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Awards and Honors

MLA awards and honors recognize individuals who have rendered distinguished service to health sciences libraries and furthered the purposes of health sciences librarianship. Nominations are invited for some awards and honors; for others, qualified individuals may submit papers. Although all awards and honors are considered annually, they are given only when nominees and candidates clearly meet or exceed requirements. The deadline for all nominations, submissions and supporting documents is November 1.

Most MLA awards and honors are funded through financial revenues generated from MLA restricted funds (endowment). To help sustain and develop those awards, we welcome your tax-deductible donation to the MLA Awards and Honors funds.

All MLA awards and honors are listed below. Choose the individual awards to see the terms and criteria information, access the online submission form, and view a list of past recipients.  

New to the Profession

Rising Star Program: Matches an MLA member with a mentor in a project-based curriculum for a 2-year leadership development program.

Rittenhouse Award: Recognizes the best unpublished paper on medical librarianship.

Mid-Career Professionals

Virginia L. and William K. Beatty Volunteer Service Award: Recognizes a medical librarian who has demonstrated outstanding, sustained service to MLA and the health sciences library profession.

Estelle Brodman Award for the Academic Medical Librarian of the Year: Recognizes an academic medical librarian at mid-career who demonstrates significant achievement, the potential for leadership, and continuing excellence.

Lois Ann Colaianni Award for Excellence and Achievement in Hospital Librarianship: Recognizes an MLA member who has made significant contributions to the profession through overall distinction or leadership in areas related to hospital librarianship.

Louise Darling Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development in the Health Sciences: Recognizes distinguished achievement in collection development in the health sciences. Ida and George

Ida and George Eliot Prize: Awarded for a published work that has been judged most effective in furthering medical librarianship.

Carla J. Funk Governmental Relations Award: Recognizes a medical librarian who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the area of governmental relations at the federal, state, or local level.

Murray Gottlieb Prize: Recognizes the best unpublished essay on the history of medicine and the allied sciences written by a health sciences librarian. It is sponsored by the MLA History of the Health Sciences Section.

Lucretia W. McClure Excellence in Education Award: Honors outstanding practicing librarians or library educators in the field of health sciences librarianship and informatics.

Thomson Reuters/Frank Bradway Rogers Information Advancement Award: Recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of technology to the delivery of health sciences information, to the science of information, or to the facilitation of the delivery of health sciences information.

Proven Leader

Fellowship and Honorary Membership: Awarded to MLA members (fellowship) and nonmembers (honorary membership) for sustained and outstanding contributions to health sciences librarianship and to the advancement of the purposes of MLA.

Marcia C. Noyes Award: MLA’s highest professional distinction recognizes a career that has resulted in lasting and outstanding contributions to medical librarianship.

MLA Award for Distinguished Public Service: Recognizes a person whose exemplary actions have served to advance the health, welfare, and intellectual freedom of the public.

Michael E. DeBakey Library Services Outreach Award: Recognizes outstanding service and contributions to rural and underserved communities by a practicing health sciences librarian. The award is presented annually by the Friends of the National Library of Medicine. MLA supports this award. 

President’s Award: Presented to an MLA member for a notable or important contribution made during the past association year.

International Focus

T. Mark Hodges International Service Award: Honors outstanding individual achievement in promoting, enabling, and/or delivering improvements in the quality of health information internationally through the development of health information professionals, the improvement of libraries, or an increased use of health information services.

Chapters and Sections

Majors/MLA Chapter Project of the Year: Recognizes excellence by an MLA chapter for a special project or innovative programing that contributes to the profession of health sciences librarianship.

MLA Section Project of the Year Award: Recognizes an MLA section project that demonstrates professional excellence through advocacy, leadership, service, technology, or innovations that enhance health sciences librarianship.

In addition to the national awards listed here, MLA Sections and Chapters also honor individuals who contribute to the profession.


Janet Doe Lectureship: Awarded to individuals for their unique perspectives on the history or philosophy of medical librarianship.

Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA Lectureship: Chosen for their ability to discuss subjects related to biomedical communications.

John P. McGovern Award Lectureship: Significant national or international figures who speak on a topic of importance to health sciences librarianship at the association’s annual meeting.

Have a question? Contact MLA’s awards coordinator