question of the Year
This year’s question from the AAMC was:  "What are the most effective ways to ensure that those who work and learn in medical schools and teaching hospitals candevelop to their full potential?"
Thanks to Liz Bayley, Jo-Anne Petropoulos and Andrea McLellan, from the Health Sciences Library at McMaster University who put together a great response on behalf of AAHSL.  I've provided a link here for you..  It has been submitted to Academic Medicine.
DC Visits
As I mentioned last month, Pat Thibodeau, MJ Tooey and I spent April 19-20 visiting some of our “sister” organizations in Washington.  We met with representatives of AAMC, AMIA, ARL, NLM, and, for the first time, AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.)
Our message to each group varied slightly but usually included a description of our strategic plan, the results of our latest retirement survey and a description of the NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program.  In some cases we talked about the increasing numbers of new medical schools.  This was always followed by a lively give and take and an opportunity to look for potential partnerships or areas of mutual interest.

We discussed getting more librarians involved with AMIA’s 10X10 courses and expect an invitation to AMIA’s policy planning meeting in December.  We asked about the future of the RML program at NLM and were assured that the program will continue.  We also talked about how we can get involved in shaping the direction of the RML program and were encouraged that NLM iseager to gather ideas now before we get too close to another contract.  We talked about interprofessional education with AAMC and compared our leadership program with the one that AACP has developed.  Research data and outcomes measurement were some of the topics discussed at ARL.
The topics above are just a small sample of what was discussed.  With each group we found next steps to strengthen our ties and work together.

AASHL President Message #5

April 2, 2012

DC Visit
On April 19-20 your President (Freiburger), Past-President (Thibodeau) and President-elect (Tooey) will be visiting some of our “sister” organizations in Washington in order to explore areas of common interest and/or potential collaboration.  We’re scheduled to meet with AAMC, AMIA, ARL, NLM, and, for the first time, AACP (American Assn of Colleges of Pharmacy.)  Please let me know via email if you have any specific topics, issues or concerns that should be raised with any of thesegroups.  Thanks.
New Library Symposium
On June 25th and 26th AASHL will be sponsoring a symposium for new medical schools and health sciences campuses which will be creating new health sciences libraries.  An invitation went out last week to Deans ofthese new schools inviting them to send one or more representatives to the meeting to learn about the requirements for a new library and to network with those of us who have faced similar challenges.
Cornerstone Award
Each year the Board solicits nominations from the membership for the Cornerstone Award.  See for instructions on how to nominate someone.  Here is a brief description of the award:
The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) Cornerstone Award is given to an individual, group, or institution selected by the association's Board of Directors. The award is given for a notable or important contribution made during the most recent four years that has assisted AAHSL in achieving its mission or had significant impact on the profession of academic health sciences librarianship.
Changes to AAMC Meeting Schedule
AAMC has announced a new meeting schedule.  The new schedule includes times on Saturday and Monday when no other meetings can be held.  These exclusions will have an impact on our Saturday program and on our Monday Assessment & Statistics and Business meetings.   Chairs of several committees are negotiating in an attempt to reconcile our needs with the new schedule.  I’ve attached a copy of the schedule if you are interested.  (see attached)
Deborah Halsted and Jim Bothmer, our representatives to AAMC’s Council of Academic Societies (CAS), and Mary Moore representing AAHSL’s Teaching and Learning Committee, attended a meeting of CAS March 8-10 in Santa Fe, NM.  At the meeting they learned of a AAMC proposal to reduce the number of “society” representatives in CAS and to add two faculty members from each AAMC College.  Deborah, Jim and Mary all felt that this was a bad idea and AAHSL sent a letter to the CAS Chair and to Tony Mazzaschi, AAMC Director of CAS Affairs, explaining our opposition.  The CAS Advisory Board will take some action later in the spring.
The Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) Working Group on Data and Informatics also has issued an RFI seeking input "on policies regarding the management, integration, and analysis of research data and administrative data." Comments are due by March 12.

