Guidelines by Topic

A guideline serves as an authoritative document offering suggested levels of performance or adequacy. It can outline a recommended course of action. Unlike standards that carry the weight of a rule, guidelines describe measures to help libraries meet the requirements of a standard. The Bylaws of the American Library Association permit only type-of-library divisions to adopt standards. RUSA, as a type-of-activity division, is restricted to writing guidelines. The RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee coordinates the development of all guidelines written within.

RUSA Guidelines Task Force  - Recommendations (April 2020)


Information Literacy & Competencies by Discipline

Business Research Competencies (2019)

Financial Literacy Education in Libraries: Guidelines and Best Practices for Service (PDF) (2014)

Information Literacy Guidelines and Competencies for Undergraduate History Students ​(PDF) (2013)


Reference/Information Services

Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians (2017)

Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services (PDF) (2017)

Definition of Reference (2008)

Health and Medical Reference Guidelines (2015)

Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers (2013)

Guidelines for Business Information Responses (2013)

Guidelines for Cooperative Reference Services (2006)

Guidelines for the Introduction of Electronic Information Resources to Users (2006)

User Populations

Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Multilingual Collections and Services (2007)

Guidelines for Library Services to Older Adults (PDF) (2017)

Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users (2007)

Genealogy, History

Guidelines for a Unit or Course of Instruction in Genealogical Research at Schools of Library and Information Science (2007)

Guidelines for Developing a Core Genealogy Collection (2007)

Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections (2012)

Information Literacy Guidelines and Competencies for Undergraduate History Students (PDF) (2013)


Interlibrary Loan

RUSA Model Interlibrary Loan License Clause(2019)

Guidelines for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management ​(PDF) (2012)

Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States  (January 2016) (Includes link to generic ILL form)

Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States Explanatory Supplement (January 2016)

Guidelines for Resource-Sharing Response to Natural and Man-made Disasters  ​(PDF) (2017)


Collection Development

Guidelines for Liaison Work in Managing Collections and Services (PDF) (2010)

Guidelines for Preparation of a Bibliography (2010)