Laura Hibbler, Editor

The History Section held a number of successful events at ALA Annual in Orlando. The Genealogy Pre Conference, sponsored by ProQuest, is always a popular event and registration was full by April. This year’s All Committee Meeting and Open House included a Connection Breakfast with the goals of connecting new history librarians with each other and with experienced history librarians. The History Section also held a program, Partnering for the Common Good: Libraries, and Genealogical Societies. Two Discussion groups, the Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group and the History Librarians Discussion Group, also met at ALA.
Sixteen History Section members met for dinner at Café 34 Istanbul. The group included several librarians who are new to the Section.


Laura Hibbler, Editor

Here are just a few of the great events coming up for History Librarians at ALA Annual in Orlando!

All Committee Meeting and Open House (RUSA_HS)
Saturday, June 25, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
HYATT Regency Orlando, Room Celebration 05

Partnering for the Common Good: Libraries, and Genealogical Societies
Saturday, June 25, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Orange County Convention Center, Room W109A

Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group (RUSA HS)
Saturday, June 25, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Orange County Convention Center, Room W310

History Librarians Discussion Group (RUSA_HS)
Sunday, June 26 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Orange County Convention Center, Room W209C

Executive Committee Meeting (RUSA HISTORY)
Monday, June 27, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Rosen Centre, Room Salon 06

Also of note, the Genealogy Pre Conference will take place Friday, June 24, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, at the Orange County Convention Center, Room W304 A-B. The Genealogy Pre Conference has been full since early April–congratulations to the planning committee for organizing such a popular event! The committee is maintaining a waiting list for lunch, in case people who are already registered drop out. A few may be added to a waiting list for sessions only (no lunch).

To be added to the waiting list, please contact Rhonda L. Clark.

Stay tuned for more information about History Section programming at ALA!

From the History Librarians Discussion Group
During the History Librarians Discussion Group at Midwinter 2016, attendees were interested in learning more about the metadata standards used by different digital scholarship sites. Kara Long, Metadata and Catalog Librarian at Baylor University, has kindly composed an incredibly helpful piece for the History Section. She explains metadata and relates metadata to formats librarians will understand. The introduction to Kara’s piece is provided here, with the full text available on the History Section site.

“An Entirely Too Brief History of Library Metadata and a Peak at the Future, Too”
Even if you feel unfamiliar with metadata, you may have heard the definition, “metadata is data about data.” This is technically true but not very illuminating. The title of a book is metadata. The length of a feature film is metadata. The date of a treaty is metadata. Metadata is information about other data, and in the case of libraries the “other data” is usually an information object – like a book, film, or government document. So, you may feel unfamiliar with metadata, but the truth is that we all rely on metadata all the time in our daily lives. If you work in a library (and you probably do), then you use metadata every time you search for a book or article. In fact, metadata probably plays a big role in a lot of what you do.

A conversation about metadata can get very theoretical very quickly. So, in honor of the History Librarians’ discussion group, I will present an entirely too brief history of library metadata as a way to contextualize our current metadata challenges. In libraries, many of these challenges originate in library data models developed in the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries. Our choice of data models and standards has proliferated since then, and I hope this brief history makes the sea of library metadata a little less overwhelming.
Continue reading


Laura Hibbler, Editor

The RUSA History Genealogy Achievement Award committee met (in person at ALA Midwinter and virtually). The Committee finalized the citation for their award winner, Michele C. McNabb, Library Manager, Genealogy Center, Museum of Danish America.

RUSA History Genealogy Pre Conference Planning committee had a successful pre-conference with about 100 attendees. The speakers and topics were:

  • “Seventeenth-Century New England Research,” Lindsay Fulton, from the New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • “Migrations Out of New England,” Christopher C. Child, from New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • “Learning about ‘Good’ Genealogy: Educational Opportunities and Testing,” Elissa Scalise Powell, CG , CGL

The New England Historic Genealogical Society invited all attendees to a tour of their facilities, followed by a reception.

History Section members enjoyed an informal meet-up during ALA Midwinter, at Jaho Coffee Roaster and Wine Bar.

Approximately 18 people attended the History Section’s tour of the Boston Athenaeum at ALA Midwinter.

RUSA History Librarians Discussion Group held an excellent session during ALA Midwinter. Eileen M. Bentsen, Baylor University Libraries, writes with the following notes about the discussion:

The Discussion Group (DG) focused on two topics of interest to members: digital tools for history, and the ACRL Framework and RUSA IL Guidelines for UG History Students: Beyond the Classroom. Both topics generated lively and useful discussion among the attendees who represented public, academic, and special libraries, historical societies and museums, and individuals from tech start ups wanting to work with history librarians to better promote services, collections, and tools.

Eileen Bentsen (convener of the DG) opened the digital tools portion of the discussion by sharing the “Tools” page from her colleague’s LibGuide on digital scholarship tools – chosen because they are all freely available on the web and most don’t require a long learning curve (Megan Martinsen. Digital Scholarship: Tools, http://researchguides.baylor.edu/c.php?g=399080&p=2712185). Discussion followed on what each tool could do, who might have used them, and a list of other tools and sites recommended from the attendees.

Many of the institutions present did not have a digital humanities librarian working within or with their institution and the website The Programming Historian (http://dhcommons.org) was recommended as a good starting place for independent learning. It was also suggested that the links provided during this discussion be added to the existing Library of Congress and/or Digital Public Library of America web site. Eileen agreed to follow up on this.