I’ve attached a response put together by Pat Thibodeau with significant input from several AAHSL members.  (see attached)
And finally we signed on to a letter, with many other organizations, sent to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of an increase in the NIH budget.  (see attached)


AAHSL President Message #4

March 6, 2012


Assessment & Statistics
I’m very pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Beth Layton will be Co-Chair of the Assessment and Statistics Committee and Co-Editor of the AAHSL Annual Statistics.  Gary Byrd will continue to serve but now in the role of “Co” until our meeting in November.  At that time Beth will serve as the Chair of the Committee and as the Editor for a three-year term.  Gary will serve as an advisor during the next round of statistics gathering and compiling.
I’m also very happy to let you know that Steve Squires from the UNC-CH Health Sciences Library will take on the new position of Operations Manager for the statistics.  Gary, Beth and Steve are working on the distribution of workload for the newly revised positions and more details will be available at the annual meeting.
Are you being surveyed to death?  The AAHSL Board will be gathering a lot of information in the coming months in order to move forward on our strategic plan.  We apologize in advance for sending various requests to give us your thoughts but we need to be sure that we’re representing the diverse opinions across the organization.
This month AAHSL joined nine other library organizations in signing a letter thanking various congresspersons for introducing senate and house versions of “The Federal Research Public Access Act.”    The bill establishes interoperable, open digital repositories to contain publicly funded research while offering protection to publishers by maintaining an embargo period and requiring the final peer reviewed version of papers rather than the published version.  We also signed a letter in partnership with MLA.
ResearchWorks Act (RWA)
As you have probably heard, the sponsors of this bill have decided to not bring it forward for a vote.  They have issued a press release:
Strategic Plan
I’ve attached the final version of our strategic plan for 2012-2014.  The plan concentrates on three areas:  providing support and tools to our members to help them through this time of great transition for our organizations and our libraries, improving our internal support systems including better communication with committees and a new web site, and reaching out more widely than in the past to other organizations with similar or parallel interests.  The document itself provides a little more detail.  I look forward to reporting on our progress during the year.


President Message #3

February 7, 2012

Current Issues Editorial Team
Last year the Board formed a new group charged with creating short publications aimed at presenting the AAHSL view of current issues or products to our administrators.  Laurie Thompson (chair), Theresa Knott and Chris Shaffer have been hard at work defining this new publication and the debut issue of Navigating Knowledge on publication metrics will soon be sent out.  Watch for it!
Academic Medicine’s Question of this year
You may remember that Mary Moore volunteered toanswer last year’s Question of the Year on behalf of AAHSL.  Her essay was one of a handful to be presented at the AAMC meeting in Denver as part of a panel discussion.  Mary’s excellent response was great PR for libraries and for AAHSL.  The following announcement and more information appeared in the January issue of Academic Medicine.  If you are interested in responding on behalf of AAHSL, please let me know!  Essays aren’t due until May 1 so you have plenty of time to write!
Academic Medicine's Editor-in-Chief Steven L. Kanter, M.D., invites creative, imaginative, innovative, and feasible responses to his 2012 Question of the Year:  What are the most effective ways to ensure that those who work and learn in medical schools and teaching hospitals can develop to their full potential?  Responses should be submitted in the form of a 750-word essay with no more than three references.  The mostoutstanding responses will be published in the journal.”
Cornerstone Award
Please consider nominating a worthy recipient (or group) for one of AAHSL’s highest honors.
“The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) Cornerstone Award is given to an individual, group, or institution selected by the association's Board of Directors. The award is given for a notable or important contribution made during the most recent four years that has assisted AAHSL in achieving its mission or had significant impact on the profession of academic health sciences librarianship.”
Criteria, Guidelines and a description of the process are listed on the AAHSL web site at:
Political Participation
Last year both MLA and AAHSL terminated our contracts with the Health & Medicine Council of DC, a lobbying firm that had kept us informed about pending legislation and which raised our issues with members of congressional staffs.  Both AAHSL and MLA felt that the knowledge base and focus of the firm was not aligned with our goals.  AAHSL saved about $25,000 per year by cancelling this contract.  In November the AAHSL board voted to donate $10,000 to MLA during 2012 in consideration of the excellent support that our JointLegislative Task Force receives from Mary Langman and other staff at MLA headquarters.  This month we sent a check to MLA along with a letter thanking MLA for their support.  This donation will be reviewed on an annual basis.
More politics
This month AAHSL added it’s endorsement to a letter from the SPARC Open Access Working Group and other interested organizations to various members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform expressing opposition to H.R. 3699 – the Research Works Act.  The text of the proposed bill can be found at:
Rajia Tobia, chair of the Scholarly Communications Committee, has distributed a copy of the OAWG response.  We also worked with MLA to send a letter to the two sponsors of the bill.  I have attached a copy of that letter.
AAHSL Strategic Planning
The AAHSL Board met in Atlanta on Thursday and Friday, February 2-3.  Inspired and informed by input from members, a spirited brainstorming session with committee chairs at AAMC and two interesting conference calls among members of our Leading the Way Committee the Board hammered out a framework for the next three years.  Wordsmithing is still in progress but, when the final product is ready, you will be the first to see it!
I’m happy to report that, even though she has retired, Lynn Morgan will be continuing to work with the Future Leadership Committee and the current class of fellows until  “graduation” at the Capstone next fall.  In the immortal words of Michael Corleone, “Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in.”


