Reference experts announce annual Outstanding Reference Sources list for adults

BOSTON – The most noteworthy reference titles published in 2015 have been named to the 2016 Outstanding References Sources List, an annual list selected by experts of the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA. The list was announced today at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston.
The Outstanding Reference Sources Committee was established in 1958 to recommend the most outstanding reference publications published the previous year for small and medium-sized public and academic libraries. The selected titles are valuable reference resources and are highly recommended for inclusion in any library’s reference collections.
The winners are:
“Black Stereotypes in Popular Series Fiction, 1851-1955: Jim Crow Era Authors and Their Characters” by Bernard A. Drew. McFarland & Company, Inc.
“Civil War Biographies from the Western Waters: 956 Confederate and Union Naval and Military Personnel, Contractors, Politicians, Officials, Steamboat Pilots and Others” by Myron J. Smith, Jr. McFarland & Company, Inc.
“The Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature” Dino Franco Felluga, editor. Wiley Blackwell.
“Modern Genocide: The Definitive Resource and Document Collection” Paul R. Bartrop and Steven Leonard Jacobs, editors. ABC-CLIO.
“The Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary” by David and Ben Crystal. Oxford University Press.
“The Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean” by Scott Weidensaul. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“The SAGE Encyclopedia of Alcohol: Social, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives” Scott C. Martin, editor. SAGE.
“Weird Sports and Wacky Games Around the World: From Buzkashi to Zorbing” by Victoria Williams. ABC-CLIO.
“Women’s Rights in the United States: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Issues, Events, and People” Tiffany K. Wayne, editor. ABC-CLIO.
“Worldmark Global Business and Economy Issues” Miranda Herbert Ferrara, editor. Gale.
The Outstanding Reference Sources selection committee consists of Annie Fuller, St. Louis County Library, chair; Adam Jackman, Pierce County Library; Kathi Woodward, Springfield-Greene County Library; Jessica McCoullogh, Connecticut College; Shelley Arlen, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries; Kara Krekeler, University City Public Library; Paul Walker, Bluffton University; and Laura Birkenhauer, Miami University.
The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), 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. Learn more about RUSA’s Book and Media Awards at

Dartmouth Medal for excellence in reference awarded to “Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Law”

BOSTON– The winner of the 2016 Dartmouth Medal for most outstanding reference work, an annual award presented by the expert reference and collection development librarians of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA, is the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Law, Editor-in-chief: Brent Strawn, published by Oxford University Press.

Comprehensive, entries from scholars from all points on the religious spectrum include topics such as Marriage, Divorce, Testimony and Witness, and Gender. Extensive bibliographies and suggestions for further research make this a useful and balanced resource for library shelves. This work is part of the Oxford Encyclopedias of the Bible series, consisting of eight sets with essays by scholars from many countries and with a wide variety of perspectives.

Honorable mention is awarded to Worldmark Global Business and Economy Issues, published by Gale Cengage. This two-book set (V1: Business & Management; V2: Economy) helps the reader understand, contextualize, and analyze the issues and concepts surrounding international business and economics. This work is useful for anyone learning economic principles beyond their area of expertise.

The Dartmouth Medal, established in 1974, honors the creation of a reference source of outstanding quality and significance. The award is given to the best new reference source published in the previous year (more precisely, the previous December 1 to December 1, as the source needs to be available for a sufficient amount of time to be adequately reviewed). It is awarded to a new publication, not a new edition.

The Dartmouth committee, made up of reference subject experts from academic, public, and sometimes school and other libraries, receives nominations from librarians, editors, and publishers and spends countless hours reviewing copies throughout the latter half of the year.

The Dartmouth Medal selection committee includes: Nicolette Warisse Sosulski, Portage District Library, chair; Angela Courtney, Indiana University; Patricia Gregory, Saint Louis University; Kathleen Kern, National Defense University; Janet Pinkley, California State University, Channel Islands; and Dave Tyckoson, Fresno State University.

Two Institutes hosted by RUSA at the 2016 Midwinter Meeting.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) will host two Institutes, Reference Interview” and “History Genealogy Workshop on Friday, January 8, 2016 during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston.

“Reference Interview” will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.on Friday, Jan. 8. RUSA’s live and in-person all day workshop will provide you with some techniques that will enable you to better assist your users-and help you figure out what it is that they really need when they ask a question. Two expert reference librarians (one public librarian and one academic librarian) will give you tips that will make you more approachable, a better communicator and help make your users more willing to return.

This event requires advance ticket purchase, but registration for the 2016 Midwinter Meeting is not required in order to purchase a ticket. Register here.

