30th Annual Reference Research Forum at the 2024 ALA Annual Conference


Present your research to an engaged audience of library professionals at the 30th Annual Reference Research Forum at the 2024 ALA Annual Conference in San Diego, CA (June 27 – July 2). This hour-long session is incredibly popular and a fantastic opportunity to extend the impact of your research. 

Hosted by 

Research & Statistics Committee of the Reference Services Section (RSS) of the Reference & User Services Association (RUSA) 

When is the proposal due? 

February 15, 2024

How do I submit? 

Complete our online submission form. For planning purposes, here’s what the form will ask you:  

  • Primary contact name and email 
  • Names of additional presenters
  • Title of presentation 
  • Research project abstract
  • Relevance to reference
  • Significance of the project to the field
  • Originality of the project in the field
  • Methods used to conduct the research
  • Research outcomes
  • Generalizability to other libraries

What types of libraries are represented? 

Public, Academic, Special, School 

Who is invited to submit proposals?

We welcome submissions from all professionals engaged in reference services. Membership in RUSA, ALA, or any other professional organization is not required. 

Do I have to present in person?

Yes, you or a member of your research team must be able to travel to San Diego and register for the ALA Annual Conference to present in person. Panel participants are responsible for securing their own funding. 

What do we mean by reference? 

Reference is a patron-initiated interaction where the librarian provides assistance by using expertise in response to an information need. See RUSA’s full Definition of Reference.  

This can look like, but is not exclusive to: in-person reference, virtual reference, new reference services, reference staffing, training, leadership, DEI lenses, and more. 

What do we mean by research?  

After asking a specific question, information was gathered and synthesized to propose a hypothesis or solution to the question so that larger implications or inferences can be made through those findings.  

Research published on reference services often takes the form of, but is not limited to, surveys, interviews, focus groups, content analyses, ethnographies, observations, and data analyses. 

How are proposals evaluated? 

Proposals are blind peer reviewed by members of the RUSA Reference Services Section. View the rubric for the evaluation criteria. 

Descriptions of presentations from past forums are available here.  

Does the research need to be complete prior to submission? 

Research projects that are in process are welcome, but both the proposal and presentation must be able to address potential outcomes and significance.  

If you are presenting on the process of your research or progress on a multi-year study, you must be able to provide an update on initial findings and extrapolate anticipated outcomes. 

When will I find out if my proposal has been accepted? 

Notifications will be sent via email to primary contacts by Friday, March 15, 2024.

Where can I direct questions? 

Jen Hunter (jenhunter@princeton.edu), 2023-2024 chair of the RUSA RSS Research & Statistics committee.