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Librarians without Borders® Ursula Poland International Scholarship

Ursula H. (Anker) Poland (1922–2009) was a distinguished MLA member, recipient of the Marcia C. Noyes Award, Fellow of MLA, and Janet Doe Lecturer. Poland's 1982 Doe Lecture is one of MLA's most important statements about MLA's international interests and accomplishments. Poland used the Doe Lecture forum, other publications and activities, and her own career as a model to encourage MLA members to enrich their careers and approach to the practice of health sciences librarianship through international connections and experiences.

The Librarians without Borders® Ursula Poland International Scholarship helps fund an international project by a US or Canadian health sciences librarian. Endowed in 2014, this award is designed to enable MLA to help fund a wide range of individuals whose projects are related to health sciences librarianship in an international context. The recipient receives a scholarship award of $1,000 to fund expenses associated with an international health sciences library project.


  • Applicants must be members of MLA.
  • Applicants will hold a professional library or information science qualification but in the case of exceptional candidates this criterion may be waived.
  • Applicants must be currently working in a US or Canadian health sciences library.
  • Applicants must have at least 5 years of continuous work experience in a US or Canadian health sciences library.


  • The scholarship award is contingent upon completion of the project within 18 months of notification of the award.
  • A project report to the Medical Library Association is required upon completion of the project.
  • The grant jury will assess the application and score points based on:
    • objectives of the project
    • project timeline
    • detailed information on the use of the funds
    • measurement/evaluation tools
    • plans for reporting


  • All proposed expenses must clearly align with the intention of the scholarship and will be evaluated for relevance.
  • Funding may be used for reasonable and actual expenses that meet MLA guidelines:
    • Physical travel within North America, or international travel when specifically allowed (e.g., mileage, travel fares, lodging)
    • Direct costs related to profession development or conference attendance (e.g., registration fees, books)
    • Direct costs related to the project, where applicable (e.g., scans of library resources or interlibrary loans, teleconferencing fees, virtual polling software)
    • Costs to enable the awardee to travel (may allow for compensation for reasonable expenses, e.g., family caregiving)
  • The funds may not be used for institutional overhead, other indirect costs, or income tax payments.

Submission Checklist

  • Completed application
  • Detailed cover letter should include
    • explanation of the goals of the international project in the context of health sciences librarianship (practice, research, history);
    • a statement of how the scholarship funds will be used and the project timeline; allowable expenses can include international travel and accommodations of the scholarship recipient and other costs associated with completion of the project.
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of reference
  • Additional documentation related to the applicant’s qualifications to complete an international project including additional funding sources may be included in the cover letter.
  • Plans for reporting on the project, such as an MLA annual conference paper or poster.
  • Updated member profile page on MLANET.  


  • The grant recipient and non-recipients will be notified in March. 
  • The recipient will receive grant funds after expense statements, receipts, and verification of program completion are submitted to MLA headquarters in June.   
  • The amount requested and actual amount awarded may not necessarily be the same amount. The amount reimbursed will not exceed actual expenses.
  • The period of disbursement of grant funds will not exceed one year past the date of the MLA annual conference. 
  • The recipient will be asked to share a photo and video for the virtual awards ceremony held in April. 
  • If there are no appropriate candidates, the association may elect not to present the grant in a given year.

Ready to Submit an Application?

  • The scholarship application process is closed.
  • Recipients will be announced in March 2024.
  • Applications will open next in August 2024.

Grant Recipients

  • 2024: none awarded
  • 2023: Jamie Furrh Quinn
  • 2022: none awarded
  • 2021: none awarded
  • 2020: none awarded
  • 2019: Erin RB Eldermire
  • 2018: Kristine M. Alpi, AHIP
  • 2017: Estelle Hu, AHIP
  • 2016: none awarded
  • 2015: Sue Espe, AHIP

Have a question? Contact MLA