President’s Note

Hello, RUSA members!  This is my last column as RUSA President and I want to say how much I have enjoyed serving in this position.  As I turn over the reins to Alesia McManus, our president-elect, I’d like to thank all of our volunteers and members, as well as the RUSA office staff, for their support and engagement over the past year.  I’d also like to congratulate our newly elected president-elect for 2016-2017, Chris LeBeau, as well as newly elected Directors at Large Jenny Presnell and Jennifer Boettcher, and all the new section leaders.  My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who ran for office.

As I cycle off as RUSA president, I’m turning over several important initiatives to Alesia.  One of these is our pilot implementation of Interest Groups.  Under the guidance of the Organization & Planning Committee and its chair, Beth German, the pilot project has gotten underway with four interest groups for Copyright, Shared Collections, First-Year Experience and Entrepreneurship.  I’ve enjoyed watching the groups get started, and look forward to making Interest Groups a permanent part of RUSA, as soon as details and specifics can be worked out.

Another important initiative is our Name Change Task Force, which has been charged with looking at how we can best brand ourselves for the future and ensure that our association name speaks to the needs of current and future members.  I am deeply grateful to co-chairs Nancy Cunningham and Ed Garcia, as well as all members of the task force, for addressing this important issue.  The task force includes RUSA members from public, academic and special libraries, representing all of RUSA’s sections and a range of interests.  The complete roster is available here.  In this issue of RUSA Update you’ll find some more information from the co-chairs about how they will be proceeding with their work, and how you can give input.

One opportunity for you to weigh in about the Name Change Task Force or any other RUSA-related issue is coming up at our virtual Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, June 15 at 4 pm ET.  Details for how to connect to the Town Hall can be found on the RUSA News blog, along with a link to submit questions ahead of time.  I and other members of the RUSA leadership will be present at the Town Hall to answer questions or hear your concerns.  I hope you can join us!

If you’re able to come to the ALA Annual conference in Orlando, we have several RUSA signature events that you may want to put on your calendar, including Friday’s RUSA 101, where you can learn all about RUSA and how to get involved; the free Literary Tastes breakfast on Sunday morning with name authors; and the RUSA Achievement Awards reception on Sunday evening.  I’d like to especially put in a plug for these two events:

  • RUSA President’s Program
    Be Our Guest: Creating Immersive Guest Experiences in Libraries
    Saturday 06/25/2016
    4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Our keynote speaker for the President’s Program will be Dave Cobb, Vice President for Creative Development at the Thinkwell Group and an expert on designing immersive educational experiences for museums and theme parks.  Joining Dave will be two responders:  John Blyberg, Assistant Director for Innovation and UX at the Darien Library; and Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian at Temple University.
  • Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Celebration
    Saturday 06/25/2016
    8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    This year’s Carnegie winners were Sally Mann’s Hold Still for nonfiction and Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer for fiction.  I am looking forward to hearing from both winning authors at our Carnegie event, which will also feature a keynote talk from poet Billy Collins.  Last year’s event was one of the highlights of the Annual conference for me, and I expect this year’s event to be just as exciting.

Please check the ALA Scheduler for the most current times and locations of all RUSA’s events.

Finally, I would like to note that one of RUSA’s current goals is to increase continuing education and engagement offerings throughout the year, recognizing that many of our members cannot attend ALA conferences and would like more opportunities for virtual learning.  To that end, the RUSA Board and Executive Committee are reviewing the recommendations of the Learning Opportunities and Knowledge Coordination Task Force, which has recently issued its report about how RUSA can best bring continuing education opportunities to all of its members.  The task force was ably chaired by dedicated members Shannon Jones and Mary Popp.  Stay tuned for more information about our future directions in this regard.

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

Anne Houston
RUSA President 2015-2016