RUSA Awards

Book and Media Awards

Book and Media Awards Winner digital artworkBook and Media Awards honorable mention digital artwork
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Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, first awarded in 2012, are awarded to the author of the best book for adult readers in two categories — fiction and nonfiction. Two additional authors shortlisted in each of the categories will be named finalists. The winning authors and finalists will receive cash prizes ($5,000 and $1,500 each respectively). The award is co-sponsored by Booklist and RUSA, with the long and shortlists of selected titles being drawn from the annual RUSA CODES Notable Books and Booklist’s Editors’ Choice lists.

Best Free Reference Websites

An annual series initiated under the auspices of the Emerging Technologies Section (ETS) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of ALA to recognize outstanding reference sites on the World Wide Web.

Best Historical Materials

Each year the History Section's Historical Materials Committee compiles and publishes its “Best Historical Materials” in RQ. In addition, the Committee evaluates the pattern and effectiveness of coverage in all fields of history, promotes enhanced availability of historical works and information, and serves as liaison among bibliographers, indexers, publishers, and professional associations. The winners are selected by the Historical Materials committee under the auspices of the HISTORY section of RUSA.

Best of the Best Business Websites

Identifies outstanding web sites for librarians involved in providing business reference services. The winners are selected by the BRASS Education Committee.

Dartmouth Medal

Established in 1974, this medal honors the creation of a reference work of outstanding quality and significance, including, but not limited to: writing, compiling, editing, or publishing books or electronic information. The winners are selected by the Dartmouth Medal committee under the auspices of the CODES section of RUSA.

The Listen List

The Listen List: Outstanding Audiobook Narration was established in 2010 to identify and honor outstanding audiobook narration. Focused on the experience of the audiobook, the members of the Council select titles that offer notable listening experiences. The winners are selected by the Listen List committee under the auspices of the CODES section of RUSA.

Notable Books

Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation’s readers a list of 25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader. The winners are selected by the Notable Books Council under the auspices of the CODES section of RUSA.

Outstanding Business Reference Sources

List of outstanding titles in business reference. The titles must be a source for frequently asked business reference questions, and must be suitable for mid-size to large academic and public libraries, compiled by the BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee working group. The winners are selected by the Outstanding Business Reference Sources committee under the auspices of the BRASS section of RUSA.

Outstanding Reference Sources

The Outstanding Reference Sources Committee was established in 1958 to recommend the most outstanding reference publications for small and medium-sized libraries. The winners are selected by the Outstanding Reference Sources committee under the auspices of the CODES section of RUSA.

The Reading List

Established in 2007 by the CODES section of RUSA, The Reading List seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merit special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them. 

Sophie Brody Medal

The Sophie Brody Award was first awarded in 2006, and includes a medal for the winner, as well as citations for selected honor books. It is funded by Arthur Brody and the Brodart Foundation, and is given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. The winners are selected by the Sophie Brody Medal committee under the auspices of the CODES section of RUSA.

Achievement Awards


ReferenceUSA Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Services
Established in 1990, the Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services is a citation and $1,500* award presented to a library or library system for developing an imaginative and unique resource to meet patrons' reference needs.

Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award
The Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award was established in 1958. It presents a cash award of $5,000* and a citation to an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to reference librarianship.

John Sessions Memorial Award
Established in 1980, the John Sessions Memorial Award recognizes a library or library system which has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and by doing so has brought recognition to the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States. Such efforts may include outreach projects to local labor unions; establishment of, or significant expansion of, special labor collections; initiation of programs of special interest to the labor community; or other library activities that serve the labor community. The winner receives a plaque.

NoveList's Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award
Established in 1985, the Margaret E. Monroe Award is $1,250* and a citation presented to a librarian who has made significant contributions to library adult services. The individual may be practicing librarian, a library and information science researcher or educator, or a retired librarian who has brought distinction to the profession's understanding and practice or services for adults.

Reference Service Press Award (discontinued 9/2016)
Established in 1985 and sponsored by Reference Service Press, this award constitutes a plaque and $2,500*. It recognizes the most outstanding article published in RUSQ during the preceding two-volume year.


Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS)

Global Financial Data Academic Business Librarianship Travel Award
This $1,250* award recognizes a librarian new to the field of academic business librarianship in order to support attendance to the ALA Annual Conference. 

BRASS Emerald Research Grant Award
The Emerald Research Grant Award will be awarded to individuals seeking support to conduct research in business librarianship. The funds may be used at the discretion of the award recipients.

BRASS Mergent Excellence in Business Librarianship Award
Established in 1989, the Excellence in Business Librarianship Award presents a citation and $4,000* cash award to an individual who has made a significant contribution to business librarianship.

BRASS SimplyMap Student Travel Award
This award consists of $1,250* and is given to a student enrolled in an ALA accredited master's degree program to fund travel to and attendance at the ALA Annual Conference and a one-year membership in the Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) of RUSA

BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award
This award, $1,250*, is to support the attendance at Annual Conference of a public librarian who has performed outstanding business reference service and who requires financial assistance to attend the ALA Annual Conference.

Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES)

Louis Shores Award
Established in 1990, this award recognizes an individual reviewer, group, editor, review medium or organization for excellence in book reviewing and other media for libraries.

Zora Neale Hurston Award
This annual award, founded in 2008, provides $1,250 for funds to travel to the ALA Annual Conference, tickets to the United for Libraries' Gala Author Tea and two sets of  Zora Neale Hurston books published by Harper Perennial, to an individual ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature. Sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers.


ABC-CLIO Online History Award
This award consists of $2,500* donated by ABC-CLIO, a publisher of reference materials in the field of history, and a citation. The award recognizes the accomplishments of a person or a group of people producing (1) a freely available online historical collection, or (2) an online tool tailored for the purpose of finding historical materials, or (3) an online teaching aid stimulating creative historical scholarship.  

Gale Cengage History Research and Innovation Award
Established in 2012, the Gale Cengage History Research and Innovation Award winner will receive a citation and up to $2,500* which may be used at the winner’s discretion.  This award will be granted to an MLS degreed librarian from an ALA accredited school to facilitate and further research relating to history and history librarianship.  An emphasis in an area reflected by the History Section’s subject-oriented committees, not excluding American history, is required. Those committees are:  Genealogy, Local History, Instruction and Research Services, and Historical Materials.  

Genealogy / History Achievement Award Sponsored by ProQuest
Established in 1992, this award presents a citation and $1,500* cash to a librarian, library or publisher and recognizes professional achievement in historical reference and research librarianship. Sponsored by ProQuest.

Emerging Technologies Section

ETS Achievement Award
The ETS Achievement Certificate is given annually to recognize excellence in service to ETS. This award, presented at the annual ETS Chair's Program, is given to an individual who is a current member of ETS, and has been an active member for the past two years.

Reference Services Section (RSS)

RSS Service Achievement Award
This annual award, founded in 2010, is given to an RSS member who has made either a sustained contribution towards attaining the goals of the Reference Services Section or a single significant contribution that has resulted in a positive impact upon the work of the section.

Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section (STARS)

STARS-Atlas Systems Mentoring Award
Sponsored by Atlas Systems, Inc., this award offers $1,250* to fund travel expenses associated with attending ALA’s annual conference. The recipient will be a library practitioner who is new to the field of interlibrary loan/document delivery or electronic reserves, and who has daily, hands-on involvement in the areas of borrowing, lending, document delivery, electronic reserves, material delivery, or resource sharing.

Virginia Boucher-OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award
The Virginia Boucher-OCLC Distinguished ILL (Interlibrary Loan) Librarian Award is an annual award consisting of $2,000*, sponsored by OCLC, and a citation. It recognizes a librarian for outstanding professional achievement, leadership, and contributions to interlibrary loan and document delivery through recent publication of significant professional literature, participation in professional associations, and/or innovative approaches to practice in individual libraries.

***Please note that monetary award amounts are subject to change without notice and are contingent upon donor funding supplied at the time the award is presented. Questions about these awards should be directed to the committee chairperson or to Leighann Wood, RUSA awards program coordinator, at

Staff Liaison
Leighann Wood
Membership and Awards Program Specialist