The group next moved on to a discussion of the ACRL Framework, ACRL IL Guidelines, and RUSA IL Guidelines for UG History Majors and how to move the use of these tools beyond the traditional classroom. Copies of all three documents were shared among those present. Attendees focused on the “scholarship as conversation” portion of the ACRL Framework and how this aspect would be most useful in non-academic settings as a way to address several common issues. Issues included:

  • incorporating these items (esp. the RUSA IL Guidelines) in the teacher training workshops that many of the institutions participated in
  • introducing these documents into discussions with educators, board members, and other stakeholders as a means of demonstrating the authority and ownership librarians, archivists, and library staff have in the educational mission of the institution
  • could the Guidelines be used as the design principle in designing an institution’s website
  • use the Guidelines and Framework with State History Day organizers to provide a more realistic time schedule for the research involved in these projects

Among the topics which generated the most discussion was the use of these documents as a tool to explain the ethical issues involved when working with primary source materials.

A full list of links is posted on ALA Connect at http://connect.ala.org/node/249210 and will be mailed to attendees. Other methods of dissemination are also being considered.


Laura Hibbler, Editor

A sub-committee of the History Section’s Instruction and Research Services Committee has created an updated version of the Using Primary Sources on the Web page:

The previous version will be archived at:
until December 18, 2015.

Send comments regarding the content on the new page to rusaprimarysourcespage@gmail.com.

Stay tuned for news about events at Midwinter, including:

  • Genealogy Institute on Friday from 8:00am-4pm
  • Genealogy & Local History Discussion Group from 4:30pm-5:30pm on Saturday
  • History Librarians Discussion Group from 1:00-2:30pm on Sunday
  • Plus a History Section dinner and a field trip!


Laura Hibbler, Editor


History Section Field Trip to U.S. Immigration Station at Angel Island
Members of the History Section participated in a field trip to Angel Island during this year’s ALA Annual Conference. Tens of thousands of immigrants entered the United States through the Immigration Station at Angel Island between 1910 and 1940. David Murray, chair of the History Section, reports “I found the experience both educational and a lot of fun. I enjoyed the boat ride to the island, walking up the trail and road to the immigration center (w/ spectacular views), and getting to know a number of History Section members I’d never met in person. The historical highlight for me was the Chinese poetry written on the walls of the immigration center.” David also notes that Helene LaFrance deserves a great deal of credit for organizing such a spectacular field trip.

Pacific Link, the KQED Asian Education Initiative, provides images and additional information about the poetry written on the barracks wall at Angel Island:


Instruction and Research Services Committee
RUSA HS IRS Committee Revisions to “Using Primary Sources on the Web” Page

RUSA’s current web page Using Primary Sources on the Web is being revised by a working group of the Instruction and Research Services Committee. We plan on having the new page live in time for September, when statistics show use of the page more than doubles with over 6600 clicks. The group is working on updating information, expanding the list of reliable sources by using LibGuides (thanks to Michelle Baildon, former Past-President of the History Section) and expanding the section on “Citing Websites” to include ways to successfully incorporate primary sources in writing a paper.

Currently there are two LibGuides of selected primary sources – American History and World History. Future plans include a LibGuide for primary sources on Canadian History, and breaking out the World History guide into distinct area guides (Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, etc.).

Committee members Shelley Arlen, Eileen Bentsen (co-chair), Julie Higbee, Melissa Gonzalez, Joel Kitchens, Olga Perkovic (co-chair), and Julienne Wood, have been working together with Laura Hibbler as our web designer. We hope the changes and enhancements will improve the page and make it appealing to a wide range of users from junior high through graduate students. Look for the announcement of the launch date and provide us with feedback when you start using the new web page. Send questions to Eileen_Bentsen@baylor.edu.

Eileen Bentsen, Co-chair


Laura Hibbler, Editor

The History Section is pleased to announce its incoming officers:
David Murray, The College of New Jersey, Chair
Christina Thompson-Shutt, Hendrix College, Vice-Chair, chair elect
Jenny Presnell, Miami University [Ohio],Past Chair
Jenny McElroy, Minnesota Historical Society, Secretary
Melissa Gonzalez, University of West Florida, Member at Large

Melissa joins two other Members at Large, Nancy Bunker, Whitworth University, and Chella Vaidyanathan, Johns Hopkins University.

History Section Events at ALA Annual
We invite everyone to check out the History Section at ALA Annual in San Francisco. Come and checkout what are committees are doing at the all committee meeting, Saturday June 27th (Moscone Convention Center room 200-220(S)) at 8:30AM. Visit different committees and discover what the section is about. For a list of the committees and activities see: http://www.ala.org/rusa/sections/history/committees.
You can also join us for the executive committee meeting, Monday, June 29th, at 8:30am at the Marriott Marquis San Francisco Club Room.

The RUSA Genealogy Preconference will take place on Friday, June 26.
Register online: http://bit.ly/1KxFOtQ
Free lunch will be provided! More details will be posted soon.

Join us for a panel discussion focused on Asian American records and local history at
ALA Annual:
“Connecting Communities: Documenting and Sharing Asian American Heritage,”
Saturday, June 27, 1:00pm-2:30pm at Moscone Convention Center 2004 (W).

The program is co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA). Speakers include Florante Ibanez, Manager of Library Computer Services at William M. Rains Library-Loyola Law School; Michelle Caswell, Assistant Professor of Archival Studies at University of California-Los Angeles; and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Joseph S. Atha Professor in Humanities at Stanford University. Jenna Makowski, Asian-American Products Editor at Alexander Street Press, will moderate the discussion.
More information: http://alaac15.ala.org/node/28612

The History Section also planned a field trip to the US Immigration station on Angel Island. Participants will learn about Asian immigration to the United States from 1910-1940.

