Winner of inaugural Zora Neale Hurston Award announced

Contact: Liz Markel

Marketing Specialist, RUSA/ASCLA

(312) 280-4398


For Immediate Release

February 3, 2009

DENVER—Miriam Rodriguez, assistant director, Public Services/Community Integration of the Dallas Public Library, is the recipient of the 2009 Zora Neale Hurston award.

Rodriguez was selected for her role in Tulisoma, a successful and growing community-based literary festival that features African American authors and artists and promotes literacy and the arts. The festival provides library card sign-ups, panel discussions, book signings, book selling, art displays and music. Quoting the letter that nominated her, “Miriam has been instrumental in the success of this program.”

Founded in 2008,the Zora Neale Hurston Award is offered by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) and recognizes an individual RUSA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature. To further the professional development in building multicultural collections and serve diverse populations, the winner receives funds to attend the ALA Annual Conference, tickets to the Literary Tastes breakfast and the FOLUSA Author tea and a set of the Zora Neale Hurston books published by Harper Perennial.

Award winners are selected by a committee of RUSA members, including chair Deborah Costa, UCLA; Bergis Jules, Indiana University; John Lawrence, East Carolina University; Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County Library Distric;t and Charlene Rue, Brooklyn Public Library.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, 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