Archive for Large Research Libraries

Now accepting nominations for 2014 RUSA achievement awards, research and travel grants

‘Tis the season!

The nomination period is now open for the many achievement awards and conference travel and research grants offered by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

RUSA, which represents librarians and information service professionals in reference, collection development, adult readers’ advisory, genealogy, resource sharing and user services, is accepting nominations for the following 2014 awards. The deadline for all nominations is December 15, 2013, with the exception of the BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award, which has a deadline of January 31, 2013. Award criteria, nomination forms and instructions for submissions are available at each of the award’s web pages below.

Professional Achievement Awards for Individuals and Groups

Travel Grants to ALA Annual Conference

Research Grants

More information about these awards, including nominating and submission instructions, can be found at the RUSA Awards Web page. Monetary award amounts are subject to change without notice and are contingent upon donor funding supplied at the time the award is presented. Questions about these awards should be directed to the committee chairperson or to Leighann Wood, RUSA awards program coordinator at

RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about the association at

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Call for Proposals: RUSA seeks submissions for new webinars and online courses


The Reference and User Services Association seeks proposals for webinars and online courses on highly relevant subjects such as e-books, library programming and outreach, technology advisory, reference services, collection marketing and leading a book group; the proposal period will be open Aug. 1 through Sept. 1, 2013 (psssst–the online forms are open now, and links to each form are found at the bottom of this post!).

RUSA serves librarians in reference, user services, adult readers advisory, collection development, resource sharing, genealogy and archives, business reference and reference technology. RUSA webinars and online courses are an opportunity for librarians from all types of libraries to infuse their year with professional development they can conveniently—and affordably—pursue from the comfort of their home or office.

Webinars submitted during this open call period will be reviewed and approved by Sept. 15, with webinar presentation occurring between Oct. 22 and Dec. 1, 2013. Online courses submitted during this same period will be developed during the fall with first offerings taking place in Feb. 2014.

Successful online learning proposals will:

  • Show plans for content and presentation strategies that will fill the allotted time: 60-75 minutes for webinars, and 4-6 weeks for courses;

  • Identify clear learning outcomes for participants;

  • Clearly illustrate the qualifications of the presenter(s)/instructor(s) with respect to the proposed topic;

  • Show how the presentation addresses a topic either of interest to RUSA members, or represents an area of RUSA’s expertise that benefits other types of librarians, and is unique from other available online learning offerings.

The following topics are of great value and interest, though RUSA welcomes submissions presenting on other topics, as well: reference basics; reference for specialized audiences; research, trends and hot topics in readers advisory; technology advisory; information literacy; community partnerships; library programs; outreach; partnerships among different types of libraries; government data and related resources; library spaces and assessing future needs; copyright in the digital age; collection development; special collections; tips and tutorials for relevant tech tools; standards and guidelines; genealogy; advocating for reference; resource development; fundraising; marketing; job searching and related resources; book reviewing; interlibrary loan; creating a single service point (vs. multiple service points in a single facility); embedded librarians; e-books; writing annotations; leading a book group; collection marketing; and library marketing and display ideas.

Submit webinar proposals using the online proposal form; there is a separate submission form for online courses.

Review RUSA’s current online learning offerings, including webinars and courses, at the RUSA website, and also get more information about the proposal process.

Presenters for accepted proposals will receive compensation for their time and will also receive training for Blackboard Collaborate, RUSA’s online webinar presentation software, and support for Moodle, the online course platform.

Questions about RUSA’s online learning can be sent to Andrea Hill, RUSA web manager at

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Online Learning: Genealogy reference, web video as a marketing tool, crash course in market research

School is not, in fact, out for the summer. RUSA has several online courses and webinars taking place prior to Labor Day, and there is no better time to do some learning than the present! Armed with the information presented in these courses and webinars, you’ll be prepared to confidently conduct genealogy reference searches, use web video as a marketing tool for your library and its resources and conduct effective market research.