The History Section will be getting together for a dinner at ALA. Keep watch for details about the dinner and other social events on the Section website, the history-l listserv, Facebook, and Twitter.


Laura Hibbler, Editor


Midwinter Recap

Genealogy Institute: Meeting the Needs of Your Family History Patrons

The Genealogy Preconference at ALA Midwinter had something for everyone, from the librarian who specializes in genealogy reference to those who find themselves answering family history questions in a general reference setting. Attendees learned about free resources for learning more about family history so they can better understand their patrons’ questions. They also discovered online resources for genealogical and local history materials, including those for ethnic populations. Those with collections that they would like to see online were particularly interested in the session on partnerships with commercial and non-profit organizations.

Discussion sections

Genealogy and Local History Discussion Session had a lively discussion about building relationships between different types of libraries engaged in Genealogy reference service.

The History Librarians Discussion Session explored crowdsourcing digital projects, including:

  • University of Louisville Archives & Special Collections (Carrie Daniels) began providing online access to all extant copies of a defunct local African-American newspaper, The Louisville Leader
  • University of Iowa Libraries (Tom Keegan) began the DIY History Project, transcribing civil war letters and diaries with the help of volunteers.

Presenters’ slides are now available on the History Section website: http://www.ala.org/rusa/sections/history/presentations.

Historical Materials Awards

The Best Historical materials list was announced at the RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony at ALA Midwinter. Annually, this committee selects the best historical bibliographies and resources. For a complete list of the winners with descriptions see: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2015/02/annual-list-best-historical-materials-selected-rusa-s-history-section. Winners are: Europeana 1914-1918; Mapping Gothic France; 1914-1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War; Lowcountry Digital History Initiative; Darwin Online; Freedom Summer Digital Collection; Densho Digital Repository; Roaring Twenties.



Webinar in the works: Personal Archiving Program

We are working on a webinar that highlights three programs developed to support individuals’ efforts to archive their personal and family histories. In the fall of 2013, Jordan Welborn, a librarian at Campbell County (VA) Public Library got a six-week pilot program on personal digital archiving set up for less than $300. At the University of Central Florida, graduate student Ashley Vance conducted a History Harvest, a community-based digitizing event of personal artifacts to be placed onto the UCF digital archive. And Noah Lenstra, a PhD candidate at UIUC’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science, has given a series of public workshops on “Digital Local & Family history” across Illinois.

Paid Webinar

We have an upcoming webinar on Tuesday, May 12, 2015: 2-3:30pm: Exploring Partnerships with Faculty and Other User Groups for Digital Humanities Projects. (see http://www.ala.org/rusa/exploring-partnerships) which will provide specific examples of the ways in which librarians from two academic libraries actively participated in digital humanities projects with different user groups. Hear Chella Vaidyanathan from Johns Hopkins, Caitlin Christian-Lamb from Davidson College, and Mary Elings from The Bancroft library on the UC Berkeley campus talk about specific collaborative projects.


Updates from History Section Committees

The History Section Instruction & Research Services Committee (IRS) is revising the RUSA page “Using Primary Sources on the Web” (http://www.ala.org/rusa/sections/history/resources/pubs/usingprimarysources) Originally written in 2003 and last revised in 2008, the Committee’s work will include updated content, a more contemporary look to the page and include new content for students and the public on ethical uses of internet sources. More to come later this spring. The Committee is also beginning to look at ways of improving communication among history librarians beyond the ALA Annual and Midwinter conference experiences. The Committee would like to keep the conversation about ideas, best practices, and clever solutions to promoting and supporting history librarians going; the Committee wants to reach out across the spectrum of libraries and cultural institutions, so watch for news on this communications front as well.

The Genealogy Committee is working on revising two sets of guidelines: Guidelines for a Unit or Course of Instruction in Genealogical Research at Schools of Library and Information Science and Guidelines for Developing a Core Genealogy Collection.

The Genealogical Publishing Company Award Committee has revised its charge and had it approved by the HS executive committee:

Revised January 31, 2015

Established in 1992 and sponsored by Genealogical Publishing Company, this award may be presented to an individual, group, publisher, or institution in recognition of achievements and activities in historical or genealogical reference, service or research. Sponsored by Genealogical Publishing Company; the 2015 award is $1,500 and a citation.

The recipient shall be selected for exceptional accomplishment in one or more of the following areas: leadership; service; training; reference; or publication of recent, significant print or digital reference works/projects that offer access to genealogical or historical sources. Preference shall be given to members of RUSA.

HSGPC committee:

Helen Gbala, Chair
Mary Bogan, Scribe
William J. Forsyth, Member
Sarah Kirby, Member

Between now and annual the Genealogical Publishing Company Award Committee will be working an Award manual following the style suggested by the RUSA awards coordinating committee.


Laura Hibbler, Editor


Please join the RUSA History Librarians Discussion Group to learn about two outstanding crowdsourcing projects from the University of Iowa and the University of Louisville. The group will meet at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Conference on Sunday, February 1, from 1-2:30 pm. The panelists will talk about how they successfully engaged their local communities in transcribing historical materials for these two digital projects.

Chella Vaidyanathan, History Librarians Discussion Group

The Historical Materials Committee is in the process of creating its annual Best Historical Materials list. We have selected the winners and are in the process of writing abstracts for the RUSQ article.

