The Reference and User Services Association is responsible for stimulating and supporting excellence in the delivery of general library services and materials, and the provision of reference and information services, collection development, readers’ advisory, and resource sharing for all ages, in every type of library.
The specific responsibilities of RUSA are:
- Conduct of activities and projects within the association's areas of responsibility;
- Encouragement of the development of librarians engaged in these activities, and stimulation of participation by members of appropriate type-of-library divisions;
- Synthesis of the activities of all units within the American Library Association that have a bearing on the type of activities represented by the association;
- Representation and interpretation of the association's activities in contacts outside the profession;
- Planning and development of programs of study and research in these areas for the total profession; and
- Continuous study and review of the association's activities.
RUSA's Vision and Values
Vision: RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need.
- We believe in universal access to information.
- We believe that reading is fundamental to quality of life and value all activities that promote it.
- We value collections and information sources of the highest possible quality.
- We value the provision of innovative services and programs that meet the changing information needs of diverse populations.
- We value continuous evaluation and improvement in the management and delivery of materials and services to users.
- We value the professional growth and development of librarians and library staff.
- We value the role of librarians and library staff as educators in creating lifelong learners and critical thinkers.
- We value the unique contributions that librarians and library staff bring to the process of connecting users with the information they need.
Every three years, the RUSA Board of Directors develops a strategic plan. The current strategic plan may be found here.
RUSA's Statement on Access
As reference and user services librarians, we believe that access to information is a human right.
- Libraries’ role in providing people with equitable and open access to information in all formats that transcends limitations of personal economics;
- Our professional commitment to intellectual freedom and fair use;
- Protection of patron privacy;
- The freedom to read;
- Creation, distribution, and possession of information that is free from interference and censorship;
- Equal, ready and equitable access to information collected, compiled, produced, funded and/or disseminated by government agencies.
We support libraries, publishers, and lawmakers in
- Crafting copyright laws that reasonably preserve authors’ intellectual property without compromising the library user’s access to information;
- Providing equitable access to information for all library users;
- Ensuring long-term access to print and electronic information through robust preservation and access programs;
- Facilitating digital and information literacy among library users.
Draft by RUSA Access to Information Committee, June 24, 2012 and February 24, 2012
Approved by the RUSA Board, Seattle WA, Midwinter Conference, January 2013.
Also available here: http://connect.ala.org/node/181838
From RASD to RUSA
Among the pages of this Web site, and of the greater ALA Web site, you may come across the acronym RASD, the Reference and Adult Services Division. Many divisions of the ALA began with names that used the word division rather than association. The following is the background on how RASD became RUSA:
When the Board discussed a new name for the Reference and Adult Services Division (RASD), the following points were made:
The Board wanted to include the word "association" to clearly indicate that it was an association in its own right in addition to being one of the component parts of the American Library Association. All of the other divisions of ALA had adopted the word "association" into their names instead of "division."
The division's mission states that it "is responsible for stimulating and supporting in every type of library the delivery of reference and information services to all groups, regardless of age..." Having the phrase "adult services" in its name suggests that children and youth are not included in its mission. There was also concern that the term "adult services" may not speak very clearly to people outside of the division.
A history of RASD was presented in the Spring 1995 issue of RQ.
Incidentally, the Board also desired the name to have a pronounceable acronym. The name change took place in the fall of 1996.