About RUSA

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:

  1. Conduct of activities and projects within the association's areas of responsibility;
  2. Encouragement of the development of librarians engaged in these activities, and stimulation of participation by members of appropriate type-of-library divisions;
  3. 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;
  4. Representation and interpretation of the association's activities in contacts outside the profession;
  5. Planning and development of programs of study and research in these areas for the total profession; and
  6. Continuous study and review of the association's activities.

RUSA's Purpose, Values, Vision and Operating Principles

Core Purpose: RUSA is a member community engaged in advancing the practices of connecting people to resources, information services, and collections.
Core Organizational Values:
● Building relationships among members from all types of libraries
● Encouraging openness, innovation, and idea sharing
● Promoting excellence in library services and resources
Vision: RUSA is an influential and authoritative organization, essential to the work of anyone engaged in the practices of connecting people to resources, information services, and collections.
Vivid Description of a Desired Future: RUSA is known for signature products made available through a variety of innovative formats. The association’s services are relevant, accessible, and clearly contribute to the success of its members at all stages of their careers. RUSA members benefit professionally through relevant programming featuring the newest trends, technology and services.
Participation in the association’s programming is considered essential to professional growth and to advancing libraries to meet new user needs. The strength of RUSA is reflected in its diversity of collaborative, innovative and engaged members who participate in collegial mentoring and networking. RUSA is renowned as a leading advocate group for library resources, information services and collections, and is recognized throughout ALA and beyond for its expertise.
Operating principles:
● Maximize time of RUSA staff and volunteers by operating as efficiently as possible
● Manage our financial resources responsibly
● Cooperate and collaborate with other divisions and groups in ALA
● Enable virtual participation whenever possible
● Emphasize the importance of marketing and communication to ensure that members are aware of all opportunities.

RUSA's Current Strategic Plan

Every three years, the RUSA Board of Directors develops a strategic plan. The current strategic plan is available in pdf format.

RUSA's Statement on Access

As reference and user services librarians, we believe that access to information is a human right.

We value

  1. Libraries’ role in providing people with equitable and open access to information in all formats that transcends limitations of personal economics;
  2. Our professional commitment to intellectual freedom and fair use;
  3. Protection of patron privacy;
  4. The freedom to read;
  5. Creation, distribution, and possession of information that is free from interference and censorship;
  6. Equal, ready and equitable access to information collected, compiled, produced, funded and/or disseminated by government agencies.

We support libraries, publishers, and lawmakers in

  1. Crafting copyright laws that reasonably preserve authors’ intellectual property without compromising the library user’s access to information;
  2. Providing equitable access to information for all library users;
  3. Ensuring long-term access to print and electronic information through robust preservation and access programs;
  4. 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


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.