Letter from the President

Happy Fall! I am writing this in the heat of summer and I hope that by the time you are reading this message, it will be cooler and wetter in most places. The Annual Conference in Anaheim was a resounding success and RUSA had a number of wonderful programs as well as productive meetings. Topics covered in our programs included: making decisions about e-books, international interlibrary loan, return on investment (ROI) for virtual reference, the 1940 Census, library services to Baby Boomers and older adults, discovery systems, integrating social media and online marketing, business data sources, and many more The MARS Chair’s Program was selected this year to serve also as the President’s Program. Entitled Library in Your Hand: Mobile Technologies for Exchanging Information with Patrons, it provided an overview of the advantages of communication with library users through mobile devices, presented by Joan Lippincott, and descriptions of exemplary programs at North Carolina State University (Kristin Antelman) and Topeka Public Library (David Lee King) A video of the program is available from the RUSA web site at http://www.ala.org/rusa/rusa-presidents-program-video. It is posted in two parts.

RUSA 101, our introduction to new members, was a rousing success. The room had to be changed because so many people indicated in the Scheduler that they planned to attend and the new room was filled to capacity. The excitement was strong! Congratulations to Liane Taylor and her committee for their wonderful session.

This year, we experimented with the venerable Literary Tastes program. This program has traditionally featured authors and free books. Instead of a paid breakfast, this year it was a RUSA program. I really wished that I could have the authors who spoke talk to incoming freshmen at my university. They spoke with passion about their work and their research, making their books and the work of writing them come alive. We were pleased to feature: Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus; Candice Millard, author of Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President; Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time; and Russell Banks, author of Lost Memory of Skin (and a shortlisted title on the Carnegie Award fiction list).

One might call 2011-2012 the Year of Awards. With Booklist and the support of the Carnegie Corporation, RUSA co-sponsored the first-ever awards for the best work of fiction and of non-fiction for adults published in the United States in the previous year. This year’s inaugural winners were: Anne Enright who was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for her novel The Forgotten Waltz, published by W. W. Norton & Company. Robert K. Massie was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction for Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, published by Random House. We salute them both.

The other nominated works were great books as well. Check out the full list under About the Awards.

RUSA gives out many awards each year at the Annual Conference—to RUSA members, to libraries and librarians for excellence in service, to authors and publishers. The full list can be found on the RUSABlog. Please join me in congratulating all of the winners.

This year RUSA sections created two new awards, the BRASS Business Expert Press Award for Academic Librarians and Gale Cengage History Research and Innovation Awards.

We said thank you and “well done” to our outgoing Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) editor, Diane Zabel, as she ended her term and welcomed the new editor, Barry Trott.

Under the leadership of Gary White, 2011-2012 RUSA President and the Executive Committee, the RUSA Board developed a new three-year (2012-2015) Strategic Plan. The plan focuses on membership and membership benefits, professional development, marketing and outreach, and increasing the effectiveness of RUSA as an organization.

A subcommittee (Alicia Ahlvers, Emily Hamstra, and Emily Kornak) reviewed the results of last year’s RUSA membership survey and made recommendations to the Board. They were a good complement to the RUSA Structures Task Force Report from the committee chaired by Kate Kosturski presented to the RUSA Board at Midwinter. We will use this information as we move forward on the RUSA strategic plan.

Welcome New Leaders
This summer our newly elected officers and Board members are beginning their work of planning for activities that will occur over the next year. Congratulations to Kathleen Kern, Vice-President/President-Elect, new Directors-at-Large Cynthia Levine and Celia Ross, and new Division Councilor Jennifer Boettcher. Continuing on the Executive Committee are Carolyn Larson, RUSA Secretary, and Gary White, RUSA Past-President. On the RUSA Board Wayne Bivens-Tatum, Judy L. Solberg, Doris Anne Sweet, and Patrick Wall, are Directors-at-Large. The 2012-2013 RUSA Board of Directors also includes section chairs: Ann Fiegen (BRASS), Mary M. D. Parker (CODES), Sara E. Morris (History), Deborah K. Bezanson (MARS), Sarah Hammill (RSS) and David Atkins (STARS). I look forward to working with them as we plan for your programs and services in RUSA this year.

Congratulations, too, to the new section Vice-Chairs/Chairs Elect—Andy Spackman (BRASS), Asia Gross (CODES), Michelle Baildon (History), Sam Stormont (MARS), Ann K. G. Brown (RSS), and Nora Dethloff (STARS).

Plans for the Coming Year
Our first steps in the coming year will be to look at the new Strategic Plan and develop action plans to move forward on important parts of the plan. Using some of our reserve funds, we have put our money where our priorities lie, bringing Collaborate web-conferencing software into play for webinars, committee meetings, and many other things we haven’t yet dreamed. We also will sponsor a separate President’s Program. Mary Mintz and Joe Thompson are hard at work with their excellent committee to bring you a program that will dazzle!

This year I plan to begin a comprehensive look at our continuing education, publications (including the web site), communications with members, and programming to see if we can identify priorities, fill gaps, and meet your needs.

Huge Thank You!
This would not be a proper initial message without saying thank you to many wonderful people!

  • Thank you to Gary White, who led RUSA over the last year so that it accomplished many goals and began initiatives leading to changes that will make RUSA more responsive to members. I also send a personal thank you to Gary for his kind and patient guidance.
  • Thanks to outgoing RUSQ editor Diane Zabel. She charted a course that has led to a newly revitalized and online journal.
  • Thank you to outgoing members of the Executive Committee who have worked so hard, Barry Trott, Past President, and Kathleen Kern, RUSA Councilor.
  • Thank you to the outgoing members of the RUSA Board of Directors: Chris LeBeau (BRASS), Dianna McKellar (MARS), Alesia McManus (Director at Large), Amber Prentiss (Director at Large), Janice Schultz (History), Liane Taylor (RSS), Barry Trott (Past President), and Heather Weltin (STARS).
  • Kudos and thanks to RUSA Executive Director, Susan Hornung, and her staff, Andrea Hill, Liz Markel, and Leighann Wood, who kept us together and always give tremendous effort to RUSA.
  • Thank you to every committee chair and every committee member in each of our sections and on our standing RUSA committees for their hard work! The summary above can only just hit the highlights. All of these folks gave their best all through the year. Bravo!
  • And to all of you who are so loyal to RUSA, we are grateful for your participation and your confidence in RUSA.

Asking for YOUR Ideas
Other plans are in the works and will take shape over the coming year. You will hear more about them in later issues of the RUSA Update. I strongly encourage all RUSA members to share ideas with me or any other member of the RUSA Board. I can be reached at popp@indiana.edu and I look forward to hearing from you.

Mary Pagliero Popp
RUSA President 2012-2013