For immediate release | June 11, 2013

Accessibility advocate Ruth Nussbaum wins ASCLA’s 2013 Cathleen Bourdon Service Award

CHICAGO - Ruth J. Nussbaum, retired reference librarian, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, is the recipient of the 2013 Cathleen Bourdon Service Award for exceptional service to and sustained leadership for the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), a division of ALA.

The Cathleen Bourdon Service Award is presented annually to an ASCLA member whose leadership and involvement in the division has enhanced the stature, reputation and overall strength of ASCLA and has also cultivated the division’s relationship with other appropriate organizations, institutions or government agencies. In 22 years of continuous service, Nussbaum has provided mentorship and friendship both inside and outside of the ASCLA community. She has been at the front lines of library service and ASCLA activities, initiating positive changes and improvements to library services for people with disabilities. Most importantly, in all of her work, she has led by example, inspiring ASCLA colleagues and a new generation of ASCLA members

Nussbaum has an extensive record of professional involvement in ASCLA, ALA and other associations such as the American Indian Library Association. As an ASCLA member since 1990, Nussbaum has played an active part in representing the librarians serving special populations constituency of ASCLA as part of the Century Scholarship committee, a representative to the ASCLA Board of Directors, chair of the Francis Joseph Campbell Award Committee and member of the ASCLA Awards Committee, chair of the Librarians Serving Special Populations Section of ASCLA and representative to the ASCLA board. She also served as an ALA councilor-at-large from 2004-2007. She has made significant contributions to important professional documents and guidelines, including accessibility policies for both ALA and ASCLA, fact sheets, bibliographies and other publications addressing library services for people with disabilities.

Nussbaum worked as a reference librarian at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, from 1987 through her retirement in 2012. Prior to this position, she spent time as the acquisitions library associate at the Gallaudet University Library, librarian and administrator at the Huntington Free Library and Reading Room at the Depository for the Museum of the American Indian and as a Head Start teacher in the Redhook neighborhood of Brooklyn. She earned her M.L.S. from Southern Connecticut State University.

Nussbaum will receive the ASCLA Leadership and Professional Achievement Award at the ASCLA/COSLA Reception, 5:45 - 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29 in Field 20A-C, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, as a part of the 2013 ALA Annual Conference. Add the event to your conference schedule. All conference attendees are invited to this networking and awards event.

ASCLA, a small, mighty and growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a diverse organization of librarians and support staff who work in academic and public libraries, state agencies, specialized libraries and cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed. Our division’s work centers on member-driven interest groups that represent the diversity and important work of our engaged and active members. Learn more about ASCLA and how to join this innovative division.

Related Links

ASCLA/COSLA Reception at ALA Annual Conference


Liz Markel

Marketing & Programs Manager