Sarah Qronfleh and Allison Ryall, Genealogy Services of Orange County Library System, Awarded RUSA Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services

Allison Ryall

For service to the community with its creative and imaginative genealogy services including a full time Genealogy Specialist; for offering numerous genealogy events to the community; for providing one on one service to genealogy patrons through phone calls, emails and an online Book-A-Pro; for creating and maintain a genealogy LibGuide and weekly newsletter: and adapting these services during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah is Assistant Manager and Allison Ryall is the Genealogy Specialist for the Orange County Library System (OCLS) and an instructor in Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. In addition, Allison works with a variety of law enforcement agencies assisting them in solving cold case violent crimes using genetic genealogy. Previously, Allison worked with the National Genealogical Society as their Advertising and Marketing Manager and Graphic Designer and served as a grader for the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course. Allison also served as the conference trichair, program chair, and Ancestors Road Show Chair for the New England Regional Genealogical Conference and as the conference chair for the Association for Professional Genealogist’s annual conference.

Prior to pursuing her passion of genealogy, Allison was a media executive and has extensive experience in the areas of research, media relations, program management, and marketing. She holds degrees in U.S. History and Russian Studies and a master’s degree in American and New England Studies from the University of Southern Maine.

Allison’s work with the Orange County Library System includes offering weekly events to customers in the central Florida community. Topics range from basic and beginning genealogy to advanced research techniques and DNA. Allison also offers one-on-one assistance to customers with their in-depth genealogical questions through the library’s ‘Book-A-Pro’ service. Allison has assisted numerous customers to solve complex problems and break down brick walls in their research.

The Genealogy Center, located at the West Oaks Branch in Ocoee, Florida, contains a collection of around 40,000 volumes and specializes in states east of the Mississippi River. The Florida State Society of the Daughters Revolution (DAR) designated OCLS as the repository of the DAR library in 1929, a relationship that continues today. The library maintains the Genealogy LibGuide, where customers can view information on how to get started with their research, as well as, more advanced resources related to DNA, planning research trips, and specific record groups.

Established in 1990, the RUSA Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services, sponsored by ReferenceUSA is a citation and $1,500* monetary award presented to a library or library system for developing an imaginative and unique resource to meet patrons’ reference needs.

The selection committee was Chaired by Chris LeBeau.

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