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Louise Darling Award for Distinguished Achievement in Collection Development in the Health Sciences

The Louise Darling Award is presented annually to recognize distinguished achievement in collection development in the health sciences. The award honors Louise Darling’s significant accomplishment in this professional specialty. It was established in 1987 and first awarded in 1988, with a contribution by Ballen Booksellers International, Inc. In 1995, Ballen Booksellers was purchased by Blackwell North America, Inc.


  • Individual nominees must be members of MLA.
  • Institutions or groups of individuals may be nominated as long as at least one person in the group is a member of MLA.
  • Nominations may be made for overall distinction or leadership within collection development, production of a definitive publication related to collection development, the teaching of collection development, for the development of an extraordinary national information resource or collection in any format (e.g. printed materials, audiovisuals, electronic files, etc.) or for any other collection development activity deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors, the Awards Committee, and the Louise Darling Award Jury.
  • Nominations are accepted from the MLA membership at large and from the members of the Louise Darling Medal Jury.
  • The online nomination must be completed and all supporting documents uploaded no later than October 15.
  • Late and incomplete nominations will not be considered.


The Darling Jury will review nominations and award points based on achievements, leadership, cooperative efforts, and service.

Professional Achievements

  • Nominees will be evaluated for accomplishments that have promoted awareness in or have served as educational contributions to collection development in the health sciences. Achievements worthy of consideration for the award may include overall distinction or leadership in collection development, or a specific accomplishment which may include, but not be limited to, a significant publication in the area, the creation or teaching of a course in collection development, the creation of a unique methodology relating to collection assessment or management, or the development of an extraordinary information resource or library collection in any format


  • Assess the impact of the nominee on the profession and the extent of their influence on the actual practice of collection development.

Cooperative Efforts

  • Describe the involvement of the nominee in activities that have promoted cooperation in collection development among a group of institutions or for the creation of specific innovative approaches that have resulted in successful cooperative programs.


  • Describe the nominee’s overall service to the Medical Library Association and to the profession of health sciences librarianship.


  • A current resume or curriculum vitae for individuals and appropriate background information for institutions.
  • Any further information which may assist the jury in the evaluation of the nomination and the selection of the recipient(s).
  • Up to three letters of support may be included with the nomination. 


  • The award recipient will be notified in March and will receive a cash award of $1,000 in June, after the 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 award in a given year.

Ready to Submit a Nomination?

  • The award application process is now closed.
  • Applicants and award recipients will be notified in March 2024 with the results.
  • The virtual awards ceremony will be held in April 2024.
  • Nominations for the 2025 award will open in August 2024.

Award Recipients

  • 2024: Karen Gau and Iris Kovar-Gough, AHIP
  • 2023: none awarded
  • 2022: Sarah McClung
  • 2021: Collection Development Caucus of MLA
  • 2020: Whitelist Working Group and Whitelist Reviewers*, Association of Vision Science Librarians, Vision Science Caucus of MLA 
  • 2019: Susan K. Kendall, AHIP
  • 2018: none awarded
  • 2017: Nancy Lombardo, AHIP
  • 2016: Association of Vision Sciences Librarians
  • 2015: HINARI Access to Research in Health Programme, World Health Organization
  • 2014: Library Network Office, Department of Veteran Affairs
  • 2013: none awarded
  • 2012: Laurie L. Thompson, AHIP
  • 2011: none awarded
  • 2010: Trenton Boyd
  • 2009: none awarded
  • 2008: Grey Literature Report
  • 2007: Esther Carrigan
  • 2006: Core Public Health Journals Project
  • 2005: Deborah Blecic
  • 2004: Gayle Willard
  • 2003: Frank O. Mason
  • 2002: none awarded
  • 2001: none awarded
  • 2000: none awarded
  • 1999: Jonathan Eldredge
  • 1998: none awarded
  • 1997: Alfred N. Brandon (posthumously)
  • 1996: National Library of Medicine's Preservation Program for Biomedical Literature
  • 1995: David Morse
  • 1994: Nancy W. Zinn
  • 1993: Anne M. Pascarelli
  • 1992: none awarded
  • 1991: Dottie Eakin
  • 1990: Virginia M. Bowden
  • 1989: Daniel T. Richards
  • 1988: Dorothy R. Hill

*Aug. 2020: name changed to the "Vetted List of Vision Science Journals"

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