Matthew J. Wayman, Chair of the Historical Materials Committee

Nominations are being accepted for the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) History Section Genealogical Publishing Company Award. This award is presented to a librarian, library or publisher, who is a RUSA member, and recognizes professional achievement in historical or genealogical reference, service or research librarianship. Sponsored by Genealogical Publishing Company; the 2015 award is $1,500 and a citation. For more information and to download the nomination form, please visit http://www.ala.org/rusa/awards/genealogicalpublishing

Helen Gbala, Genealogical Publishing Company Award Committee


Laura Hibbler, Editor


Congratulations to William Forsyth and Yvonne Carignan!

  • William Forsyth, director of product management for ProQuest, was awarded the Genealogical Publishing Company Award in recognition of professional achievement in historical or genealogical reference, service or research. Please contact Helen Gbala for details about this award.
  • Yvonne Carignan, of George Mason University, was awarded with the RUSA History Section/Gale Cengage Learning History Research and Innovation Award. This award is granted to an MLS degreed librarian from an ALA accredited school to facilitate and further research relating to history and history librarianship. To learn more about the Gale Cengage Learning History Research and Innovation Award, please visit the History Section website: http://www.ala.org/rusa/sections/history/research_award or contact Sara Morris, semorris@ku.edu.

The ALA RUSA History Section hosted a trip to the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas on Friday, June 27th, during the ALA Annual Conference. Thirty-seven people attended and, thanks to RUSA’s generous support, the attendees received a guided tour and were able to take a chartered bus.

The Historical Materials Committee met during at the Annual Conference to discuss responsibilities for the coming year and procedures for creating the annual Best Historical Materials article. On Sunday, June 29th, the committee co-sponsored a program entitled, “The Nevada Test Site Project: Bringing Primary Resources to Researchers.” Nicholas Wyant, immediate past chair of the committee, served as moderator. The program focused on the creation and curation of the project, which consists of 335 hours of transcripted and digitized material regarding the “nuclear proving ground” in Nevada. Check out the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project: http://digital.library.unlv.edu/ntsohp

The History Librarians Discussion Group held a panel discussion, “The Role/s of Humanities Librarians in Digital Humanities”, on June 28th at the ALA Annual Conference. Panelists Thomas Padilla (Digital Humanities, Linguistics, & Philosophy Librarian, Michigan State University Libraries) and Harriett Green (English & Digital Humanities Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) each spoke about their experiences working with digital humanities and then answered questions from attendees. The panelists’ presentation slides have been posted online at the History Section’s website: http://www.ala.org/rusa/sections/history/presentations

And stay tuned for the publication of Padilla’s book, co-authored with Trevor Getz:

Getz, Trevor, and Thomas Padilla. Subjecting History: Building a Relationship Between History and its Alternatives. Athens: Ohio University Press, Forthcoming Fall 2015.

The Genealogy pre-conference at the ALA Annual Conference included a panel, “Getting More Than You Pay For,” about the free resources available on Ancestry, Fold3, Newspapers.com, Archives.com, and Ancestry’s various social media outlets. The panelists Kim Harrison and Amy Johnson Crow (Ancestry.com) have made their presentation slides available on slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/ancestry/free-resources-on-ancestrycom-fold3-newspaperscom-and-archivescom


Laura Hibbler, Editor

Genealogy Preconference
RUSA will again host a free Genealogy Preconference at Las Vegas on June 27. This all-day event will be held in the Milano V Room at Caesars Palace Hotel. Thanks to our generous sponsor, ProQuest, our noon luncheon will also be free. Doors open at 8:30 AM and our first panel “Getting More Than You Pay For: Free Access to Genealogical Resources,” kicks off at 9:15 AM. This was so popular at Philadelphia Midwinter, that it is back by acclamation, this time featuring Kim Harrison and Amy Crow from Ancestry.com , Michael Hall from FamilySearch.org, and Curt Witcher from the Allen County Public Library. At 11:00 AM we’ll hear from Katherine Rankin from the University of Nevada, on “Using Maps in Genealogy.” Following lunch, William Forsyth from ProQuest will present new innovations. At 1:30 PM, D. Joshua Taylor from FindMyPast.com will moderate a current affairs roundtable discussion on popular genealogical topics. At 2:30 PM special guest speaker Nicole Miller from University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. will present “Making the Financial Case for Genealogical Librarianship: Fast and Affordable Methods for Training Genealogy Staff.” Join us for an engaging look at a mainstay of library patrons’ interests. Sign up through SurveyMonkey here.

History Librarians’ Discussion Group
The History Librarians’ Discussion Group will be holding a joint discussion session with the ACRL Digital Humanities Group on at Annual Saturday, June 28, from 1:00-2:30 PM. The session will provide additional examples about the roles of humanities liaison librarians in Digital Humanities projects. More information will be shared online soon.


Laura Hibbler, Editor

Genealogy Preconference Planning
An audience of about eighty librarians and archivists filled the conference room at the Free Library of Philadelphia for the RUSA History/Genealogy section ALA Midwinter preconference event. Sponsor ProQuest provided refreshments and a delightful lunch. Fourteen top ranking speakers addressed popular topics including free genealogical online resources, future and current directions for NARA, producing genealogical webinars, Quaker sources, and government documents. Guest speaker Curt Witcher, Allen County Library Senior Manager for Special Collections addressed “Making the Financial Case for Genealogical Librarianship.” His dynamic presentation was taped and will be made available later this year. We look forward to another cutting edge event at Las Vegas on Friday, June 27.