Registration information for RUSA, including groups is available on the RUSA online learning page. Questions about registration? Contact ALA at or (800) 545-2433, option 5.

Here’s what’s coming up:

RUSA Online Course: Genealogy 101 Jul. 29 – Sep. 1

For reference staff with little or no experience in genealogy. The goal of the class is to give students confidence and skill in assisting family history researchers, and will provide tools for assisting patrons with family history research. This is an asynchronous course with no scheduled meeting times.

Previous Genealogy 101 students have praised the course for providing access to, and an understanding of genealogy research resources and databases; assignments that required hands-on use of these databases; how to overcome some of the basic challenges in genealogy research; and the confidence they have gained by participating in the course.

Registration ends Thursday, July 25. Rates start at $130 for RUSA members.

Learn more and register now.

RUSA Webinar: Using Web Video to Promote Library Resources and Your Expertise, July 30, 2:00-3:00p.m. Central.

This webinar will teach you how to create your own web videos to provide personalized and topic-specific instruction, showcase your resources and expertise, and reach users wherever they may be online. Sponsored by RUSA’s Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS).

Registration ends Friday, July 26. Rates start at $40 for RUSA members.

Learn more and register now.

Meet Them Where They Are: 6 Steps To Market Research Success, Aug. 2, 2:00-3:00p.m. Central.

This webinar presents 6 fundamental steps to follow to conduct market research. It illustrates the differences between 5 market research methods and explains how to select the right method. This webinar is distinct from others because it provides a quick, easy, and effective way to begin market research, regardless of the level of expertise of the attendees.

Registration ends Wednesday, July 31. Rates start at $40 for RUSA members.

Learn more and register now.

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NEWS: Reference, technology and adult literature featured in RUSA programs offered at 2013 ALA Annual Conference

2013 ALA Annual Conference Logo

CHICAGO–Seeking conference programming covering reference, reference technologies and the best books for adult readers? Look no further than the program slate for the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA.

This year’s RUSA programs offer groundbreaking ideas and thought-provoking discussions in the areas of librarianship represented by the division: frontline reference, readers advisory, collection development, business reference and other specialized areas of reference, genealogical research, management of local history collections, interlibrary loan and resource sharing, reference and outreach to special populations and emerging technologies in reference.

The highlight of RUSA’s program slate is The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program, 4:00-5:30p.m. on Saturday, June 29, featuring Lee Rainie, director, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Rainie, co-author of the new book “Networked: The New Social Operating System”, and lead researcher on new studies of adults and teens will share the latest data about how Americans are interacting with information technology and electronic books. Program participants will learn more about how Americans think about libraries and information, their use of library services, and what they value–important information that can help libraries improve collections and services.

A follow-up discussion to the program will be held on Sunday, June 30, from 10:30-11:30a.m., where Rainie and library leaders Emily Ford, David Lankes and Marie Radford will discuss how the Pew study data will influence your library’s future. Join the conversation surrounding this topic on Twitter by using the hashtag #rusapres13. The Sunday conversation was selected by Library Journal as a top conference pick.

RUSA programs featuring authors and adult literature, all of which were selected as top conference picks by Library Journal:

  • Beyond Genre: Exploring the Perception, Uses, and Misuses of Genre by Readers, Writers, and Librarians, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Join us at the Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Forum where we question authors and librarians about the ways genre is used to sell books, the limitations of reading within a genre box, and the challenges “genre” poses for readers’ advisors. Speakers: authors Margaret Dilloway, Laura Lippman and Naomi Novik.

  • Literary Tastes: Celebrating the Best Reading of the Year, Sunday, 8:00-10:00 a.m. Listen to some of the year’s best authors discuss their works and the craft of writing while enjoying the company of other book lovers. This year’s authors are Peter Heller, author of 2013 RUSA Notable Book “The Dog Stars” (Knopf); Jonathan Tropper, author of 2013 RUSA Notable Book “One Last Thing Before I Go” (Dutton); Matti Friedman, author of “The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible” (Algonquin), winner of the 2013 Sophie Brody Medal for achievement in Jewish literature; Lyndsay Faye, author of “The Gods of Gotham” (Putnam), the top pick for The Reading List’s Mystery category in 2013.

