Carnegie finalist named MacArthur genius fellow

Karen Russell
Karen Russell

Fiction writer, Karen Russell was named as one of 24 MacArthur “genius” fellows yesterday. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awards this annual grant to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.”

Russell was a finalist for the 2012 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for her first novel, Swamplandia!. You can view her humble, enchanting acceptance speech here:

Karen Russell video

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. The shortlisted authors and eventual winners reflect the expert judgment and insight of the seven-member selection committee of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. These are the ALA’s first single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction.

A shortlist of finalists is drawn from the previous year’s Booklist Editors’ Choice and the Reference and User Services Association‘s (RUSA) Collection Development and Evaluation Section‘s (CODES) Notable Books lists.

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. Learn more about the association at

Librarian by day, backup for Gorbachev by night: Q&A with Barry Trott

Over the next several weeks we will be highlighting members of RUSA’s Board of Directors. Take a minute and get to know our fantastic leaders!

Meet Barry, RUSA Ex-Officio member. He’s a lean, mean, guitar/banjo/mandolin/-playing machine! If you’d like to reach Barry and discuss RUSA and/or bluegrass, you may reach him at the email address listed at the end of this post.

Barry Trott
Digital Services Director
Williamsburg (VA) Regional Library
Editor, Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ)

Barry Trott
Barry Trott

What are you currently reading or listening to?
Re-reading Fred Chappell’s Brighten the Corner Where You Are; Listening to John Reischman’s Walk Along John.

What is the most interesting “reference” question you’ve ever been asked? (reference in quotes to allow for some flexibility in answering the question)
For me it is always the next question to come along. One thing I love about reference work in the public library is the wide variety of fascinating questions that come along over the course of a day on the desk. Everything that you read or learn about will at some point be useful to you in responding to a user query.

Tell us about your current role at your library, and maybe a little bit about your career path, too.
I have worked as a reference librarian, readers’ services librarian, and Adult Services Director before coming to my current role. Now, I coordinate library-wide projects dealing with the intersection of people and technology, including social media, library website, digital collections from ebooks to magazines to databases, and digital marketing tools. And I oversee Technical Services. Before going to library school, I worked for 12 years as a musician, and prior to that got my BA in Biology, so a typical reference librarian career.

Describe a particularly rewarding experience in your library career.
Being involved in RUSA has been one of the most rewarding things for me. I have been able to meet and work with librarians from all sort of libraries–public, academic, special, and school–and have learned a lot from all of them. That would not have been possible without RUSA.

Give one fun fact about yourself—can be personal or professional.
I have played music for and shaken hands with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Any hobbies?
Music, woodworking.

Why did you join RUSA (and/or sections)?
To have the chance to meet and work with other librarians who are passionate about what they do.

How has RUSA helped you in your career?
Membership in RUSA has given me great ideas, a place to share concerns and new thoughts on the profession, and introduced me to many folks who I count not only as colleagues but as friends.

What are some of the RUSA activities you’ve participated in?
CODES Readers’ advisory committee, several award committees, CODES Board, RUSA Board, RUSA President, RUSQ Editor, RUSA membership committee.

If you’re open to having RUSA members connecting with you directly, provide an e-mail address and/or phone number where they can reach you.
I am happy to talk to RUSA members, email at

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

Join us for an online discussion: Navigating the RA High-Wire Act: Practicing RA When You Don’t Read Widely

We’ve scheduled another CODES Conversations event! Come participate or listen in on this vigorous online discussion.

Navigating the RA High-Wire Act: Practicing RA When You Don’t Read Widely
Happening online, April 24-25, 2013
Hosted by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of RUSA

With untold numbers of books out there, sometimes it seems almost impossible for readers’ advisors to keep up with all the genres and publishing trends. This raises all sorts of interesting questions for consideration: How can a “poorly-read” librarian do readers’ advisory? How do you cope with unknown titles? How much do you read, and how widely?

Join readers’ advisors across the country for a two-day CODES Conversation on the best ways to find read-alikes and do readers’ advisory–even when you feel that you have not read enough–and help address the biggest myth in RA: that librarians have to read everything they suggest.

CODES Conversations are focused electronic conversations on current issues facing collection development and readers’ advisory librarians—or anyone interested in those areas.  The conversations are open to all who wish to participate (or lurk)!

This free, moderated discussion is open to all—just subscribe to the discussion at, then follow and contribute to the conversation over the two days of the discussion.