Medical Library Association names VCU Health Sciences' Emily Hurst ‘librarian of the year’ 

March 2, 2023
Emily Hurst in front of the Health Sciences Library.

Emily Hurst, deputy director and head of the Research and Education Department at the VCU Health Sciences Library, will receive the prestigious Estelle Brodman Award for the Academic Health Sciences Librarian of the Year from the Medical Library Association (MLA) at a virtual awards ceremony on April 20, 2023.

One of MLA’s most significant awards, the Brodman Award recognizes an academic health sciences librarian at mid-career who demonstrates significant achievement, the potential for leadership and continuing excellence. Founded in 1986, this award honors Estelle Brodman’s exemplary career.  

The Medical Library Association is a global, nonprofit educational organization, with a membership of more than 400 institutions and 3,000 professionals in the health information field. Since 1898, MLA has fostered excellence in the professional practice and leadership of health sciences library and information professionals to enhance health care, education, and research throughout the world. MLA educates health information professionals, supports health information research, promotes access to the world’s health sciences information, and works to ensure that the best health information is available to all.

“With 14 years of professional experience since receiving her master’s degree in library science, Hurst has demonstrated significant achievement, shown tremendous leadership potential and has established a career based on continuing excellence and growth,” wrote Teresa L. Knott, associate dean and director of the VCU Health Sciences Library, in her nomination of Hurst.  

Letters of recommendation submitted in the nomination package consistently lauded Hurst  as an educator, seminal thinker, able administrator, technological innovator and skillful practitioner with an outstanding record of service to the profession. 

Active in teaching and presenting at conferences, Hurst has impacted many of the nation’s librarians through her teaching and scholarship. “Her vast contributions to the profession and her high level of scholarship are commendable for a librarian who leads a busy team of research librarians and has robust service commitments,” said Knott. 

With colleagues, Hurst has a book chapter accepted for publication in 2022-2023. To date, she has published 11 peer reviewed articles. Since 2009, she has contributed content through 21 presentations/posters for national organizations/associations and 18 presentations/posters for regional organizations. She was part of the planning team and delivered content for an immersion session on liaison librarianship at the 2020 MLA Annual Meeting. Her 35 presentations to national and regional groups include 10 webinars. 

Among Hurst’s numerous achievements cited in the nomination package are these: 

  • Her excellence as a leader has been recognized and affirmed repeatedly through her selection for leadership opportunities and training. She was selected and participated in the following competitive leadership opportunities: MLA Rising Stars inaugural class (2011), TALL Texan Leadership Award (2014), VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Development Institute (2016), and NLM/AAHSL Leadership Fellows Program (2019-2020).
  • One of Hurst’s spheres of influence is her use of Twitter. Her Twitter handle is @hurstej. Year after year, she has shared the MLA annual meeting and other professional development opportunities with her followers, which number nearly 2,500. On Twitter, she synthesizes and shares information in real time. This is a great service to health sciences librarian colleagues unable to attend conferences or participate in sessions.
  • Throughout her tenure at the VCU Libraries, she has demonstrated excellence. She is highly collaborative; connects programs, people, and ideas; she has a gift for developing and delivering meaningful programming. In 2019, she was honored with the VCU Excellence in Interprofessionalism Award. When presenting the Award, the VCU Assistant Vice President for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care advised the attendees that they should routinely bring a librarian onto their research and care teams because librarians always “elevate the work you and your team produce.” That was quite an endorsement of Hurst’s contributions to the university and a recognition of the work she had done. 

“The honoring of Emily’s contributions to the health sciences field by her professional organization and our subsequent ability at VCU Libraries to celebrate her work is important in supporting excellence,” said Dean of Libraries and University Librarian Irene Herold. “Emily is collegial, makes connections, engages in significant scholarship and has set a high standard for the Health Sciences Library profession. I am delighted she is receiving this recognition and applaud her caring and engaged work.”

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