RUSA, United host discussion on library advocacy best practices at Midwinter

CHICAGO—In partnership with United for Libraries, the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) is hosting “Are you a Proactive or Reactive Advocate? Best Practices from Academic and Public Library Supporters,” an engaging discussion on best practices for library advocacy at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta. The discussion will take place on Monday, January 23 from 10:30-11:30am in room A301 of the Georgia World Congress Center. All ALA Midwinter attendees are encouraged to participate.

This discussion will feature experienced library advocates as they share their insights on how to be a proactive advocate for your library and how to respond when a budget crisis hits. What advocacy lessons can academic and public libraries learn from each other? Attendees will be able to share their own experiences and learn from each other. Discussion leaders include Dustin Fife, Director of Library Services for Western State Colorado University and Donna McDonald Director of the Arkansas River Valley Regional Library in Dardanelle, AR. Discussion organizers are Susan Schmidt, United for Libraries President 2016-2017, and Joseph Thompson, RUSA President 2014-2015.

Dustin Fife is the Director of Library Services for Western State Colorado University.  He has also served as the Outreach Librarian for Utah Valley University and as the Library Director for San Juan County Public Libraries. Dustin was a 2016 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and the 2015-2016 President of the Utah Library Association.  More than anything, Dustin believes that library advocacy, evangelism, and outreach is about connecting with people individually, wherever they may be physically, intellectually, or otherwise. Some have come to realize that ”there is no spoon.” Dustin believes that there are no library walls.

Donna McDonald is the Director of the Arkansas River Valley Regional Library in Dardanelle, AR. She been in this position for 17 years and during this time was named by the Governor to the Arkansas State Library Board, where she served as the first public librarian on the Board for 7 years, both as Vice chair and Chair. She received the Bessie B Moore Trustee Award from the Arkansas Library Association in 2009. She is very involved in United for Libraries/ALTAFF and has served on the Publications Committee, Executive Committee, as President, and now as Secretary. Donna has completed PLA’s “Turning the Page 2.0” and has successfully trained advocates through the State Library. She has served on various ALA advocacy committees and has attended ALA’s Legislative Day for many years. She notes that, “Being an Advocate means being engaged and engaging, consistent and steady each and every day.”

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about the association at

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