2016 RUSA and Section Achievement Award Winners Announced

RUSA has selected the winners of the 2016 achievement awards, which provide research and travel grants in recognition of  the nation’s most exceptional librarians, libraries and projects involving reference services today.

RUSA’s Achievement Awards are a chance to give praise to the most notable librarians, libraries and library research in reference services. These awards are of the highest honor and recognize invaluable contributions to the field.

The following recipients were selected:


Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award
Cheryl LaGuardia, research librarian at the Widener Library of Harvard University, has been named the 2016 winner of RUSA’s highest honor for her distinguished and multifaceted contributions to reference librarianship. Sponsored by Credo Reference. Credo-May2013

Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Services
The San José Public Library is the 2016 winner of the Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Services, which honors a library or library system for developing and imaginative and unique resource to patrons’ reference needs. Sponsored by ReferenceUSAReferenceUSA_Logo

John Sessions Memorial Award
The Center for Labor Education and Research, University of Hawai‘i – West O‘ahu was selected as this year’s winner. “The mission of the labor archive at the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR) is to preserve labor history materials for future generations, protect the artifacts and make them accessible for public use, and defend the importance of working class history.” Sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO.

NoveList’s Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award
Dr. Mary K. Chelton, retired professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queen’s College, CUNY, was selected as this year’s winner. The award honors a librarian who has made significant contributions to library adult services. Sponsored by NoveListNovLogo_BW_Transparent

Reference Service Press Award
Denice Adkins, associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Information Science and Learning Technologies and C. Sean Burns, assistant professor, University of Kentucky School of Information Science, authored the winning  article, “Arizona Public Libraries Serving the Spanish-Speaking Context for Changes.” The article was first published in Fall of 2013, (Vol. 53, No. 1) of Reference and User Services Quarterly. This award is sponsored by Reference Service Press.


Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS)

BRASS Mergent Excellence in Business Librarianship Award
winner is Jared Hoppenfeld, business librarian at Texas A&M University, for his lasting service on many BRASS committees, his outstanding published works on topics relevant to academic and public business librarians, including “Information-Seeking Behaviors of Business Faculty,” the most-downloaded article of 2014 in the Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, and his continued support of business students, entrepreneurs and veterans. This award is sponsored by Mergent, Inc. MERGENT logo_color_eps copy

Global Financial Data Academic Business Librarianship Travel Award
winner is Ruth D. Terry, business and government information librarian, assistant professor at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, for her promising work in the area of academic business librarianship. This award is sponsored by Global Financial DataGlobalFinancialData_logo

BRASS Emerald Research Grant Award
winner is Lisa O’Connor, associate professor, School of Library and Information Science, University of Kentucky, for her study, “Why Aren’t Millennials Taking Stock?:  Assessing the Role of Information Literacy in Market Avoidance.” This award is sponsored by Emerald Group Publishingemerald_bar_logo

BRASS SimplyMap Student Travel Award
winner is Katherine Glasoe, student at the School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College for her potential to be very influential in the field of business librarianship and her impressive work and academic experience. Sponsored by SimplyMapSimplyMap Logo_wR

BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award
winner is Susan Wolf Neilson, librarian, Wake County Public Libraries (N.C.). Neilson was selected for her support of the business community through public library programming, librarian training and working with community business organizations to make her library a great resource for business owners and entrepreneurs. This award is sponsored by MorningstarMorningstar_logo

Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES)

Louis Shores Award
Multimedia & Technology Reviews, a publication of the Art Libraries Society of North America, was named the 2016 winner for its incisive, objectively written, critical reviews for a variety of free multimedia resources.

Zora Neale Hurston Award
Dr. Florita Bell Griffin, creative director of ARC Communications, LLC, a Texas-based Visual Art Communications and Publishing Company, was announced as the 2016 winner for her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in promoting literacy and African American literature through the creation of the Little Flower literacy project. The Little Flower® project works to improve youth literacy, self-esteem, and imagination through the use of art, artistic media, and African American literature (storytelling). Sponsored by HarperCollins. Harper

Emerging Technologies Section (ETS)

ETS Achievement Recognition Award
Beth Boatright, information services and instruction librarian, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, was selected as the winner for her dedication and enthusiasm to ETS.

