PLA Health

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. May I preview the application before completing it?

A. Yes. You may download a PDF of the application for reference; the application process is also covered in detail in Section IV of the project guidelines.

Q. May applications be submitted in hard copy?

A. No. Applications must be submitted online at by 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on November 19, 2017. Applications that are late or incomplete will not be reviewed.

Q. Who is eligible to apply?

A. This opportunity is open to librarians, including library support staff and paraprofessionals, at libraries in the U.S. and U.S. territories. However, applicants from public libraries will be given priority consideration.

Q: I don't work in a public library. Can I apply for the stipend? (or, is the stipend only for staff in public libraries?)

A: The sponsors of this initiative hope to increase expertise and programming around consumer health information offered through public libraries. If you are a student, not currently employed, or working in a non-public library setting, but you will have the opportunity to work with a public library to do such programming, you are still be eligible. However, those currently employed at a public library will be given priority consideration.

Q. What are the requirements if I'm selected?

A. To be directed to the requirements, click here.

Q. How many stipends will be given?

A. No more than 50 people will be selected to receive a stipend.

Q. Can more than one librarian at my library/in my library system apply?

A. Yes, more than one librarian within a library or library system may apply. Keep in mind, however, that geographic diversity is a factor in considering who received stipends, and that each applicant is expected to propose his or her own activity as a result of receiving the CHIS credential.

Q. How do I apply?

A. Register or sign in using the links below to begin your application.

Q: Can I apply for the stipend if I don't intend to follow through on obtaining the CHIS certification?

A: No, all stipend recipients are expected to complete the requirements to obtain the CHIS certification.

Q: Why should I attend this workshop?

A: Whether it's to brush up on your health reference skills, get some new programming ideas, or learn some about new free evidence-based resources, this full day workshop will help you meet the health and wellness needs of your community.

Q: Why should I get the CHIS certification?

A: This preconference workshop provides the 12 CE credits needed to get the Consumer Health and Information Specialist certification from the Medical Library Association and that certification is included with your registration. CHIS certification comes with a print certificate to display or add to your portfolio, and a digital badge to display in your email signature or on your library's website.

Q: How much time will the pre and post work take?

A: Twelve credit hours are required in order to qualify for CHIS. In order to meet those needs for those who chose to get the certificate, the course will include pre and post work in addition to the 8 hour session at PLA. Approximately 2 hours of pre-work reading of selected content will be provided a week before the class. After completing the course, participants will be given a practical homework assignment that will take 2 hours to complete, and they will have 2 weeks to submit it in order to receive the CHIS certification.

Q: When can I expect to receive my CHIS certificate?

A: After completing and submitting the post conference work, you will receive a link to an MLA survey that will award the 12 CE certificate. Then proceed with the application process for the CHIS certification, you will receive the certificate from MLA within 2 months.

Q: How long does the certification last?

A: The specialization is valid for three years and may be renewed. See the MLA web site for more information.

Q: Are there requirements for the types of programming recipients must do after receiving the CHIS certification?

A: No, the sponsors expect the librarian to plan programs or other activities that meet community needs and fit within the scope and resources of the public library.

Q: Are there funds or other resources to implement programs after the preconference?

A: Not officially, but regional medical libraries can offer assistance, materials and grants for health-related programming at public libraries.

Q: How much detail will I need to provide for the required plan and report on activity?

A: Templates will be provided to stipend recipients prior to the preconference event in March. However, PLA anticipates both the plan and post-activity report will be simple and short, collected via an online survey and equaling no more than 1-2 pages of text each.

Q. What criteria will be used to evaluate the applications?

At a minimum, reviewers will assess completeness of the application; clarity of the applicant's interest in securing and using the credential; and other factors that will help ensure diversity among recipients, such as location, library size and community served by the library. Applicants who have experience using NLM resources and/or who have successfully executed health-related programming will be considered likely to follow through on using their new expertise. At the same time, applicants with less experience who propose strong activity and cite community needs will be considered competitive given the overall program's goal of increasing health-related programming in public libraries. Please see the Guidelines for full information.

Q. What if I have questions about my application?

A. Call the ALA Public Programs Office with any application or stipend questions: (312) 280-5045 or toll free at (800) 545-2433 x 5045. You can also send an e-mail to

Q. How long does the application take to fill out?

You can download a PDF of the application to prepare your answers ahead of time. Once you have the data requested and your narrative answers written, it should take approximately 10 minutes to fill out.

Q. Can I edit my application after it has been submitted?

No, you cannot.

Q. How will I be notified about the status of my application?

You will receive a confirmation email once your application is submitted. All applicants will be notified of their award status via email by December 4, 2017.

Q. When is the application deadline?

A. Applications will be accepted October 16—November 19, 2017. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on November 19, 2017. Late or incomplete applications, and applications from ineligible applicants, will not be reviewed. Applications and support materials may not be submitted by mail or e-mail.

Q. When will I be notified if I'm selected?

A. All applicants will be notified of their award status by December 4, 2017.

To access the application system, sign in with your profile.