Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services (HISTORICAL)

About the Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services (HISTORICAL) Presented to a library or library system for developing an imaginative and unique resource to meet patrons' reference needs.

Administered by:

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) logo

Award and Frequency

This Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services is a citation and has a $3,000 monetary award.

*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

This award is given out on an annual basis.


The resource can be a bibliography, a guide to the literature of a specific subject, a directory, a database, or any other project that has helped the library meet adult or children's reference needs. Tools, guides or databases that have been developed for reader's advisory or adult service questions and needs are also eligible for the award.

Application Instructions

Nomination materials should be submitted to the award committee chair. Self-nominations are accepted. The materials should include a letter of nomination stating in detail how the resource has contributed to meeting patrons' reference needs.

In particular, the letter should include:

  • A description of the resource and its format, e.g., card file, database, etc.
  • A list of sources used to compile the resource.
  • The target audience for the resource
  • Criteria used in selecting material for inclusion. (If the resource is inclusive, please state so clearly.)
  • The breadth of coverage, i.e. time and subject, of the resource.
  • An explanation of what makes the resource imaginative or unique.

A sample of the resource (or entry, pages, printout, etc.) must accompany the nomination form.

Questions about the award or the nomination process should be directed to the committee chair via phone or e-mail.

Contact Information

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