President's Message

Sandra Franklin, MLS, AHIP, FMLA
AAHSL President
Director, Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library
Emory University




October 15, 2020

Greetings AAHSL colleagues,

I hope that everyone receiving this email is well! I look forward to events of the coming weeks and encourage your participation.

Annual Meeting / Program & Education / Matheson Lecture

Registration is underway for 2020 AAHSL annual meeting events. There is a registration link on the website.

Annual meeting events are complimentary for directors* of AAHSL Member Institutions.

Other pricing is as follows:
Additional attendees from Member Institution: $50 each
Non-Members: $100
Students: $25

*If your director is not able to attend and your library would like to send someone else, please contact the AAHSL office for a substitution discount code.

The Members Business Meeting will take place on November 10 at 6:00 pm (EST).

Our Program & Education Committee, chaired by Shannon Jones, has persevered the last few months to provide virtual programming for our professional development.

  • On November 12 at 2:30 pm (EST), Elizabeth “Liz” McChesney and Bryan W. Wunar will lead the Education Program titled Moving Beyond the Big Bad Wolf: Using Storytelling to Manage Change.
  • Dr. Cassidy Sugimoto will deliver the 2020 Matheson Lecture, Towards a more equitable opening of science, on November 13 at 2:30 pm (EST). Dr. Sugimoto is Associate Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University Bloomington and the co-editor of Beyond Bibliometrics (MIT Press).

Register today for thought-provoking programming!

Welcome new directors - Save the date

At in-person meetings, the AAHSL Board arranges a social event for new directors the evening prior to the annual meeting. As we plan a virtual replacement, please save the tentative date and time with more information forthcoming:  November 3rd at 3:00 pm PT/6:00 pm ET.      

Committee Assignments

The Board thanks everyone who answered President-elect Chris Shaffer’s call for committee volunteers. The success of AAHSL programs and initiatives depends on member participation. 

Committee and Task Force Chairs, please submit annual committee reports to your Board Liaison by Wednesday, October 28th. Thank you for your service to AAHSL.

Membership Dues

Annual membership dues renewal invoices were emailed in August with a reminder early September. If you have not received your notice or have a circumstance that the AAHSL Office should know about, please make contact. The deadline was September 30th.  Membership dues fund AAHSL programs and initiatives. Thanks to all who met the deadline!

Congratulations to the NLM/AAHSL Fellows

Fellows Marisa Conte, Emily Glenn, Emily Hurst, Gail Kouame, and Erika Sevetson graduated on September 24, 2020 during a virtual Capstone CeremonyNLM Director Patti Brennan, RN, PhD addressed the Fellows. Mentors along with Pat Thibodeau-Program Director, Kathryn Deiss-Program Consultant, Janice Jaguszewski-Chair of the Future Leadership Committee, and FLC members made it a memorable occasion during this pandemic year. The program is on hiatus with the next selection of Fellows anticipated for Spring 2021.

Strategic Plan Revised

The AAHSL Board finalized and approved a revised Strategic Plan over the summer. It is available on the AAHSL website. Our thanks to Past President Judy Cohn for leading this effort. We welcome your comments.

Coming soon! Organizational Trends in Academic Health Sciences Libraries

I am very excited to share that the Ithaka report with the above title will publish soon. My thanks to the Advisory Committee and to all who contributed through interviews. Names will be listed in the publication. Past President Judy Cohn served as our AAHSL liaison.

NLM Request for Information

The Board thanks Cristina Pope and Chris Shaffer for representing AAHSL in the composition of a joint statement with the Medical Library Association, in response to the National Library of Medicine’s Request for Information about NLM’s 2017– 2027 strategic plan. Anyone with comments on major opportunities or challenges relevant to the NLM mission may submit by the October 19, 2020 deadline using the web-based form.

Volunteers for Annual Statistics Editors

The AAHSL Assessment and Statistics Committee is seeking applications for one or two volunteer editors for 1-2-year terms. Published since 1978, the Annual Statistics of Medical School Libraries in the US and Canada is a rich source of data on academic health sciences libraries.

Editorial duties include working with the AAHSL Assessment and Statistics Committee; editing our various surveys; working with survey respondents on questions; participating in a monthly conference call; and coordinating with our platform vendor, Counting Opinions. Editors will play a key role in looking for new ways to tell the stories of the impact of health science libraries.