Melinde Lutz Byrne, Chair

History Librarians Discussion Group
The RUSA History Librarians Discussion Group met on Jan. 26, 2014 from 1:00-2:30 PM. We had an excellent panel presentation on the roles of humanities librarians in Digital Humanities! The three speakers for the event were Sarah How, the European Studies Librarian from Cornell University Library; Nick Okrent, History Librarian, University of Pennsylvania Libraries; and Virginia Cole, the History and Medieval Studies Librarian from Cornell University Library. They discussed their participation in digital humanities related initiatives on their campuses. The presentation was followed by a very lively discussion. We had more than sixty attendees who participated and it was a successful event! The PowerPoint presentation from Sarah How and Nick Okrent can be accessed on ALA Connect. We welcome comments or feedback about the discussion. Please e-mail them to cvaidyan@jhu.edu

Chella Vaidyanathan, Chair

Please check out the Information Literacy Guidelines and Competencies for Undergraduate History Students. These guidelines and competencies were developed by the History Sections’ Instruction and Research Services Committee and were approved by the RUSA Board of Directors last year.

Interested in updates from the History Section and keeping with news that is of interest to History Section members? Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for the history-l listserv!


Laura O’Neill Hibbler, Editor

Midwinter Institute: Genealogy Resources for Librarians Institute
Sponsored by ProQuest Friday

January 24, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
Philadelphia Free Library conference room, 1901 Vine St., Philadelphia, PA 19103

This all-day institute addresses issues of importance to library staff and administration when serving or partnering with genealogical patrons, volunteer, scholars, or educators. Fourteen panelists and lecturers will present at the midwinter ALA RUSA Midwinter Genealogy Resources for Librarians Preconference Institute, “Future Directions for the National Archives and Records Administration.” Specialists will discuss everything from superb free resources to future directions at NARA to webinar outreach, new online offerings, webinar instruction, government documents, Quaker resources, and making the financial case for genealogical librarianship. Luncheon included.

Register now at the Midwinter Ticketed Events page. You do not need to be registered for the entire conference to participate in the ticketed events.

The History Section Genealogical Publishing Company Award
Established in 1992 and sponsored by Genealogical Publishing Company this award presents a citation and $1,500 cash to a librarian or library in recognition of their professional achievement in historical or genealogical reference, service or research. The recipient shall be selected for exceptional accomplishment in one or more of the following areas: professional association leadership and/or service and training; reference services; publication of recent, important, and highly regarded print or web based reference works; or digital projects that offer important access to genealogical or historical sources. Please visit the Genealogical Publishing Company Award page for more information.


Laura O’Neill Hibbler, Editor


At ALA Annual, the RUSA History Section program “Library Engagement in National History Day Activities” featured a diverse panel of speakers: Crystal Johnson, Chicago Metro History Education Center; Gail Egbers, Pacific Lutheran University; Jennifer Hootman, Minitex, University of Minnesota; and Kris Maldre, National Archives and Records Administration. Attendees learned of creative and innovative ways for libraries of various types engage with students participating in National History Day competitions. Among the attendees there were a number of individuals interested in implementing programs at their institutions and creating relationships with their local schools. The four panelists offered great ideas for creating programs as well as enhancing existing programs. Our attendance was a small but enthusiastic thirty which we feel is pretty good considering we were competing against vendor breakfasts and Temple Grandin.

The History Section Program, “Digital History: New Methodologies Facilitated by New Technologies” sponsored by the Instruction and Research Services Committee, was held on June 30 at the McCormick Place in Chicago. The program was well attended and very well received. Speakers included Dr. Michael Kramer and Josh Honn both from Northwestern University and also Dr. Anne Flannery and Adam Strohm both from the Newberry Library. The program included discussion of digital tools available and how to use them, strides in using digital source materials and how to incorporate the new digital methodologies in the library and/or classroom.

The Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group’s conversation was kicked off by Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, which is hosted by the University of Chicago. Tamar presented on the innovative ways the consortium has worked with the community to preserve important pieces of local history that are too often overlooked by traditional repositories. There were a number of questions at the end of her presentation as well as informal discussions throughout the room after she concluded. Over fifty people attended the discussion group.

The Genealogical Preconference “Behind the Genealogy Reference Desk: Chicago Style Genealogy” had about eighty attendees at the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library on June 28. Matt Rutherford from the Newberry Library spoke on “ChicagoAncestors.org—Discover the Past by Address.” Curt B. Witcher of the Allen County Library System gave a wonderful account of early American history resources in “And the Rockets’ Red Glare: Sources for War of 1812 Research.” Elissa Scalise Powell, from Boston University and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, presented on “Genealogical Education Opportunities.” Chip Nilges from OCLC WorldCat and Michael J. Hall from FamilySearch discussed “OCLC WorldCat and FamilySearch; how the recent partnership can enhance the research experience from the Beginner to the Expert.” Sandy Joseph closed the preconference with “Beginning African American Research on Family Search.” All of the presenters gave a great account of themselves, and provided much needed information to the attending librarians. ProQuest provided an outstanding lunch with a presentation by William Forsyth of ProQuest.

Message from the Chair


Laura Hibbler, Editor


You will notice some changes in the History Section’s activities in Chicago. For the first time in many years the Section will have an All Committee Meeting on Saturday, June 29 at 8:30 A.M. In addition to a time for all committees to work, there will be a brief open meeting to provide updates on some exciting changes in the Section. On Sunday the section will have two programs! At 8:30 A.M. Library Engagement in National History Day Activities, will highlight how librarians at a variety of different institutions support this activity. Later on Sunday, June 30 at 1:30 P.M. Digital History: New Methodologies Facilitated by New Technologies, will explore the efforts of librarians and instructors to use technology to teach history. And as always, on Friday, June 28, we will have the Genealogy Pre-Conference and on Saturday, we hope you will participate in the Genealogy and Local History Discussion group.