  • Reception: Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, Sunday, June 30, 2013, 8:00  – 10:00 p.m. This standing-room only event garnered rave reviews in 2012! The announcement and presentation of the second Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, ALA’s only single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction, will be followed by a dessert and drinks reception. Separate registration required–purchase your ticket here (Event Code: RUS2).

Business reference programming, hosted by the Business Reference and Services Section of RUSA:

  • “Business Reference 101”, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, June 28. Designed for new business librarians, generalists who have assumed responsibility in business librarianship or librarians who handle business reference-related inquiries in all types of libraries, including academic, public and special libraries. Speakers will cover core resources for business reference, the assessment of business resources and licensing for business products. This preconference requires separate, advance registration. Details here.

  • Smart investing @ your library®: Community Connector, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Learn how librarians are making new connections with new audiences and expanding their own financial education frontier with outreach programs to seniors, teens and children. This program is part of Smart investing @ your library, a partnership between ALA, RUSA and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Learn more.

  • Investment Success! Building & Managing Your Retirement Portfolio, Monday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. In this program, investment professionals will demystify the process and help us understand essential principles and how to apply them to make better decisions to meet our retirement goals. The presentation will include a discussion of the common mistakes investors make, why we make them, and how to avoid them.

Reference and reference technology programs:

  • 19th Annual Reference Research Forum Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. One of the most popular and valuable programs where attendees can learn about notable projects conducted in the broad area of reference services. This year’s topics are: Research Guides Usability Study, Two Birds, One Stone: Using a Mixed Methods Approach to Measure Service Process and Identify Usability Pain Points in Virtual Reference, and Query Clarification in Chat Reference: A Visual Transcript Analysis.

  • Usability, the User Experience & Interface Design: The Role of Reference  Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. How are we collecting data and observing behavior to improve these interfaces to better meet our user’s needs? How can we learn from what other researchers are studying and use that data to implement change? What is the new relationship between the virtual space, the physical space, and the user experience?

  • Leveraging Open Source Software to Create Library Websites Sunday, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Is your library considering using open source software such as Drupal, WordPress or Omeka to revamp your library’s web site, create a digital archive or a staff intranet? Our speakers will provide an overview of open source software and discuss some of their features and capabilities.

  • Digital History: New Methodologies Facilitated by New Technologies Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Digital History is providing new pathways to traditional historical research methodologies. Panelists will address the opportunities in researching with digital history and the problems they have encountered in using these sources.

Outreach, community engagement and customer service programs:

  • Collection Development & Community Expectations: Managing Collections and Balancing Resources in an Era of Budgetary Constraints, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. With declining budgets and fewer resources librarians must make difficult decisions to meet their library’s overall mission. Join us to hear a panel of experienced librarians share examples of how they have met the challenges of managing various types of library collections, and how they continue to manage the expectations of their diverse customer groups.

  • Library Engagement in National History Day Activities, Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded academic program focused on history for 6th to 12th grade students. Panelists will share their experiences in working with students on the regional, state, and national levels of the competition.

  • Different Strokes: Serving the Health Information Needs of a Diverse Community, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Panelists in this program will include librarians with expertise in providing medical information to patrons who are from different cultures, speak different languages, are disabled or have literacy issues. Attendees will learn about health issues facing diverse populations, and resources to assist them in providing reference services.

  • Preserving Labor’s History, Monday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. This program aims to highlight the ways in which librarians, archivists and others have endeavored to preserve labor’s history, and have worked to educate generations on the important role of labor in American life.

Resource-sharing programs:

In addition to these programs, RUSA hosts many other events throughout the conference, including discussion groups, member socials, networking events like RUSA 101 and our Awards Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party. Browse the Annual Conference scheduler to find more events and add them to your schedule.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need.  Not a member, but interested in discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at Learn more about the association at

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