Directors, this opportunity is open to librarians interested in assessment. 

Thanks, Matt Wilcox 



April 30, 2020

Greetings AAHSL colleagues,

Little did we know when we left our libraries and offices in March that we would be sheltering in place and working from home for an indefinite period of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  I trust that everyone receiving this email is safe and well, or becoming well if impacted personally, or in your families.

The AAHSL Board has been busy on behalf of the membership.

Leadership Fellows Program on Hiatus for 2020/2021

The AAHSL Board received and approved the following motion from the Future Leadership Committee (FLC):

Motion:  Due to the immediate coronavirus impact and imminent long-term recovery issues, please place the Leadership Fellows Program on hiatus for the 2020/2021 class and recruit a new class for 2021/2022.

Description:  The FLC would like the Board to put the Leadership Program on a one-year hiatus for the 2020/2021 class.  Putting the program on hiatus for one year would mean not opening the applications in May 2020 or selecting a new class during this summer.  The next recruitment would be in summer 2021 for the 2021/2022 class with their first event in November 2021.

The Future Leadership Committee does not make this suggestion lightly, but given the severity and uncertainty of the current situation and the unknown duration and long-term impact COVID-19 will have on libraries, institutions, and their staffs, we believe that suspending the program for one year would be a wise move.  This year-long hiatus would allow the economy and institutions to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The AAHSL Board and AAHSL Office, in collaboration with NLM’s Diane Babski, considered financial impacts of the hiatus prior to approving the Motion.  We thank the FLC executive committee led by Janice Jaguszewski- Chair, along with Pat Thibodeau- Program Director and Kathryn Deiss- Instructor, for their thoughtful consideration and presentation of this alternative.

Fellows Institute rescheduled

The 2019/2020 Fellows Institute (current cohort) was slated to begin April 1st.  With the pandemic crisis, almost none of the fellows or mentors could attend.  Fortunately, the Chicago hotel contract’s Force Majeure provision allowed cancellation with no penalties.  The Institute and Capstone will be combined in Washington, DC during the month of September 2020.  The back-up plan moves to November, in conjunction with the AAHSL annual meeting.  Thank you fellows and mentors for your flexibility during these unforeseen circumstances. Program Director Pat Thibodeau is making adjustments as conditions evolve.

Value in our AAHSL Listservs

Last month, the AAHSL Office encouraged members to continue utilizing the AAHSL listservs during this time of pandemic social distancing; to continue to forward information to colleagues, discuss experiences, and inspire each other.  M.J. Tooey presented a set of questions about leadership and communication, including maintaining morale, while social distancing. Many were eager to share and the responses poured in.  My thanks to M.J. for creating what she refers to as a “snapshot of this time in our history and how we responded to this crisis”.  M.J. distributed a summary of responses on the AAHSL-all list on April 14, 2020, as an attachment.  We learned from each other and discovered how many practices we had in common.

Ithaka Study

AAHSL will participate in an Ithaka S+R study on Organizational Trends in Academic Health Sciences Libraries with Roger Schonfeld and his team.  The study will investigate key success factors, risks, positive and negative outcomes, and opportunities associated with maintaining academic health sciences libraries as separate entities versus integrating them as a part of the University Library administrative structure. The report intends to generate a set of lessons learned from mergers or attempted mergers that have taken place to guide those considering or planning various kinds of reorganizations in the future.

We thank all who volunteered to become a member of the study’s Advisory Committee.  Although we did not achieve the geographic diversity we were striving for from the open call, there is variety in public vs private and integrated versus stand alone.  The following were selected to serve and have accepted:

Kathryn Carpenter, University of Illinois, Chicago (public, integrated with UL)
Shannon Jones, Medical University of South Carolina, (public, stand-alone) 
Jett McCann, Georgetown University Medical School (private, stand-alone)
Anne Seymour, Johns Hopkins (private, hybrid)
Judy Cohn, Rutgers University, (public, integrated with UL) 

Judy Cohn will lead the AAHSL participation in the study.  There will be Association of Research Libraries involvement and opportunities for AAHSL members to participate in interviews and surveys.  Contact Judy for more information.

