Perspectives from A Newbie: RUSA’s Achievement Awards
By Lillian Velez, Dee J. Kelly Law Library, LRVelez@Law.Tamu.Edu
The RUSA Achievement Awards were presented on Thursday, July 21, 2022, and I am so glad to have had the privilege of attending and reporting on this event. We are all familiar with award shows and frankly, they can be boring and self-aggrandizing. I gave them up a long time ago, my interest is now limited to the most spectacular and scandalous award attire. Obviously, this was completely different. I am new to RUSA and I am amazed at the impactful and meaningful work being done and the dedication in pursuing it at the highest levels. It is unfortunate that most regular folx have no idea what librarians really do. Librarians do so much and are so important to their communities as well as to the profession as a whole.
I think I could say something about each award and how impressed I am with the work of that librarian and the people who assisted in the lauded projects, but first, in keeping with a running theme of the ceremony, let me say a ‘thank you’ to all of the sponsors and givers of grants, some serving as loving memorials to a family member or friend. Their impact is truly immeasurable. Also, the committee members and chairs and everyone who nominated a colleague deserve recognition as well. There is so much work behind the scenes and it is all voluntary. I would be remiss not to mention the president of RUSA, Cynthia Johnson, who enthusiastically hosted this event as well as Chris Le Beau, Chair of the RUSA Achievement Award Committee.
There are various projects in assorted specialized domains. A trend I noticed is the outreach and services thoughtfully being provided to patrons with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other memory disorders. The devotion of these librarians and their teams is admirable and vital to an aging population. From the work of Dr. Timothy J. Dickey and his book Library Dementia Services to the programming provided by the Stephen T. Riedner Grant winners in memory care and creative expression to the innovative work of Dr. Hyerim Cho in her study of the role of video games in emotional regulation, I am grateful to them. Their work will impact so many.
Of course, technology has an outsized role in every part of our lives and librarianship is no exception. The projects by the winners of the Best Emerging Technology Application Award impress with the creation of a new application, Unsub Extender, by Eric Schares, and Kelvin Watson’s application of an existing library app, Libby, QR codes on busses to help patrons access their library on the bus (https://company.overdrive.com/2022/03/09/las-vegas-library-director-is-a-driving-force-for-innovation/)
The RUSA Achievement Awards demonstrated the breadth of activities and accomplishments in our profession. It was exciting to learn about the work being done by librarians across the United States.