For immediate release | September 4, 2012

RUSA presents lifetime achievement award to Statistical Abstract of the United States

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the Census Bureau for the “Statistical Abstract of the United States” to acknowledge the abstract’s role as one of the premier reference sources for the past 133 years.

Jack O’Gorman, chair of the Reference and User Services Association’s Dartmouth Medal Committee, presented the award to Census Bureau Deputy Director Thomas Mesenbourg at the office of the U.S. Census Bureau. The honor was initially announced at RUSA’s Midwinter Book and Media Awards Reception, an annual party at the ALA Midwinter Meeting celebrating the top reading and reference titles as selected by the expert librarians of RUSA.

“In the spirit of the Dartmouth Medal recognizing excellence in reference, the award committee wanted to recognize the outstanding work of the staff of the Census in creating such a valuable reference source,” said O’Gorman. “In 30 years as a librarian, I have used it countless times to answer questions on many topics, and also as an entrée into other U.S. government documents.”

“For the student who needs to know how many rural adults play online games to include in a paper, the business owner trying to identify the number of adults 25 to 34 who purchased sporting goods to plan targeted marketing, the state official who needs to learn about how much air pollution is generated by chemical manufacturing, and many others—along with the reference librarians who work with them—the ‘Statistical Abstract of the United States’ has since 1878 been one of our most useful and trusted resources about American life,” said RUSA President Mary Popp. “RUSA and its members celebrate the staff of the Census Bureau and the Statistical Abstract for the rich resource made available for so many years. We are also thrilled that the Bernan Press and ProQuest have committed to keeping this incredibly valuable information alive, available and growing as a commercial publication.”

Since 1974, the Dartmouth Medal has been presented annually to honor 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 2012 Dartmouth Medal was awarded “Green’s Dictionary of Slang,” published by Chambers. The “International Encyclopedia of Political Science” published by Sage Reference in association with the International Political Science Association received an honorable mention. Learn more about the Dartmouth Medal.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more about the association at


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