Carla J. Funk


School of Library and Information Science Distinguished Alumni Award (2016)
Indiana University Bloomington
School of Library and Information Science
MLS, 1973


Carla J. Funk has had a long career and service to librarianship. She spent more than 20 years as the executive director of the Medical Library Association and holds a degree in psychology from Northwestern, an MBA in marketing from the University of Chicago, and a Master of Library Science from Indiana University.

After graduating from IU's School of Library and Information Science in 1973, Funk worked as the adult services librarian and head of technical services for four years at the Northbrook (Ill.) Public Library. In 1977, she became the director at the Warren-Newport Public Library district in Gurnee, Illinois. Funk then logged nine years with the American Medical Association in Chicago, earning herself the title of director of Medical Student Services.

In1992, Funk became the executive director of the Medical Library Association where she was responsible for coordinating and executing the MLA's programs and services, including its educational opportunities, publications, and legislative activities.

Funk was instrumental in establishing Librarians Without Borders, an international training program which increased developing countries' access to electronic health information resources. Funk worked tirelessly to build strong relationships with partner library organizations, which served to strengthen the MLA and give the association a strong voice in Congress.

Funk encouraged MLA members to develop new programs to help the association keep pace with the times. Using cutting-edge technology in the form of webinars, videos, and online instruction, Funk ensured that MLA members were provided the most up-to-date technology as possible.

Funk was awarded the American Society for Association Executives Sharon Perry Award Scholarship for outstanding leadership in 2002. From across the Atlantic, The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the United Kingdom awarded her an honorary Fellowship in 2008 for her global leadership in librarianship as a profession and her efforts to promote global health through access to information. Funk was honored by the MLA by having an award named after her. It is called the Governmental Relations Award of the MLA and its intent is to honor medical librarians who follow Funk's example of excellence in promoting engagement with federal elected and appointed leaders.

Funk led the MLA through a critical juncture in rapidly increasing technological change. She led the MLA through the advent of the Internet. Funk's leadership and strategic planning helped the MLA maintain its strong financial standing through the country's Great Recession. Funk retired as executive director of the MLA in 2015.