Our History


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.