HISTORY Section (HS)

Gale Cengage History Research and Innovation Award
winner is Thomas G. Padilla, digital scholarship librarian, Michigan State University Libraries was selected as this year’s winner. Through oral histories, Padilla will create a better understanding of the past, present and future roles of librarians in the Digital Humanities. Sponsored by Gale CengageGaleCengageLearning_Logo

Genealogy / History Achievement Award
Michele C. McNabb, library manager, Genealogy Center, Museum of Danish America was selected for her exemplary service, support, leadership and contributions to the field of genealogical and local history librarianship. Sponsored by ProQuestProQuest

Reference Services Section (RSS)

RSS Service Achievement Award
Sarah J. Hammill, business and online learning librarian at Florida International University, was selected as the 2016 winner of the RSS Service Achievement Award. The award recognizes a member that has made exceptional contributions to RUSA’s Reference Services Section.

Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section (STARS)

Virginia Boucher-OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award
Tina Baich, associate librarian and head of resource sharing and delivery services, bibliographic and metadata services, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. Baich is honored for her outstanding and sustained contributions to the resource sharing community both nationally and internationally. Sponsored by OCLCOCLC_Logo_H_Color_NoTag

STARS-Atlas Systems Mentoring Award
Kimberly Steiner, interlibrary loan technician at Messiah College (Pa.).  Steiner was chosen because as the sole person in interlibrary loan at her library, attendance at the ALA Annual Conference would allow her to learn skills necessary to support users from Messiah College, an institution that is continually expanding their graduate programs; better understand the profession; and also network and learn from colleagues. Sponsored by Atlas Systems, Inc. Atlas Systems_logo

The RUSA Achievement Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 26 at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. All conference attendees are invited to the event. Additional event details will be available on the conference website in April.

2016 Notable Books List: Year’s best in fiction, nonfiction and poetry named by RUSA readers’ advisory experts

BOSTON—The Notable Books Council, first established in 1944, has announced the 2016 selections of the Notable Books List, an annual best-of list comprised of twenty six titles written for adult readers and published in the US including fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The list was announced Sunday during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston.

The 2016 selections are:


“In the Country: Stories” by Mia Alvar. Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House.
Exploring the Filipino experience spanning decades and continents, these fully rendered tales express wonder and sadness leavened with humor.

“The Sellout: A Novel” by Paul Beatty. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Poking the underbellies of many sacred cows, this biting social satire examines race, culture and politics in modern America.

“Did You Ever Have a Family: A Novel” by Bill Clegg. Scout Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
The aftermath of a tragedy and its rippling effects in a small Connecticut town.

“Delicious Foods: A Novel” by James Hannaham. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group.
Themes of race, addiction, wage slavery, and corporate greed coalesce in this startling, darkly comic coming of age odyssey.

“Black River: A Novel” by S.M. Hulse. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
This modern literary Western explores a man’s redemptive journey and the possibility (and cost) of forgiveness.

“Fortune Smiles: Stories” by Adam Johnson. Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.
Humanity: quirky, disturbing, endearing, striving, resigned, and fascinating.

“The Prophets of Eternal Fjord: A Novel”” by Kim Leine, translated by Martin Aitken. Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton.
An epic and evocative tale of colonialism in Greenland; translated from the Danish.

“The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories” by Anthony Marra. Hogarth, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group.
Beauty and humanity are found in the darkest and grimmest of places in these interconnected pieces.

“The Sympathizer: A Novel”” by Viet Thanh Nguyen.Grove Press.
A half-French, half-Vietnamese man serves as a double agent after the war, and struggles with the contradictions of his identity and loyalties.

“This Is the Life: A Novel” by Alex Shearer. Washington Square Press, a division of Simon & Schuster.
Spare prose mixes with heart-wrenching humor in this gem of a story about two brothers coping with terminal illness.

