Rising Stars Leadership Program

Established in 2010, the MLA Rising Star program gives members the opportunity to develop skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics needed to become a leader in MLA. The yearly leadership development program matches each Rising Star with a mentor in a curriculum that includes:

  • Monthly classes led by MLA member leaders.
  • Experiences and training to develop self-awareness of skills and dispositions as a leader.
  • Opportunities to discuss, reflect upon, and apply concepts from classic leadership texts.
  • Opportunities to gain a comprehensive, intimate view of all aspects of MLA, from Board meetings to MLA history, with a focus on strategic planning.
  • A group project that relates to current MLA initiatives.
  • Working with a matched career mentor.

Rising Star Criteria

  • The applicant does not need to be a current member of MLA when applying to the program. If selected, the applicant will be required to obtain MLA membership for the duration of the program, which spans two membership cycles. Two years of MLA memberships is required.
  • The applicant is considered ineligible if they have served on the MLA Board of Directors.
  • The applicant must have attended at least one national MLA annual conference (in-person or virtual).
  • The applicant must have demonstrated interest and commitment to professional service through participation in activities or conferences related to medical librarianship.

Rising Star Program Requirements

  • To fully participate in the one year program, complete all assignments, and participate in 10-12 virtual meetings (90 minutes each).
  • An estimated time commitment of 8-12 hours per month.
  • Attendance at annual conference towards the end of the program is encouraged, but optional. This would allow program members to meet in-person and present achievements.
  • The recipient assumes all costs of attending the annual conference.

Rising Star Applications

  • The application will include questions on:
    • service and engagement within MLA or other professional organizations,
    • leadership experience within MLA and other professional organizations, and
    • applicant’s MLA and personal leadership goals.
  • Please provide clear examples and evidence of activities or learning opportunities you have engaged in that fulfill the criteria;
  • A current curriculum vitae or resume;
  • A letter of support from the applicant’s library director indicating support for time to participate in all aspects of the program and attendance at the annual conferences. We suggest the director’s letter of support include:
    • Dedicated time to participate in the Rising Star program activities;
    • The applicant’s potential for MLA leadership, as evidenced by prior participation in MLA activities, leadership experience or training in other arenas;
    • Financial support to attend the MLA annual meeting (optional).
  • Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.


The recipients will be notified in March and asked to confirm their participation in the one year program. If there are no appropriate applicants, the association may elect not to run the program in a given year.