AAHSL Legislative Actions March and April 2020

  • This week, MLA and AAHSL signed on to a letter supporting the work IMLS is doing to ensure that efforts to reopen libraries are evidence informed and center public safety. 
  • AAHSL joined other associations on a letter to ask the U.S. Congress to include 501(c)(6) organizations (like our AAHSL Office)  in the options provided by the CARES Paycheck Protection.  All associations need aid to help combat financial loss due to COVID-19.
  • AASHL joined MLA in signing a letter asking that Trump administration decisions on when to lift (or potentially strengthen) social distancing guidelines are based on scientific evidence, and to stick by assurances not to lift social distancing guidelines until the medical evidence indicates it is safe to do so. The letter added a thank you for the change from April 12 to April 30, 2020.  NOTE:  As we know, states and localities may issue other preferences about what re-opens when.
  • Comments were submitted to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy addressing MLA and AAHSL’s recommendations for desirable characteristics of repositories for managing and sharing data resulting from federally funded research.  Grateful appreciation is extended to GRC members Kathy Kwan, Rolando Garcia Milian, Wladimir Labeikovsky, and Gabe Rios for their outstanding work on writing the comments. 

  • MLA and AAHSL were among 80 organizations to write and express support for the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 (H.R. 3414). This bipartisan legislation will provide Medicare support for an additional 1,000 graduate medical education (GME) positions over five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.

Have a great afternoon.
Stay safe and well.


March 30, 2020


Dear AAHSL members,

We know the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting you in a variety of ways, affecting your communities, your families, and your work. With that in mind, I want to reach out to let you know we are thinking of you. Like you, AAHSL is adjusting to a new reality. We want to be respectful as your priorities shift and you find a new normal. We want to be a resource for you, and though we can’t meet face-to-face, we are exploring new ways that we can continue to provide you with value.

We encourage you to continue utilizing the AAHSL listservs available to you. Now, more than ever, you can continue to forward information to your colleagues, discuss your experiences these last few weeks, collaborate, and inspire each other.

In addition, take a look at the committees and task forces you can volunteer to serve on in a few months, browse some of AAHSL’s resources, or review the Annual Statistics.  We’re looking forward to seeing you at the November Annual Meeting in Washington DC. Check back in April for hotel details!

Remember, you can still reach out to us with questions, concerns, and ideas. Though our staff is working remotely, the AAHSL Office remains open and our work remains largely uninterrupted. Our staff are unable to answer our office phone line, but they are checking voicemails regularly and returning calls. We are a high-functioning virtual team and are eager to provide you with the support you need.

As always, thank you for your support of AAHSL. Its members and supporters are the life-blood of the organization, and we’ll navigate through this challenging time together.

January 17, 2020

Happy New Year!

  • The AAHSL Board will meet February 5-7, 2020, in San Antonio, TX. Committee and Task Force chairs are asked to turn in update reports to their Board Liaison for posting no later than Thursday, January 30th. If there are topics for discussion that may require extended agenda time, please let me know.

  • Congratulations to the new directors announced after our November Annual Meeting:

Nancy Allee, Taubman Health Sciences Library, University of Michigan
Kelly Thormodson, Harrell Health sciences Library, Penn State College of Medicine
Annie Thompson, Norris Medical Library, University of Southern California
Lisa Smith, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library

  • After almost 10 years as Executive Director of AAHSL, Louise Miller will hand off executive duties to the newest addition to the SBI team, Shira Rosen. Louise has been promoted to Vice President of Executive Services at SBI Association Management and will be taking on more responsibilities with the company. Shira Rosen, MSW, will be the new Executive Director of AAHSL. We hope you had a chance to meet Shira at the November Annual Meeting. Shira comes to AAHSL with 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector ranging from an Executive Director, Program Director, and Development Director. She has served on three different association boards and has extensive experience with strategic planning, program management, board development, and event planning. Shira is thrilled to take on this role with AAHSL and is excited to get to know all of us. Louise will continue to support Shira in her new role and ensure there is a smooth transition.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Pat Thibodeau to continue in her role as Program Director for the AAHSL Future Leadership Committee. Kathryn Deiss’ MOU as consultant in support of the NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program was also signed.

