Hello RUSA members!
I’m wrapping up an exciting and challenging year as RUSA President and it has been my honor and pleasure to serve RUSA members in this role. Thanks to all of you who volunteer your time, engage with your colleagues, and participate in RUSA activities. I also extend my sincere appreciation for the support of the RUSA leadership this past year including the Board, Executive Committee and RUSA Office staff. I’ve worked especially closely with Chris LeBeau, our incoming President, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to help RUSA become more effective at the division level by regularly reviewing our priorities, streamlining our processes and procedures, and improving communication and collaboration with RUSA members & leaders. I’d like to congratulate our recently elected vice president/president-elect for 2017-2018, Ann K.G. Brown, and all of our newly elected RUSA leaders (http://www.rusaupdate.org/2017/04/2017-election-results/). Thank you to everyone who ran for office this year.
In addition to electing new offices, RUSA members approved several amendments to the RUSA Bylaws. For example, RUSA Board has been given flexibility to set dues increases moving forward and we will be implementing our first dues increase for RUSA membership since 2005. The RUSA Budget & Finance Committee will be making a motion to RUSA Board at a meeting on June 13, 2017. Information about the dues increase will be shared widely with the RUSA membership.
I think in many ways this is a watershed year for RUSA. Susan Hornung, our former Executive Director, is enjoying her well-deserved retirement in sunny Florida. We have an important opportunity to help RUSA continue robustly into the future by participating in the hiring of a new ASCLA/RUSA Executive Director. The first search was not successful but the position has been re-advertised as of May 5, 2017. The search committee hopes to have a new Executive Director in place by early fall. In the meantime, I’m grateful for the excellent support of our creative, dynamic and hard-working RUSA staff, Leighann Wood, Jennifer Cross and Melissa Tracy. Leighann offers innovative ideas for improving RUSA processes and provides an enormous amount of support for our awards program. Jennifer envisioned and then subsequently led the launch of our new RUSA Update site featuring member news and division activities. She is currently working to transition the existing RUSA website to the new ALA web platform and also coordinates online learning. Melissa has reorganized our marketing program to be more effective and responsive based on data and member/customer feedback. She provides frequent communication about RUSA activities and initiatives in support of our member engagement efforts.
Our major initiative this year was to discuss and deliberate recommendations for division restructuring prepared by RUSA’s Organization and Planning Committee which was ably led by Beth German. During the RUSA elections, the membership voted to approve a Bylaws change that will reduce the size of the RUSA Board in the future. The new Board will be comprised of the RUSA elected officers (President, Vice President, Past President, Secretary and Councilor), a representative from each Section (to be determined by each Section), and the RUSQ Editor. As the current Directors at Large complete their terms, they will not be replaced. The RUSA Budget & Finance (B&F) Committee will become a subcommittee of the Board. The Vice-President of RUSA will continue to be the Chair of B&F and will be joined by the President, Past-President, three Section representatives (Sections will alternate their representation each year), and the RUSQ Editor. The Board will be advised by the newly created RUSA Leadership Council which will include Division Committee Chairs, Section Chairs, Interest Group Chairs, active Task Force chairs, the Vendor Relations Liaison, the RUSQ and RUSA Quarterly Update editors, and the RUSA office staff. RUSA membership also passed a bylaws change so that interest groups are now part of the RUSA organization. The bylaws language describes how interest groups form and dissolve.
The RUSA Board continues to discuss the recommendations related to RUSA committees but the Membership Committee will sunset to be replaced by two committees: Member Engagement and Volunteer Development. The Member Engagement Committee will work with the RUSA Office and RUSA Board on membership recruitment, public relations, member communication, as well as provide input for professional development activities. While the committee will foster quality engagement of all RUSA members, the committee will focus on the attraction and engagement of new members. The Volunteer Development Committee will coordinate volunteer development working with the RUSA Office and Board on leadership training and documentation, volunteer onboarding, leadership orientation and ongoing volunteer development opportunities.
The Organization and Planning Committee will also sunset. Chris LeBeau will be appointing a RUSA restructuring task force that will help us finalize charges for the new committees, review and revise our policies and procedures, and develop a model for annual division review.
The Awards Coordinating Committee (ACC) will continue their work for at least another year and will review the number and desirability of individual awards, evaluate award processes, help implement alternative means of recognizing achievement award winners, complete policies currently in progress, and finish organizing awards manuals. ACC will coordinate with the RUSA Senior Program Officer to devise a governance structure that meets the needs of both the Association and the RUSA Office, facilitating deserved recognition in a more manageable way.
The Professional Competencies Task Force, chaired by Nancy Huling, submitted a draft revision of the Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians. RUSA Board and Committee members have provided feedback and the Task Force will submit any additional revisions to RUSA Board by June 1, 2017. Then the draft revised competencies will be shared with RUSA membership for your comments.
If you are able to come to the ALA Annual conference in Chicago, we have a number of RUSA events(http://www.eventscribe.com/2017/ALA-Annual/agenda.asp?h=Full+Schedule&BCFO=S&pta=RUSA) that you may want to put on your schedule including the free Literary Tastes breakfast on Sunday morning with some of our Book and Media Award winners: Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X), Julia Quinn (Because of Miss Bridgerton), and award-winning audiobook narrator, Dion Graham (Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City); and the RUSA Achievement Awards reception on Sunday evening. I would like to especially highlight these two events:
RUSA President’s Program: Forget the Future: Our Time is Now!
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
McCormick Place, W190a
Our keynote speaker for the President’s Program will be David Lankes (https://davidlankes.org/) , the Director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library & Information Science. Our communities-our colleges, our towns, our schools, our businesses-need us. As those we serve face growing tensions of nationalism, xenophobia, racism, extremist politics, and social media sites that seems better at building filter bubbles than societies there is a need for a community of professional dedicated to the common good and founded on knowledge. However our communities don’t need us to gate keep a collection, offer up workshops, or staff a building. They need us adding value to their lives with them in their homes, classrooms, offices, and devices. This talk will explore how reference and user services not only remain relevant, but mobilize to addresses the real challenges of today’s community. Dr. Lankes will be joined by two responders: Valerie Gross, President & CEO of Howard County Library System (HCLS); and Roberto C. Delgadillo, Research Support Services Librarian at the University of California, Davis.
Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Celebration
8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Hilton Chicago, Grand Ballroom
This year’s Carnegie winners are Matthew Demond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City for nonfiction and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad for fiction. I am looking forward to hearing from both winning authors at our Carnegie event, which will also feature local Chicagoan and author of the V.I. Warshawski novels, Sara Paretsky. Tickets are available for purchase on the ALA Annual Conference website
Please check the ALA Scheduler (https://www.eventscribe.com/2017/ALA-Annual/) for the most current times and locations of all RUSA’s events.
Please feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your questions and comments.
RUSA President 2016-2017