From the President

Hello RUSA Members!

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are rapidly approaching and Midwinter is just a few months away! I’ve spent the first few months as RUSA President continuing our work in the Division and starting to plan for some new initiatives in the coming year. The RUSA Executive Committee recently met in Chicago for its annual Fall Leadership Meeting, so I want to share the highlights of that meeting and to fill you in on some future plans.

First, there is good news about both the budget and RUSA membership. RUSA ended fiscal year 2011 with a budget surplus of just over $40,000, largely due to lower expenses and additional revenue from several sources. RUSA will be transferring this income to our reserve in order to ensure that the division is able to embark on future initiatives and to meet its goals in the coming years. In 2011, we had our first increase in overall personal memberships since 2006. While the increase was very small, this does provide some hope that our membership numbers will stabilize and possibly grow in the coming years. I want to extend my thanks to Susan Hornung and the RUSA staff and to the many volunteers in RUSA who worked very hard on these accomplishments.

RUSA is also actively exploring ways that we can make the association more responsive and useful to members. Two groups have been working very hard the past few months on these efforts. The RUSA Structure Taskforce, chaired by Kate Kosturski , has been charged with broadly examining RUSA’s structure and procedures. The issues they are tackling include:

  1. Exploring ways to move from in-person to more virtual meetings
  2. Attracting non-librarians to RUSA
  3. Creating information on Connect to support RUSA members
  4. Expanding joint programs with other ALA Divisions and Roundtables

I want to extend my sincere thanks to Kate and the members of this committee for their important work.

Liane Taylor, chair of the RUSA Membership Committee, has been leading another group looking at Web conferencing software and exploring options that will allow RUSA members to conduct more work virtually. I want to thank Liane and her committee for all of their efforts on this project, which will greatly enhance the ability of RUSA members to work together more efficiently.

This fall, we have the pleasure of welcoming two new people to RUSA. First, Emily Kornak, Adult Services Librarian at Barrington Public Library in Barrington, Illinois, is RUSA’s new Spectrum Scholar intern for 2012-13. She will be working closely with Mary Popp, RUSA’s Vice-President/President-Elect. Second, Emily Hamstra, Undergraduate Learning Librarian at the University of Michigan, is the member of ALA’s 2012 class of Emerging Leaders who is sponsored by RUSA. Congratulations to Emily and Emily and we look forward to working with you both!

RUSA is also in the process of putting together a new “Just Ask” team that will work on a campaign with the broad goal of highlighting and celebrating the important work of reference and user services librarians. During the coming year, RUSA will also be embarking on the creation of a new three-year strategic plan for RUSA. In order to gather ideas for the future of RUSA, we will once again be holding a virtual Town Hall meeting during Midwinter. Please plan on participating if possible—more information on how to participate will be coming out shortly before the conference.

Finally, I want to thank Diane Zabel, editor of Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), and the editorial board members, column editors, and contributors who all work very hard to consistently publish this outstanding journal. As you know, RUSQ is now entirely digital, a change made this past year to broaden access, make the content available in a more timely manner, and to reduce expenses. As a reminder, you can access RUSQonline. I want to offer my sincere thanks to Diane and the other volunteers, who all put in a tremendous amount of work and their own time to produce RUSQ.

As you can see, RUSA is moving forward on a number of different initiatives—all aimed at making RUSA a more responsive organization for its members. I encourage you to actively participate in the work of RUSA if you are not already doing so. As always, please contact me directly with your ideas or thoughts on how we can make RUSA better. If you are interested in volunteering, you can get more information on RUSA committees at the RUSA website. Also, check out the descriptions of division-level committees under “About RUSA” and committees in each section by clicking on the link to the section web site. To volunteer, simply fill out a volunteer form.

Finally, I want to extend a huge thanks to Susan Hornung and the RUSA staff for their outstanding support and to all of the volunteers of RUSA who continually astound me with their dedication and service.

I wish you Happy Holidays and look forward to seeing you in Dallas!

Gary White

RUSA President