“The Book of Aron: A Novel” by Jim Shepard. Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House.
The perspective of a boy whose only goal is to live another day gives a sharp edge to the mind-numbing tragedies of the Warsaw Ghetto.

“A Little Life: A Novel” by Hanya Yanagihara. Doubleday, a division of Random House.
A visceral, provocative story of four New York City lives marred by ambition, abuse, and addiction.


“The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission” by Jim Bell. Dutton, and imprint of Penguin Group.
An enthusiastic account of our reach for intergalactic space — and the people who made it possible.

“Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America” by Ali Berman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
A sobering and impassioned popular history of the fight for universal suffrage in the United States.

“The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World” by Joel K. Bourne Jr. WW. Norton and Company.
An agricultural revolution supported our booming population in the twentieth century, but we’ll need another one to sustain us in the years to come.

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House.
Framed as a letter to the author’s teenage son, this chronicle of race in America works as memoir, meditation, and call to action.

“The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle” by Lillian Faderman. Simon & Schuster.
An authoritative, affecting account of the effort to establish and solidify legal rights and cultural acceptance in the United States.

“Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter, Mary Shelley” by Charlotte Gordon. Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.
From A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to Frankenstein, this dual biography provides fresh insight about these groundbreaking authors.

“Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House. “Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.” (Penguin Random House, 2015)

“The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough. Simon & Schuster.
A strong work ethic and keen observation fueled the quest to conquer manned flight.

“The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” by Sy Montgomery. Atria Books, Simon & Schuster.
A charming, revelatory journey into the world of cephalopods.

“M Train” by Patti Smith. Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House.
Part memoir, part travelogue, and ultimately an elegy to her beloved husband, written by an iconic American artist.

“Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War” by Susan Southard. Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Bearing witness to hibakusha, those left behind.

“Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva” by Rosemary Sullivan. HarperCollins.
A portrait of a woman unable to escape the terrible shadow of her father.


“Bastards of the Reagan Era” by Reginald Dwayne Betts. Four Way Books.
Drugs, violence, and incarceration during a period of fear and chaos told in a brutal and haunting poetic voice.

“Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems” by Joy Harjo. W.W. Norton.
Folklore, history, personal journeys, and modern times are entwined in this absorbing work by a Native American poet.

The winners were selected by the Notable Books Council whose members include twelve expert readers’ advisory and collection development librarians. The Council considers titles based on stellar reviews published in standard library reviewing sources and other authoritative sources.

The Council includes Liz Marie Kirchhoff (Chair); Kristen Rae Allen-Vogel; Rochelle Redmond Ballard; Victoria Caplinger; Craig Allan Clark; Carol Lynn Gladstein; Dr. Vicki L. Gregory; Marlene A. Harris; Stacey J. Hayman; Sarah Jaffa; Elizabeth M. Joseph; Mary Callaghan “Cal” Zunt.

Most distinguished librarians in reference announced for 2014 achievement awards

RUSA has selected the winners of the 2014 achievement awards, which provide research and travel grants in recognition of  the nation’s most exceptional librarians, libraries and projects involving reference services today.

“RUSA’s Achievement Awards are a chance to give praise to the most notable librarians, libraries and library research in reference services. These awards are of the highest honor and recognize invaluable contributions to the field that may go unnoticed otherwise. Librarians are a humble, dedicated group; we are honored to highlight their accomplishments,” remarked RUSA President, Kathleen Kern. “Congratulations to this year’s winners; we are looking forward to the annual celebration in June! I would also like to sincerely thank the members of our award committees for their service during the selection process and our generous sponsors for their support.”

The RUSA Achievement Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held from 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 29 at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. All conference attendees are invited to the event. Additional event details will be available on the RUSA website in April.

The following recipients were honored.

William Miller, dean of libraries at Florida Atlantic University, is the winner of the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, RUSA’s highest honor. Miller was selected for his extensive career as an editor, author, scholar and practitioner in the field of reference services. His contributions have left, and continue to leave, a lasting impression on reference librarianship. The award consists of a citation and $5,000 supported by Gale Cengage Learning.