AAHSL President Message #2

January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!  I hope that you and your families enjoyed a peaceful holiday break.

The AAHSL pace slowed a little in December but there is activity to report.

In early November when many of us were in Denver at the AAMC meeting, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued an RFI regarding public access to peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from federally funded research.  Cynthia Henderson worked with AAHSL members Barbara Epstein and Rajia Tobia,  MLA representatives Donna Timm, Hope Barton and Mary Langman and Jerry Sheehan, an observer from NLM, to craft a joint response from MLA and AAHSL.  Our response was submitted to OSTP in late December.  Let me know if you’d like to see a copy.

The Board will hold its spring meeting February 1-3 in Atlanta, GA.  The newly appointed AAHSL Web Editorial Board will be meeting at the same time to begin planning the new look and organization of the AAHSL website.  I’ll send out my next message at the conclusion of the meeting.


AAHSL President Message #1

December 1, 2011

As Pat mentioned in her recent message, this year’s AAHSL/AAMC meeting seemed especially rich in content.  I certainly came away energized. That energy has come in handy as AAHSL is off and running for another year.  Many new ideas and suggestions have come out of the various committees so the weeks following the meeting have seen lots of activity.


The Council of Deans (COD) had serials pricing on their agenda at the AAMC meeting in Denver.  They wanted to discuss this issue with the library community, so an impromptu meeting was set up between seven Deans and five AAHSL members.  This provided an excellent opportunity to further educate the Deans on the nuances of the publishing industry.  The Deans are going to discuss next steps among themselves and AAHSL will be kept in the loop.


After consulting with the Scholarly Communications Committee I signed both the Berlin Declaration on the Future of the Digital Press 


and the Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property ) on behalf of AAHSL.


Our website is sorely in need of updating.  In Denver the Board met with former webmasters Chris Shaffer and Paul Schoening to brainstorm approaches to revising the site.  After learning of the technical expertise available to us through our management firm, SBIMS, Inc. and Memberclicks, our web hosting company, we have decided to adopt an Editorial Board approach, relying on our professional contractors to do the technical work.  Thanks to everyone who volunteered to serve on this group.  Our new Editorial Board will be:  


Judy Consales, UCLA, Chair

Mark Spasser, Wayne State University

Donna Gibson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Nancy Tannery, University of Pittsburgh


Many of you know that Rick Forsman, former Director of the Health Sciences Library at the University of Colorado, has been serving as staff person and consultant to our Teaching and Learning Committee.  Rick has been easing himself into retirement and has now decided to complete the transition.  He will continue to support the committee through the end of 2011 and will then devote himself full time to retirement.  I know that we all wish him safe and happy travels


Finally, thanks to all who stepped forward to serve on committees this year and to the many members who have been serving.  My personal thanks to former President Connie Poole, Past-President Pat Thibodeau and to the AAHSL Board for their help and guidance during my year as President-elect.  Thanks also to Louise Miller from SBIMS, Inc, our able Executive Director, who does so much behind the scenes to keep AAHSL running smoothly.