L.M. Stowe Library Director Evelyn Morgen is one of five library directors in the country serving as a mentor for a yearlong fellowship designed to train future library directors.
The National Library of Medicine/Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries Leadership Fellows Program chose Morgen to mentor Douglas Varner, senior associate director of the Georgetown University Medical Center’s Dahlgren Memorial Library.
“The whole purpose of the program is to develop leaders for the next cadre of library directors for academic medical centers,” Morgen says.
Varner just completed his second of two site visits, spending last week at the Health Center with Morgen.
“Evelyn has some training and credentialing in biomedical informatics and that’s an area of interest for me,” Varner says. “Evelyn also works closely with her researchers and has overseen a number of e-science initiatives here at UConn. Those were two areas that I expressed interest in further career development.”
Since being paired up in November, Morgen and her visiting fellow have been taking part in monthly journal discussion webinars with the four other mentor-fellow pairings, and have been having biweekly one-on-one discussions by phone.
All 10 participants were together in Seattle for a Medical Library Association meeting in May. The full group meets again at the conclusion of the fellowship in Washington, D.C., in October.
“There’s not really any kind of formalized training program in library school for instance that would train prospective individuals in how to manage a large operation,” Varner says. “This experience has given me a really broad-based perspective on what it’s like to be a library director in the context that Evelyn finds herself.”
The Dahlgren Library has a slightly smaller staff (22 full-time equivalents) and fewer operating hours with library staff on duty (60 hours a week) compared to Stowe (26 FTEs staffing 94 hours a week).
Morgen, who joined the Health Center as associate library director in 2001 and has been the library director since 2005, says seeing perspectives from nine other institutions has made this mentorship a learning experience for her too.
“I feel I’ve learned as much as Doug has,” Morgen says. “I have participated in all of the activities that they’re offering Doug, so that has strengthened my management skills as well. We did some personality assessments and leadership style exercises that were very helpful. It has strengthened my commitment to academic medical center libraries and what an important role we’re playing, and how important we are to researchers, clinicians and education. It has given me a much broader view of the field, and given me tools that I didn’t have before.”