  • The AAHSL Board extended Steve Squires’ contract through March 2020 to complete the analysis of the 42nd edition of AAHSL statistics.

  • AAHSL joined MLA in submitting comments to the Draft NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing by the January 10th deadline.

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 20, 2020.
Sandra Franklin 1/17/2020

November 22, 2019

Greetings everyone!  It is my pleasure to serve as your AAHSL President for the coming year.  My thanks to Past President Judy Cohn for her outstanding leadership.  I look forward to working with Judy, the AAHSL Board, and AAHSL Staff in the coming months.

Annual Meeting Highlights – Phoenix, AZ on November 8, 2019

  • All information from annual meeting presenters is located on the website here.
  • Registration for the business meeting, Matheson Lecture, and education program was 127; participation in the committee and task force round robin sharing session was 76 with 10 chairs or their designees serving as speakers. 
  • Carla Pugh, MD, PhD delivered the Matheson Lecture “The Quantified MD Project: Precision Learning through Wearable Technology.”
  • Annie Weisman, PhD, MPH, LMT conducted the education program “Refilling your Cup,” encouraging self-care for resilience and to avoid burnout.
  • AAHSL membership is currently 182 institutions; several renewals are outstanding.
    • Retired Directors – 8
    • Interim/Acting Directors – 7
    • New Directors – 14
    • New AAHSL Members – 5

AAHSL President Judy Cohn recognized the 2019-2020 cohort of Fellows and Mentors. You can find them here

  • The AAHSL Future Leadership Committee, Program Director Pat Thibodeau, and Consultant Kathryn Deiss oversee the Fellows program. We thank Dr. Patty Brennan and NLM for continued financial support.  Two prior Fellows were appointed directors over the last year bringing the total number to 46 out of 87 Fellows (53%) in permanent director positions. A Fellow in the 2018-2019 cohort became director.
  • New for this meeting was a Code of Conduct written by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. It was approved by the AAHSL Board on September 30th. The code will go into full effect at the 2020 meeting. A sub-group of the Board and DEI Committee are developing the process to be used should an incident be reported.  At registration, all attendees were asked to sign an Event Code of Conduct in acknowledgement of its implementation for the 2019 Annual Meeting. 
  • Len Levin, a member of the DEI Committee, read the Land Acknowledgement statement written to honor the grounds and indigenous people associated with our Phoenix meeting. We recognize the land as an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory hosts our annual meeting and to honor the Indigenous People who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial.
  • The Nominating Committee presented the following slate of officers during the business meeting:
    • President-Elect: Chris Schaffer, UCSF
    • Board Secretary/Treasurer: Tania Bardyn, University of Washington
    • Member-at-Large: Kelly Gonzalez, University of Texas
    • Member-at-Large: Gabe Rios, Indiana University

There were no nominations from the floor and the vote was unanimous.

Submitted by the Nominating Committee

Rikke Ogawa, Dale Prince, and Sandra Franklin, Chair

  • Revised Committee and Task Force rosters are available here.
  • While in Phoenix, Board members had lunch with new Fellows and Mentors, and dinner with the new directors.  It was great to meet everyone.

AAHSL Board News

  • The AAHSL Board voted to renew association support for the MLA Research Training Institute scholarships.  AAHSL member institution applicants have been the beneficiaries of several scholarships, and there is an open call for applications by a January 2020 deadline.  Site link
  • Judy Cohn thanked the many members who took time to participate in Strategic Planning discussions at MLA and throughout the summer.  The Board will continue evaluating comments. We heard the need to focus on improved, consistent communication.
  • Speaking of communication, be sure to manage your email by making AAHSL an accepted contact.  Include the following:

For whatever reason, there is a gmail account with my name and the word president in the address.  This is SPAM, so do not respond.

  • Finally, the Cornerstone Award recipient this year was Past President Ruth Riley.  Judy Cohn presented the award and played Ruth’s recorded remarks during a lovely outdoor Networking Reception at the Arizona Health Sciences Library, Phoenix Biomedical Campus. Thank you to our host colleagues for an enjoyable evening.  Congratulations, Ruth! 

NOTE:  The 2nd deadline for completing statistics surveys is November 27, 2019.

That’s it for November.  More next month!

I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday with family, friends, and furry companions.