RUSA President Update

Cynthia Johnson

Happy August, RUSA!

First off, congratulations to all of the RUSA Achievement Awardees! And thank you to everyone who attended the Town Hall on July 21st. I also want to thank the RUSA Achievement Award Committee members who read through all of the nominations for our many Division awards, our Sections’ Award Committee members for their work on their individual Section awards, and the sponsors who helped make these awards possible. If you missed the Town Hall, the recording is available here. You may also learn more about each award’s history as well who won the award by visiting the RUSA Annual Achievement Awards page.

For the remainder of my update, I want to focus on specific RUSA projects which I think will be of interest to RUSA members.

The RUSA Publications Task Force:

In April 2021, a Task Force was charged to review and assess the current RUSA publications program which encompasses communication regarding section and division activities (e.g, RUSA Quarterly Report, RUSA Update, eNewsletter) as well as peer-reviewed or edited publications contributing to the literature of reference and user services (e.g., RUSQ, RUSA Voices blog). The Task Force’s final report was submitted to the Board and Barry Trott, who chaired the Task Force, provided an overview of the report at the August 9th RUSA Board meeting. The Board will have an in-depth discussion about the recommendations at its October meeting (October 11th, 12-1:30 CT). In the meantime, we want to share the Report broadly with RUSA and we look forward to hearing from RUSA members about the Task Force’s recommendations. The Report will be made available soon on RUSA Update as well as information about how to share your reactions.

Membership and Retention Task Force:

A RUSA Task Force on Membership and Retention surveyed RUSA members and non-members to better understand what members find valuable about the Division as well as understanding why other members of the profession turn their attention to other Divisions or organizations. You can read the Task Force’s report on ALA Connect (login required). This report helped shape my goals for RUSA in the coming year:

  • Focus on new members, including student members, to better understand how RUSA can help them achieve their professional goals.
  • Continue to look for ways to to provide quality programming to RUSA members and to learn more about the types of programming our members would like to see.
  • Improve communication among RUSA members and beyond.

In keeping with my goal to focus on new and student members, this summer we piloted having a RUSA student member write a report about the Behavioral Guidelines Town Hall, which occurred on July 8th. Many thanks to Lillian Velez, who volunteered to attend the Town Hall and report on the event. You can read her report, “Perspectives from A Newbie: A New Member’s Understanding of RUSA’s Behavioral Guidelines’ Second Draft” here. In addition to reporting on the proposed changes to the Guidelines, Lillian provides her own opinions about the draft. I hope we can continue providing occasional “Perspectives from A Newbie” posts on RUSA Update. If you are interested in volunteering to report on an upcoming RUSA Town Hall or write about a RUSA Committee (or if you have other ideas), please let me know.

RUSA was extremely well represented in the 2022 ALA Annual Conference programming and I hope that we can replicate our success in 2023, in Chicago. Have an idea for a program? Remember that all ALA Divisions, Round Tables, Committees, and Offices use the same submission site ( and the deadline for submission is September 16, 2022, 12:00AM (EST).

Finally, I encourage all RUSA members to attend the RUSA Board meetings to hear what we are discussing. The Board is meeting bi-monthly from 12-1:30 CT. Information is posted via Connect.

Cynthia A. Johnson

RUSA President, 2022-2023