If you cannot make it to Chicago, please keep up with posts to History-L concerning ways to be involved in the History Section without attending conferences.

Sara E. Morris

History Section Chair, 2012-2013

Message from the History Chair


Laura Hibbler, Editor

From our discussion groups, committee meetings, and our dinner, the History Section had a great time in Seattle. The Executive Board made two important decisions. Section Committees will no longer meet at Midwinter. Committees will be expected to hold at least one virtual meeting between Annual 2013 and Midwinter 2014. By no longer requiring attendance at two meetings a year, we hope more members are able to participate in committee activities. The other important piece of news is that at Annual in Chicago, the History Section will have an All Committee Meeting, instead of meeting individually. This will create a great opportunity for us to network and get to know one another. Join us!

As you are contemplating how to be involved in ALA and RUSA in the next year, consider volunteering to serve on one of the History Section’s committees. Our Vice-Chair, Michelle Baildon, will be working on appointments throughout the spring. To see a list of our committees and/or volunteer, visit the History Section’s Committees page.

Sara E. Morris
History Section Chair, 2012-2013

Message from the Chair


Laura Hibler, Editor


The History Section is looking forward to having many of you participate in our activities in Seattle. If you are flying in early or have a desire to increase your skills, attend our FREE Genealogy Preconference, on Friday, January 25. Watch for more information concerning speakers, location, and registration. In addition to fun committee meetings, we will gather for the Genealogy and Local History and History Librarians Discussion Groups.

History Section Awards

The History Section is pleased to announce our new award, the RUSA History Section/Gale Cengage History Research Innovation Award. This award provides up to $2,500 dollars to be used at the winner’s discretion towards a project related to history and history librarianship. Applications are due December 15th.

We are also seeking nominations for the Genealogy Publishing Company Award. This cash award is presented annually to a librarian or library in recognition of their professional achievement in historical or genealogical reference, service or research. Nominations are due December 15th.

Sara E. Morris
History Section Chair, 2012-2013

History Section News

Please consider nominating a library or library system for the 2013 Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Services. The award consists of $3,000 and a citation. At ALA Annual 2012, the committee honored the Richland County South Carolina Public Library Job Center. A list of previous recipients along with award criteria and the nomination form can be found on the RUSA site. The closing date for nominations is December 15, 2012.

Message from the Past Chair


Laura Hibbler, Editor

It’s been a productive time for the History Section. The RUSA Board has approved a new Gale Cengage History Section Research and Innovation Award. We have gotten to this point through the diligent efforts of Agnes Widder. The monetary award is intended to promote and further research relating to history and history librarianship. We are still awaiting approval from the ALA Executive Council before advertising the award this fall.

The History Section annual program this year was sponsored by the Genealogy Committee and entitled “Mining Gold from the 1940 Census.” The main speaker was Joel Weintraub, a volunteer at the National Archives and Records Administration, Riverside. A panel discussion followed and included Amy Crow of Archives.com, Michael Hall from Family Search, and Bill Forsyth from ProQuest. Over 100 people attended the program. The Genealogy Committee meeting discussed getting youth involved in genealogy research and what to do with donated genealogy research papers.

One of the communication avenues available to History Section members is History-L. This listserv has 279 subscribers with eighty-nine messages sent to the list from July 1, 2011 to June 20, 2012. If you are not a member of the History-L, you can subscribe you can do so by going to http://lists.ala.org/wws/info/history-l. You can also find out about History Section events and activities by “liking us” on Facebook.

The Genealogy & Local History Discussion Group had a presentation by a representative of Fold3 who talked about their military content. There was also a discussion about Family History Books, a free website containing free digital genealogy books.

The Historical Materials Committee finalized their list of Best Historical Materials for publication in RUSQ. The committee also started planning the 2014 History Section program.

The Instruction & Research Services (IRS) Committee had a discussion on history standards for college students. They are developing a set of guidelines on this topic. The guidelines were brought before the RUSA Standards & Guidelines Committee prior to the Annual Conference. A few changes are needed. IRS is planning the 2013 History Section annual program. The topic will be Digital History.

The Local History Committee updated Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections. It was approved by the RUSA Standards & Guidelines Committee prior to the Annual Conference as well as being approved by the RUSA Board prior to the conference. The major discussion in the meeting centered on how to find new publications of county histories.

Membership in the History Section committees is open to any RUSA History Section member. You will find a link to the volunteer form at http://www.ala.org/rusa/about/divisioncommittees.

Janice Schultz
History Section Past Chair

Message from the Chair


The History Section, with the sponsorship of ProQuest, offered a free genealogy preconference at the Midwinter in Dallas, Texas. Speakers included Lloyd Bockstruck, retired librarian from the Dallas Public Library, Aaron Holt of the National Archives, Sue Kaufman of the Clayton Library in Houston, Texas, Ari Wilkins of the Dallas Public Library, and Bill Forsyth of ProQuest. Plans are underway for another free preconference at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. We hope many will plan to attend this June 22, 2012, event.

The History Section program at the ALA Annual Conference will be entitled, “Mining Gold From the 1940 Census. The opening of the 1940 census for public view on April 2, 2012, will be unlike any other. This census is being offered in digital content only. Joel Weintrub of the National Archives and Records Administration will speak about the impact of this census which documents the Greatest Generation on the brink of war. A panel discussion will follow by representatives of vendors who will host the 1940 census images. They will discuss what their individual companies are doing to index the census records.

