Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders: From NLM Associate Fellow to Health Sciences Library Director

Meet other library leaders who were once NLM associate fellows: Kris Alpi, Shannon Jones, Stephen Kiyoi, Mellanye Lackey, Anne Linton, Alison E. Rollins, Catherine B. Soehner, and Tanner Wray.

Lori E. Harris | 2014-2015 Associate

formal headshot of Lori Harris
Current position

Interim Director
Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library & Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions

When did you become director?

January 2, 2019

What was the career path that led to your current position?

Wow! That’s a great question. I’d say that I was purposeful when I returned to get my degree since I had a primary career already (paralegal). I knew that I didn’t have time to waste. Luckily I fell in love with archives, research, and history. I then began focusing on women’s health, which lead me to the health sciences. The rest, as they say, is history!

What is your educational background? Or additional training?

I earned my undergraduate degree at Smith College and while there got a heavy dose of research in the health sciences, as well as archival training. I obtained my graduate degree from UNC Chapel Hill where I combined my love of history and health into one degree—Information Library Science. I also had incredible internships throughout my academic career.

What are your top three priorities now?

Listening: I think it’s important to hear from my current faculty, staff, and students about their experiences and what they’d like moving forward, and to address any questions or concerns.

Find my Tribe: Locating a peer group both internally and externally is key. I think it will be beneficial to have experienced mentors to support and guide me in my new role.

Befriend our University Accountant: Learning the financial ropes ties directly into the ability to hire, make purchases, or redirect funds if necessary. You can never be too friendly with your department accountant.

What did you learn as an Associate Fellow that you use in your position as director today?

Network! Network! Network! Did I mention network?!

As an associate fellow, I was tasked with asking Betsy Humphreys [former NLM Deputy Director] to meet with me. Once I crossed that hurdle, everything else became easier in terms of networking. Ninety-nine percent of my success and ability to continue to progress professionally has involved stepping outside of my comfort zone and approaching people. I have found that people are more than willing to assist you on projects or goals if they have interacted with you—no matter how briefly.

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2 thoughts on “Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders: From NLM Associate Fellow to Health Sciences Library Director

  1. Impressive education, indeed. And some ignorant people might say that being a librarian is nothing special. Truly impressive range of knowledge.

  2. Thank you so much for commenting, Robert. We agree with you! Please keep reading NLM in Focus. Later this month we’ll be featuring NLM associate fellows from 10 years ago.

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