2024 RUSA Federal Achievement Award

Paula Laurita and D. Lynne Rickard Named Winners of the 2024 RUSA Federal Achievement Award

The Federal Achievement Award honors individuals for achievement in the promotion of library and information service and the information profession in the Federal community

Paula Laurita

Paula Laurita is Command Librarian at the U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters in Alabama. She served in the U.S. Army and earned her MLIS from the University of Alabama. She worked in school and public libraries, including nearly a decade as executive director of the Athens-Limestone Public Library, before becoming director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Technical Library. Since 2022, she has been command librarian at Army Materiel Command. She is Alabama’s representative on the ALA Council. – Award Committee Statement

D. Lynne Rickard

D. Lynne Rickard is Records Specialist at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) in Washington, D.C. She served in the U.S. Navy and earned her MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She worked in academic and public libraries before joining the Pentagon Library in 2011. She became a Library Systems Specialist at the PBGC in 2015, then became an IT specialist in 2019. After a brief stint at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency as a Knowledge Management Specialist in 2021-2022, she returned to the PBGC as a records specialist. – Award Committee Statement

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) is recognizing two longtime librarians with its Federal Achievement Award in 2024: Paula Laurita, Command Librarian at the U.S. Army Materiel Command Headquarters in Alabama; and D. Lynne Rickard, Records Specialist at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Achievement Award recognizes individuals for achievement in the promotion of library and information service and the information profession in the Federal community. It has been administered by RUSA since the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Interest Group (FAFLIG) joined RUSA in 2020.

Both women being recognized this year are veterans who worked in other library settings before continuing their careers in federal organizations, where they have helped advance information services.

Laurita served in the U.S. Army and earned her MLIS from the University of Alabama. She worked in school and public libraries, including nearly a decade as executive director of the Athens-Limestone Public Library, before becoming director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Technical Library. Since 2022, she has been command librarian at Army Materiel Command. She is Alabama’s representative on the ALA Council.

In nomination letters, she was praised for her “exceptional leadership skills as well as her fierce dedication and passion to advocate for libraries and library personnel,” and described as “widely respected as an expert in her field and mentor to others.”

Rickard served in the U.S. Navy and earned her MLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She worked in academic and public libraries before joining the Pentagon Library in 2011. She became a Library Systems Specialist at the PBGC in 2015, then became an IT specialist in 2019. After a brief stint at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency as a Knowledge Management Specialist in 2021-2022, she returned to the PBGC as a records specialist. She serves as the Agency Records Officer and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Program Manager.

In nomination letters, she was described as a “dedicated information professional” who has worked in multiple facets of the information profession and “strives to demonstrate the value of information management at every level of an organization.”

The Federal Achievement Award was created by the Federal Librarians Round Table, which merged with the Armed Forces Libraries Round Table in 2001 to form the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table (FAFLRT). FAFLRT merged in 2018 with the Association of Specialized Government and Cooperative Library Agencies and established two separate interest groups (the Federal Libraries Interest Group and the Armed Forces Libraries Interest Group), which merged in 2020 to form the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Interest Group (FAFLIG). When ASGCLA was dissolved later that year, FAFLIG moved to the Reference and User Services Association as an interest group.

Recent winners of the Federal Achievement Award include Michelle A. Ortiz of the Vicenza and Del Din Library, U.S. Army Garrison Italy; Lee Lipscomb of the Federal Judicial Center; Nancy Faget of the Army Research Library; and Karl Debus-Lopez of the Library of Congress.