The History Librarians Discussion Group, monitored by Heather Tompkins, had twenty-eight in attendance at the Midwinter meeting. There was a mix of public, academic, and special librarians, as well as two students and some vendors. The discussion focused around the issues and challenges of providing access to the kinds of sources people use when researching public history topics. They also explored some of the challenges of teaching the complexities of public history. The discussion ended with some thoughts about the definitions of public history and some thoughts about the perceptions of public history as a discipline.

The Local History Committee has revised Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections. The RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee has reviewed the document and when the recommended changes are made it will proceed again to the committee before it is brought before the RUSA Executive Board at the Annual Conference.

A new History Section award will be announced at the RUSA Awards Program at the 2012 Annual Conference.

Sara Morris, History Section Vice-Chair is making appointments now for those who would like to be involved in committee work for the History Section. Please fill out the volunteer form on the RUSA website if you would like to volunteer.

Janice Schultz
History Section Chair

Genealogy Committee

The Genealogy Committee and GODORT will sponsor the RUSA History Section’s program at Anaheim this summer: “Mining Gold from the 1940 Census.”

Images of the 1940 U.S. Population Census were released in April, 2012 following a 72 year embargo for privacy concerns. These images are of great interest to genealogists and other social historians. This program will be presented on Sunday, June 24 at 1:30 P.M. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Joel Weintraub who collaborates with Steve Morse on the many1-Step indexes. His presentation will be followed by a panel who represent organizations which began to provide access to images of the 1940 US Census on April 2, 2012:

●     Kerry Bartels, US Archives

●     Bill Forsyth, Proquest (Ancestry.com Library edition and Heritage Quest)

●     Michael Hall, FamilySearch

●     Amy Johnson Crow, Archives.com

Dave Dowell, Chair

History Section

Laura O’Neill Hibbler, Editor

History Section members are encouraged to join the History Section listserv, history-l, a source of HS activities, HS committee opportunities, and information for history and genealogy librarians. To subscribe and to view the archive of past questions, please go to http://lists.ala.org/wws/info/history-l.

The History Section has selected Jay L. Verkler as the recipient of this year’s Genealogical Publishing Company Award. Verkler is past president and CEO of FamilySearch.org. The award recognizes “professional achievement in historical or genealogical reference, service or research.” Please read the full story at American Libraries or the RUSA Blog.

The following history-related programs will take place at the Annual Conference in Anaheim. Check the conference program guide to be sure of the dates and times and to find the locations.

RUSA History Section: FREE Genealogy Workshop: Behind the Genealogy Reference Desk: Catching the Genealogy Wave
Friday, June 22, 2012, 11:30 AM-6:00 PM, Anaheim Public Library

  1. Wendy Elliott-Scheinberg (Professor of History at California State University, Fullerton) discussing “Local History in the Academic World”
  2. Kerry Bartels (Archives Specialist, The National Archives at Riverside) speaking on California Resources.
  3. Dennis Meldrum (Manager, Book Scanning Operations, FamilySearch) presenting on the FamilySearch digital program.
  4. Other speakers still to be announced.

To register for this day please go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XY8WBJG
Please feel free to contact Mary Mannix at mkmannix@gmail.com or Kim Harrison at kharrison@ancestry.com if you have any questions.
This day is being made possible by the generous sponsorship of ProQuest.

Committee Updates

RUSA History Section; Government Documents Round Table
Mining Gold from the 1940 U.S. Census Sunday
Sunday, June 24, 1:30-3:30 PM, Anaheim Convention Center, Room 204B

Census records are invaluable for many kinds of research–especially family history. The seventy-two-year privacy embargo expired in April, 2012 for the 1940 U.S. Census. Librarians and researchers are eager to know what these records contain and what indexes and other finding aids will help mine this vast treasure trove of information.

Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT)
Community Voices: Preserving the History and Culture of Our Communities
Saturday, June 23, 10:3012:00 PM, Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201A

Step Back into the Future – New Technology Brings History to Your Smartphone: Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science developed “GeoStoryteller” for the Goethe-Institut’s project German Traces. Geodata is used to guide you via a mobile website along NYC’s German Traces recapturing the early days of immigration in New York City. Podcasts, slideshows and augmented reality make this a rich and entertaining learning experience.

Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations
Historical Fiction @ your library
Saturday, June 23, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Anaheim Convention Center, Room 202A

Historical fiction is popular in libraries of all types. Come listen to best-selling authors Jeri Westerson, Regina O’Melveny, James Carlos Blake, and Beatriz Williams talk about their latest books. A book signing follows with most books given away free. Barbara Hoffert, editor of Library Journal’s Prepub Alert, will moderate the panel.

Library History Round Table: Edward G. Holley Memorial Lecture: Thinking Globally about Carnegie Libraries
Saturday, June 23, 4:00-5:30 PM, Anaheim Convention Center, Room 206A

In the early years of the twentieth century, Andrew Carnegie financed the construction of public library buildings throughout the English-speaking world. His efforts were one prong of a campaign to forge what he called a “Race Alliance” among people of British ancestry in North America, Great Britain, Australasia, and throughout the Pacific. In this year’s Holley lecture, architectural historian Abigail Van Slyck looks closely at the Carnegie libraries in New Zealand with this global context in mind, asking how libraries—their physical spaces as well as their collections—helped sustain an imagined community called the Anglo-Saxon race.

Abigail A. Van Slyck is an architectural historian with expertise in library architecture. In addition to a number of articles on ladies’ reading rooms, delivery desks as feminized work spaces, and othertopics, she is the author of Free to All: Carnegie Libraries and American Culture, 1890-1920 (Chicago, 1995; translated into Japanese in 2005).

