From the President

President’s column

Hello RUSA members! I recently returned from Chicago where I attended the ALA fall leadership meeting along with the vice-presidents of other ALA divisions (and RUSA’s new vice president, Alesia McManus). I enjoyed getting to know the other division leaders and ALA incoming president Julie Todaro, and seeing the offices of our RUSA staff. I also found the meeting worthwhile in two other respects: I learned a great deal about ALA’s structure and governance, and in working with other division leaders, gained a better sense of how RUSA fits into ALA as a whole. I came away inspired to think about how RUSA can collaborate more closely with other divisions. RUSA has already established a rapport with LITA’s leadership; how can we translate that into more cooperative projects? What other divisions are our natural partners? We should remember that while ALA is compartmentalized into many different pieces and parts, our interests overlap. Working with other divisions, can we co-sponsor programs, discussions and other learning opportunities on topics where our interests intersect? While many ALA members feel most the most sense of connection with their subgroup– a division or round table– ALA as a whole offers vital support for its subgroups and helps set the course for libraries in ways that we can all tap into.

In my last column I discussed our plans to create a proposal for establishing Interest Groups within RUSA. I’m happy to say that our Organization & Planning Committee has developed the Interest Group proposal which has been approved by RUSA Board, and which we will now test through a pilot phase. The call has gone out for pilot interest groups to be established in the coming months. In case you missed it, here is the announcement that went out to RUSA members:

Call for Interest Groups!

As a response to the RUSA Review Survey where 88% of respondents indicated a support of the formation of Interest Groups, RUSA is pleased to announce a pilot for Interest Groups within our organization.

Interest Groups give RUSA the ability to offer a wider spectrum of professional topics beyond what the current Sections and their committees offer. They provide cross-sectional engagement of RUSA members, attracting participation from any number of RUSA Section members.

We are seeking 3-5 interest groups for this pilot test and the pilot period will run November 2015 through June 2016. Interest groups created in the Pilot project will have the option of continuing while bylaw changes are made or they may choose to disband.

In order to form an Interest Group you will need:

The name of the Interest Group

  • Name and contact information of the group leader
  • Names and email for 10 additional RUSA members who have agreed to be a part of the interest group
  • A brief description of the focus area for the interest group,
  • A brief statement describing how the Interest Group is relevant to the mission of RUSA.
  • A deliverable for the Interest Group for the pilot project.

(This could be anything that the Interest Group members will work on during the pilot phase– it can be as simple as holding a certain number of meetings, holding a virtual discussion forum, a publication, etc.)

To apply please complete the web form by December 13, 2015. For questions please contact Beth German (

If there’s an intriguing current topic that crosses over RUSA divisions, be thinking about whether it could become the basis for an interest group.

Please feel free to contact me any time at I welcome your questions and comments!

Anne Houston
RUSA President 2015-2016