For immediate release | October 19, 2010

RUSA seeks proposals for online professional development offerings

CHICAGO—The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) invites interested instructors and presenters to submit proposals for online professional development courses and webinars to be offered starting in early 2011.

RUSA currently offers several online courses in the areas of reference and readers advisory and is looking to expand its available course topics, as well as include webinars among its offerings. Topics of particular interest include skills for assisting patrons with job searches, collection development and introductory reference and user services skills. There is also significant interest in offering online learning opportunities that go more in-depth with business reference skills as a follow-up to the consistently sold-out Business Reference 101 course currently offered by RUSA.

Topics for online learning proposals might include but are not limited to company and industry research; international business; small businesses; entrepreneurship; consumer demographics; fundamentals of reference; providing reference in virtual libraries; providing reference in the one-person library; reference services in church and synagogue libraries; customer service fundamentals for reference staff; reference service fundamentals for embedded librarians; marketing the library and reference services; government documents fundamentals for reference librarians; legal reference for non-law librarians.

A complete list of criteria is available in the Professional Development section of the RUSA website. In summary, successful proposals will:

  • Include a description, main topic outline and an estimate of length of the proposed course, webinar or webinar series;
  • Outline the audiences who will be interested in this topic, including job titles as appropriate;
  • Address the direct competition for this course/topic that already exists in the online professional development marketplace;
  • Provide a description of the instructor/presenter and their relevant experience, e.g. education, job history, that illustrates their expertise in the proposed topic area;
  • Include a writing sample if the proposal is for an online course.

Proposals should be submitted via e-mail to as MSWord or PDF attachments. Presenters for accepted proposals will receive compensation for their time and will also receive training for the software used to deliver the online learning experience. Questions can be directed to Liz Markel, RUSA marketing specialist, or Susan Hornung, RUSA executive director, at and, respectively.

In addition to the topics suggested above, RUSA encourages programming that addresses the competencies--especially the Reference and Information Services competency set--for the ALA-APA Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC) program. Those interested in proposing a program to fulfill this purpose should review the LSSC page for course providers. Any proposals submitted with the LSSC program in mind should specify the competency set the program addresses and how the content will address these competencies.

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. Not a member, but interested in discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at Learn more about the association at