Diana Tixier Herald, program and outreach manager at Delta County Libraries in Colorado, has been selected as the winner of Novelist’s Margaret E. Monroe Award, which recognizes a librarian who has made significant contributions to adult library services. Herald, a voracious and varied reader, has excelled in her readers’ advisory efforts; her unwavering support for readers and literacy has left a national legacy.

The Northville District Library (Mich.) will receive the Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services for its Northville Historic Records portal. The historic records are an organized primary source that unites various community sectors to capture the city’s rich history. This award is sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning and presents $3,000 and a citation to a library or library system for developing a unique resource to meet patrons’ reference needs.

The article “Significantly Different?: Reference Services Competencies in Public and Academic Libraries,” RUSQ  (52:3), authored by Laura Saunders and Mary Wilkins Jordan of Simmons College, was selected for the Reference Service Press Award, which honors the most outstanding article published in Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), RUSA’s research journal. The award includes $2,500 and a citation supported by Reference Service Press.

The Local History and Genealogy Department of Toledo-Lucas County Public Library (Ohio) has been selected as the winner of the John Sessions Memorial Award, for its extensive efforts in building an ongoing legacy recognizing the labor community. The award, sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, presents $1,000 and a plaque to a library or library system that has shed light on the labor movement in the United States.

David Larsen, head of access services and assessment at the University of Chicago Library, will receive this year’s Virginia Boucher-OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award. The award honors professional achievement, leadership and contributions to interlibrary loan and document delivery. Larsen was selected for his innovative and practical approaches to resource sharing, willingness to learn and test new products and improved workflow efficiencies. Sponsored by OCLC, the award consists of $2,000 and a citation.

Award winning author and Associate Librarian Celia Ross, of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business was chosen as this year’s winner of the Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Business Librarianship. Ross was selected for her dedication and commitment to the field of business librarianship and its practitioners. Her many contributions to the education of new and veteran business librarians have made her a go-to source in the field. This award is generously sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning and consists of $3,000 and a citation.

William “Bill” Forsyth, director of product management at Proquest, is this year’s winner of the Genealogical Publishing Company Award. Forsyth has been an active and prominent member of RUSA’s History section as well as the keynote speaker for many genealogical events. His outstanding contributions to the field sustain the importance of genealogy in historical research. Supported by Genealogical Publishing Company, this award presents $1,500 and a citation to a librarian or library in recognition for their achievements in genealogical reference, service or research.

Anne Houston, director of humanities and social sciences services at the University of Virginia Libraries has been named as the winner of this year’s MARS My Favorite Martian Award. Houston has been an active member of RUSA’s MARS Emerging Technologies in Reference section for many years. Her warmth and capacity for personal connection have positively impacted the section’s recruitment and retention of members. Houston will be presented a citation.

Travel and research grant recipients:

Yvonne Carignan, head of special collections and archives at George Mason University Libraries, has been selected as the winner of RUSA’s History Section’s Gale Cengage Learning History Research and Innovation Award. Carignan’s project, “History of Virginia Antebellum Social Libraries,” aims to document all social libraries that existed in the state of Virginia before the Civil War. This award is sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning and consists of a citation and $2,500 to help facilitate Carignan’s historical library research.

Ilana Barnes, business information specialist, and Tao Zhang, digital user experience specialist, of Purdue University Libraries are the project heads of “Assessment of Business Undergraduate Student Engagement and Behavior in a Crowd-Sourced Library Help System: Best Practices and Emerging Technology Opportunities.” They have been chosen as the winners of the BRASS Emerald Research Grant. The grant, sponsored by Emerald Group Publishing Limited, provides $2,500 to further research in business librarianship. Selected for the project’s potential to provide insights into user engagement opportunities, Barnes and Zhang aim to study a new type of reference model: crowd-sourcing.

