ReferenceUSA Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services

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Established in 1990, the ReferenceUSA Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services is a citation and $1,500* monetary award presented to a library or library system for developing an imaginative and unique resource to meet patrons’ reference needs. The resource can be a bibliography, a guide to the literature of a specific subject, a directory, a database, or any other project that has helped the library meet adult or children’s reference needs. Tools, guides or databases that have been developed for reader’s advisory or adult service questions and needs are also eligible for the award.This award is sponsored by ReferenceUSA.


Nomination Form: To submit a nomination, download and complete the form and follow the submission instructions therein.

Questions should be directed to the committee chair, Susan Beck,

The deadline for nominations is December 9, 2016.

*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 at

Award Recipients

2016: San José Public Library (SJPL), for the Virtual Privacy Lab

2015: Queens Library, for “Where in Queens?” database

2014: Northville District Library (Mich.) Northville Historic Records

2013: Palo Alto College Library’s (Calif.) Library a la Carte

2012: Richland County (South Carolina) Public Library Job Center

2011: NCPedia

2010: J.Y. Joyner Library Digital Collections, East Carolina University, for “Seeds of Change: The Daily Reflector Image Collection”

2009: Robert A. Aken II, web administration librarian, and Reinette F. Jones, diversity and multicultural activities librarian, for University of Kentucky Libraries’ Notable Kentucky African Americans (NKAA) Database

2008: Digital Services, Libraries and Educational Technologies, James Madison University, for ” Research Databases and Resources,” Harrison (Va.)

2007: Springfield-Greene County Library, Springfield (Mo.)

2006: Orange County Library System, Orlando (Fla.)

2005: Smithsonian American Art Museum

2004: North Carolina State University Libraries

2003: Richmond (British Columbia) Public Library

2002: No recipient chosen this year

2001: University Library, University of Nebraska at Omaha

2000: Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library

1999: New Orleans Public Library

1998: Queens Borough Public Library

1997: Bay Area Library and Information System for “Jobsmart”

1996: Rochester (MI) Hills Public Library for their homepage on the Web

1995: Pikes Peak Library District for “Arts Database”

1994: Wichita Public Library for “The Legal Connection”

1993: Kalamazoo Public Library, Michigan, for its “Online Community Information Database”

1992: Morton Grove Public Library, Morton Grove, Illinois, for ORRIS (On-Line Ready Reference System)

1991: University of Arkansas Library, Fayetteville, for its “Arkansas Periodical Index”

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