History Genealogy Workshop” will take place from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.on Friday, Jan. 8. RUSA’s *free workshop will help librarians of all types learn techniques to better serve the genealogists and family historians who use their collections. This can include better understanding of genealogy research methods and sources. It can also include how libraries can leverage their unique holdings to become more relevant to genealogists, who tend to be passionate in their support of libraries that have useful materials. Lunch provided and sponsored by ProQuest. *This is a free workshop, but you must register here:

Membership in RUSA is not required in order to participate, but RUSA members receive the best registration rates on all of these events; learn more about RUSA and join today.

2016 RUSA Achievement Awards: Call for Nominations and Submissions

Beginning Sept. 1, 2015 the RUSA is seeking nominations for its annual series of awards and grants. Nominations and supporting materials for most awards must be submitted by Dec. 4, 2015.

RUSA encourages members to nominate their colleagues whose work has influenced their thinking and performance and whose contributions merit recognition by the profession. With over $30,000 generously donated annually by industry sponsors, RUSA has, and will continue to, nominate, select and honor the very best in the field of reference and user services.

Achievement awards for individuals and groups:

Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, RUSA’s highest honor, recognizes an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to the field of reference librarianship. $5,000* and a citation.

Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services is given to a library or library system for developing an imaginative and unique resource to meet patrons’ reference needs. $3,000* and a citation.

NoveList’s Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award recognizes a librarian who has made significant contributions to library adult services. Sponsored by NoveList; $1,250* and a citation.

John Sessions Memorial Award recognizes a library or library system that has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and by doing so has brought recognition to the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States. Sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, the winner receives a plaque.

Reference Service Press Award recognizes the most outstanding article published in Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), RUSA’s research journal, during the preceding two-volume year. Sponsored by Reference Service Press; $2,500* and a plaque.

BRASS Award for Excellence in Business Librarianship is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to business librarianship. $3,000* and a citation.

Louis Shores Award recognizes an individual reviewer, group, editor, review medium or organization for excellence in book reviewing and other media for libraries. The winner receives a citation.

Zora Neale Hurston Award honors an individual ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. Sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers; the winner receives $1,250* supporting travel to the ALA Annual Conference, a beautiful plaque, two tickets to the United for Libraries author events: The Gala Author Tea and The Laugh’s On Us, and two complete sets of Zora Neale Hurston’s books and audiobooks.

ETS My Favorite Martian Award is a citation presented annually in recognition of excellence in service to the Emerging Technologies Section of RUSA. The winner receives a citation.

Genealogy / History Achievement Award Sponsored by ProQuest, is presented to a librarian, library or publisher, and recognizes professional achievement in historical reference and research librarianship. $1,500* and a citation.

RSS Service Achievement Award is presented annually to a member of the Reference Services Section (RSS) of RUSA in recognition of exceptional contributions to the section. The winner receives a citation.

Virginia Boucher/OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award is given to an individual for his or her outstanding professional achievement, leadership, and contributions to interlibrary loan and document delivery. Sponsored by OCLC; $2,000* and a citation.

Travel awards to the ALA Annual Conference:

BRASS Student Travel Award presents funds to a student enrolled in an ALA accredited master’s degree program to fund travel the ALA Annual Conference. $1,250* and a citation. This award’s nomination deadline is Jan. 15, 2016.

BRASS Global Financial Data Academic Business Librarianship Travel Award is presented to a new librarian in the field of academic business librarianship in order to support attendance to the ALA Annual Conference. Sponsored by Global Financial Data; $1,250* and a citation.

Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award offers funds to a public librarian who has performed outstanding business reference service and who requires financial assistance to attend the ALA Annual Conference. Sponsored by Morningstar, Inc.; $1,250* and a citation.

STARS Atlas Systems Mentoring Award offers ALA Annual Conference travel assistance funds to a library practitioner who is new to the field of interlibrary loan/document delivery or electronic reserves, and who has involvement in the areas of borrowing, lending, document delivery, electronic reserves, material delivery or resource sharing. Sponsored by Atlas Systems; $1,250* and a citation.

Research grants:

Gale Cengage Learning History Research and Innovation Award is granted to an MLS degreed librarian from an ALA accredited school to facilitate and further research relating to history and history librarianship. Sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning; $2,500* and a citation.

BRASS Emerald Research Grant Award, is presented to an individual or group seeking support to conduct research in business librarianship. Sponsored by Emerald Group Publishing; $5,000* and a citation.

*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—access committee contact information by logging in at, then accessing the RUSA roster webpage—or to the RUSA headquarters staff.

More information about these awards, including nominating instructions, can be found on RUSA’s awards webpage.