University of Kentucky Libraries’ online African American history tool wins RUSA award

Contact: Liz Markel

Marketing Specialist, RUSA/ASCLA

(312) 280-4398


For Immediate Release

April 7, 2009

CHICAGO—Robert A. Aken II, Web administration librarian and Reinette F. Jones, diversity and multicultural activities librarian, both of the University of Kentucky Libraries, have won the 2009 Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services for the
University of Kentucky Libraries’ Notable Kentucky African Americans (NKAA) Database.

The award is administered by the
Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) and is given to a library or library system for development of an imaginative and unique resource to meet patrons’ reference needs. The NKAA Database was selected not only for its role as an important educational tool, but its unique patron-driven approach to African American history both within and beyond the state of Kentucky. In the four years of the database’s existence, it has grown and adapted to meet research needs and to accommodate the voluminous contributions of both library patrons and researchers. It has also had local and national impact, easily serving a broad audience thanks to its user-friendly search interface.

“On behalf of the award committee, it is my pleasure to honor the NKAA Database with this award,” said Anne Behler, committee chair. “The database represents the power of a community’s collective knowledge and the impact such a resource can have on those accessing information both locally and across the country.”

Aken and Jones will accept the award, a citation and $3,000 cash prize sponsored by
Gale Cengage Learning at the RUSA Awards Ceremony and Reception, scheduled for 3:30-5:30 p.m., Monday, July 13, as a part of ALA’s Annual Conference events. The exact location of this event will be announced on the
RUSA website and at the
RUSA Blog in late spring.

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