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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. An announcement of all award recipients is made in March each year.

All MLA awards and honors are listed below. Choose the individual award to see the terms and criteria information, access the online submission form, and view a list of past recipients. Note that receiving an MLA award is considered a member benefit and MLA membership is required for most awards. See membership options

Some MLA awards and honors are funded through financial revenues generated from MLA restricted funds (endowments). To help sustain and develop awards, MLA welcomes your tax-deductible donation to the Awards and Honors Funds.

Unless otherwise noted, the deadline for all nominations, submissions, and supporting documents is October 15. Award recipients are generally announced in March each year. 

New to the Profession

Rising Star Program:  A one-year leadership development program with a project-based curriculum.

Rittenhouse Award: Recognizes the best unpublished paper on medical librarianship.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 Health Sciences Librarian of the Year: Recognizes an academic health sciences librarian at mid-career who has demonstrated 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.

Consumer Health Librarian of the Year Award: Recognizes a consumer health librarian who exemplifies the best in consumer health librarianship.

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

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.

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

Erich Meyerhoff Prize: Recognizes the best unpublished essay on the history of medicine and the allied sciences written by an MLA member.

Daniel T. Richards PrizeRecognizes the best published work related to collection development in the health sciences written by an MLA member. 

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

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. 

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.

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

Organizational Focus

Louise Darling Award for Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development in the Health Sciences: Recognizes distinguished achievement in collection development in the health sciences by an individual or institution.

Research Advancement in Health Sciences Librarianship Award: Recognizes organizations whose exemplary actions have served to advance health information research and evidence-based practice in health sciences libraries.

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.

Chapter and Caucus

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

MLA Caucus Project of the Year Award: Recognizes an MLA caucus 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 chapters also honor individuals who have contributed to the profession.


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

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

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

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