LHRT Library History Round Table: Invited Speakers Program
Panel Title: Public Libraries and Civil Rights: African Americans and American Library History
Sunday, June 24, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Hilton Anaheim, Laguna B

  1. Karen Cook, "Breaking the Chains: Freedom Libraries in the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project"
  2. Cheryl Knott, "Questions of Access: The Institutionalization of Racial Segregation in Public Libraries in the First Half of the Twentieth Century"
  3. Steven Harris, "Preserving the Union: ALA and Its Southern Chapters during the Civil Rights Movement"
  4. Respondent: Renate Chancellor

Library History Round Table: Research Forum
Intellectual Freedom and Libraries in America and Abroad : Historical Perspectives
Sunday, June 24, 1:30-3:30 PM, Hilton Anaheim, Laguna B

ALA-PPO-PCPAC Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee
Making Sense of the Civil War: Reading and Discussion Program Opportunities
Saturday, June 23, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Anaheim Convention Center, Room 202B

In collaboration with ALA and thirty-seven state humanities councils, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has supported development of a discussion program for libraries that probes the meanings of the American Civil War during its sesquicentennial. Following the popular “Let’s Talk About It” model, the program engages participants in discussion of related texts selected by Civil War historian Edward Ayers. Attend this session for instruction on hosting the series, including an overview of the discussion model and state-level funding opportunities.

APALA – Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA)
So You Think You Can Write: Librarians Gather & Preserve Our Community History
Sunday, June 24, 2012, 1:30-3:30 PM, Anaheim Convention Center 208B

A workshop / roundtable panel of local ethnic community-focused books published under Arcadia Publishing by the authors who are also librarians, archivists, and historians. They will be exposing and sharing their challenges as well as their joys in researching families, organizations, and individuals in order to document and preserve the collective memories of their local communities. Their goal is to promote and encourage more community history books to be written, especially from diverse communities. Speakers: Elnora Kelly Tayag, "Filipinos in Ventura County"; Lessa Pelayo-Lozada "Hawaiians in Los Angeles"; Florante Peter Ibanez, "Filipinos in Carson and the South Bay"; and Jenny Cho, "Chinatown in Los Angeles" and "Chinatown and China City in Los Angeles- Postcard History."

HISTORY Announcements

Laura O’Neill Hibbler, Editor


The History Section will have its customary dinner at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Dallas on Sunday, January 22. A long-standing tradition, members of the History Section and friends are invited to a Dutch-treat dinner at a restaurant near the convention center. The venue has yet to be chosen but will be announced on the History-L listserv in early January. If you are not a member of the listserv please be aware that any member of the History Section can join. To subscribe go to http://lists.ala.org/wws/info/history-l.

The Historical Materials committee is always looking for new and interesting bibliographies (print and online) and exception websites, especially those that collect, archive, and provide enhanced access to primary sources. Every year we evaluate sources but suspect we may miss some of the outstanding sources you find useful. We’d really like to hear from other librarians what resources we should consider for our next “Best” list. Send nominations to the chair, Nick Wyant (nnwyant@gmail.com).

Message from the History Section Chair

Laura O’Niell Hibbler, Editor 

I am looking forward to the coming year as chair of the History Section. I would like to welcome all incoming committee chairs and new and returning committee members. We have had a great response for committee participation. I especially wish to thank those who responded to my call to be History Section representatives to RUSA committees. In my opinion, committee work is one of the most rewarding aspects to ALA and RUSA memberships.

Please review the list of History Section committee rosters on the History committee webpage. If you feel the information is incorrect please email me at jschultz@mymcpl.org. If you would still like to volunteer to be on a committee, please fill out the volunteer form and then email me that you have done so.

Janice Schultz
History Chair


Mary Mannix, Maryland Room manager at Frederick (Md.) County Public Libraries, was this year’s recipient of the Genealogical Publishing Company/History Section Award for outstanding contributions to the History Section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). Pictured is Mannix getting her award from Joe Brickey of the Genealogical Publishing Company at ALA’s annual conference in New Orleans.

Historical Materials Committee Report

The Historical Materials Committee discussed the timing of the Best Historical Materials publication in Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) and decided to try to change the cycle so that the committee will have one meeting a year at annual and at that meeting can do some in person evaluation of sources. Two new chairs were selected: Nick Wyant (chair) and Jacob Sherman (vice-chair). The guidelines for constructing the list of best Historical Materials was reviewed to include both print and online resources.

Jenny Presnell, Chair

History Section

The History Section Vice-Chair, Janice Schultz, is in the process of appointing members to History Section committees. If you would like to be appointed to a committee, please be sure to fill out the volunteer form on the History Section website. All requests for committee appointment will be considered. There are also some available positions for History Section representation to RUSA committees. If you have any trouble with the volunteer form or have not heard anything by May 15, please contact Janice at jschultz@mymcpl.org.

Genealogical Publishing Company Award
The 2011 recipient of the Genealogical Publishing Company Award is Mary K. Mannix. The Maryland Room manager at Frederick County Public Libraries, Mannix has been recognized for her dedication to the History Section of RUSA. She has served as chair of the History Section for two terms and has made invaluable contributions to program and preconference planning.

ABC-CLIO Online History Award
The 2011 ABC-CLIO Online History Award has been awarded to four historians in the Department of History at the University of Sydney (Australia) for work on their research project “Digital Harlem: Everyday Life, 1915-1930.” Shane White, Stephen Garton, Graham White, and Stephen Robertson used primary source materials and innovative digital techniques to present information about everyday life during the Harlem Renaissance.