The year’s ALA Midwinter in Dallas was a great time to see old friends and to participate in the many RUSA activities that took place there. Two of the highlights were the annual RUSA Social and the RUSA Book and Media Awards. I’d like to thank Liane Taylor and the RUSA Membership Committee for coordinating the well-attended RUSA Social on Saturday evening. It was a lot of fun to catch up with RUSA members and to meet some new members! And I’d like to convey a special thanks to Sharron Smith and to Neal Wyatt for their great work in organizing this year’s Book and Media Awards reception held Sunday evening, and also express my thanks and appreciation to all of the hardworking award committees and chairs. Please visit http://www.literarytastes.com for a complete list of winners and for important updates on RUSA’s literary news. A very special thanks goes to Susan Hornung, Liz Markel, and Andrea Hill for all of their work with both of these events and with all of the activities that go into making Midwinter successful. Thank you all!
We also held our second annual Virtual Town Hall meeting this year for members who could not attend in person. The RUSA staff created five chat rooms where users could post questions and comments and to get live feedback from the meeting. Thanks to our volunteers for monitoring the rooms! After the Virtual Town Hall meeting, the RUSA Board Big Think focused on discussing the kind of organization that RUSA should become in the future. Both of these events will inform us as we begin to craft our next strategic plan, which will take place this spring.
The work of two important committees will also greatly assist in our strategic planning, the RUSA Structure Taskforce, chaired by Kate Kosturski, and the RUSA/ASCLA Web Conferencing Task Force, chaired by Liane Taylor. Kate gave an overview of her committee’s recommendations, which will greatly aid RUSA in its future plans. Liane’s Task Force has also completed its work and RUSA will be implementing Blackboard Collaborate in order to allow more members to conduct work virtually. These are both significant accomplishments that will help RUSA grow and prosper. Thank you, Kate and Liane! The RUSA Board also approved the creation of one new committee, the ad-hoc Resource Development Committee, which will be asked to explore and facilitate fund raising and donor relations. The work of this committee will help to identify and seek resources for new RUSA initiatives.
The RUSA Board also approved two new awards. The BRASS Business Expert Press Award for Academic Librarians is a new $1,250.00 cash award given to an academic librarian who is new to the field of business librarianship in order to support attendance to the ALA Annual Conference. The Gale Cengage History Research and Innovation Award is a new award for up to $2500 to facilitate and further research in history and history librarianship and to encourage membership in the ALA RUSA History Section. Thanks to Chris LeBeau (BRASS Chair) and Janice Shultz (History Section Chair) and members of their sections for bringing these awards to fruition. And a big thanks to Business Expert Press and Gale Cengage for their support of RUSA.
RUSA also continues its role as administrator for the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulator Authority) Investor Education Foundation’s program entitled Smart investing @ your library. This grant program, in place since 2007, funds public library efforts to provide library patrons with access to effective, unbiased financial education resources. To date, sixty-four grants have been awarded, totaling $4,691,952. I had the pleasure of attending a FINRA reception on Friday evening in order to meet many of this year’s grant recipients. For more information about Smart investing @ your library, visit http://www.smartinvestingala.org. For more information on the FINRA Foundation see http://www.finrafoundation.org/. A big thank you to FINRA for sponsoring this important program.
Last, but certainly not least, the RUSA Board approved a recommendation for our new editor of Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ). The editor selection committee, chaired by current RUSQ editor Diane Zabel, has been working hard on the selection and interview process during the past year. I am pleased that our new editor is Barry Trott, RUSA Past-President and long-time RUSA member. Thank you Barry for taking on this important role, and thank you Diane for your years of service as editor! Under Barry’s leadership RUSQ will continue its rich tradition as RUSA’s premier publication.
Thanks again to all of the RUSA volunteers who make RUSA the outstanding organization that it is. And a huge thanks to the RUSA staff for making it all work! It was great seeing many of you at Midwinter and I look forward to seeing you in Anaheim!
RUSA President, 2011-12