Business Librarian Desirae Zingarelli-Sweet, at the Carrier Library of James Madison University is this year’s winner of RUSA’s BRASS Business Expert Press Award for Academic Business Librarians. Zingarelli-Sweet was selected for her outstanding efforts in collaboration with business faculty, students and community partners; library instruction and business reference research at the university. The award, supported by Business Expert Press, will provide $1,250 for funds to attend the ALA Annual Conference.

Katharine Macy, MLIS candidate at the University of Washington, has been selected as the winner of the BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award. Based on her extensive background and education in business, Macy shows great potential in becoming a successful business librarian. This award is sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning and will grant Macy $1,250 to attend the ALA Annual Conference.

Jacob Kubrin, resource sharing and fulfillment specialist at Cushing Library at Holy Names University, has been chosen as this year’s winner of the STARS Atlas Systems Mentoring Award. In a newly created position at the Cushing Library, Kubrin demonstrated a great need for professional development, networking and education to serve the ever increasing patron needs of the library. The award, sponsored by Atlas Systems, Inc. recognizes an individual new to the field of interlibrary loan and contributes $1,250 to attend the ALA Annual Conference.

The winners of many awards were announced as a part of the RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony at the 2014 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

Dr. Grace Jackson-Brown from the Duane G. Meyer Library at Missouri State University is the 2014 winner of the Zora Neale Hurston Award, which recognizes an individual that has demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. Selected for her work with the Springfield African American Read-In and Dream Big programs, she has exposed diverse audiences to authors, workshops, live readings and celebrations that incorporate African-American authors. Sponsored by Harper Perennial, the award consists of $1,250 to attend the ALA Annual Conference, tickets to the FOLUSA Author tea and a set of the Zora Neale Hurston books published by Harper Perennial.

Francine Graf, former editorial director of Choice, has been named as the 2014 winner of the Louis Shores Award, which honors an individual reviewer, group or editor for their book reviewing excellence for libraries. Graf, retired as of early 2014, was chosen for her outstanding contributions to reviewing for resources for academic audiences. Graf will receive a citation at the ALA Annual Conference.

Mammals of Africa (Bloomsbury), edited by Jonathan Kingdon, David Happold, Mike Hoffmann, Tom Butynski, Meredith Happold and Jan Kalina, was selected as the winner of the Dartmouth Medal, honoring a significant reference publication. This amazing source covers every recognized mammalian species in Africa. This resource will serve as a primary source of information and as a baseline for preserving the biodiversity of this great continent. A medal will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference.

“Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation” (HarperCollins) by Yossi Klein Halevi was named the winner of the 2014 Sophie Brody Award. The award encourages, recognizes and commends outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. A medal will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference.

Call for volunteers: ALA & RUSA committee service

A message from RUSA’s President Elect, Joe Thompson:

Hello RUSA members!

I’d like to encourage you to volunteer for ALA Committees before the volunteer form closes for these on November 1, 2013.  Committee appointments will be finalized at the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, and notifications will be sent out in the spring.  Terms begin July 1, 2014.  Visit the ALA and Council Committees webpage for committee descriptions: http://www.ala.org/groups/committees/ala.  For technical assistance or for more information on the ALA-level committee appointments process, you may contact Kerri Price at kprice@ala.org.

To volunteer, go to: http://www.ala.org/CFApps/Committee/volunteerform/volunteerform.cfm

Of course I’d also like to see you volunteer for RUSA!  You do have a bit more time to get your name submitted for these however.  March 1, 2014 is the planned closing date to volunteer for our RUSA, BRASS, CODES, History, MARS, RSS, and STARS committees.  There’s no reason to put it off though, so volunteer today!  Keep in mind that attendance at ALA Midwinter may not be required for some committees and sections.  Feel free to contact the committee chair, section chair, or me if you have any questions about attendance.  Links to RUSA division-level and section committees can be found at http://www.ala.org/rusa/contact/rosters.  Access the volunteer form using the same URL provided above.  The menu to select section-level committees is located at the bottom of RUSA Committee Volunteer Form.

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 www.ala.org/rusa.

Thanks for supporting your associations!