For immediate release | March 22, 2011

Russell Library selected for 2011 RUSA award for service to labor community

CHICAGO — The Russell Library, Middletown, Conn., is the recipient of the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) 2011 John Sessions Memorial Award for their successful Business & Career Programs.

The Sessions Memorial Award was established in 1980 and is supported by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO. It recognizes a library or library system that has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and, in so doing, has brought recognition from the community of the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of this country. Through their Business and Career Programs, the Russell Library provides 10 to 12 workshops annually that aim to help individuals find jobs or change their careers. Programs include job searching, interview coaching, computer classes and stress reduction during job searching, among other topics. With this programming, the library has done significant outreach to union and community members by providing services of special interest to the labor community, as well as connecting with local organizations to publicize their services to job seekers.

The award committee selected the library as this year’s recipient for these notable efforts that are vital in today’s economic climate and for the value the programs hold for the local labor community. One program participant commented, “…[The] Russell Library Job and Career Center really helped me a lot when I was at my lowest point after losing my job a year ago. They gave me the confidence I needed to not give up and go out there and make myself available. I since have found a part-time job that I love and have a great boss too. Thank you Russell Library for all your help and confidence, strength and encouragement you've given me."

“The Russell Library's Career and Job Program has had more than 2,000 individuals attend our programs over the last year,” said Jason Neely, head of information services at the library. “Our services have helped individuals from a wide range of backgrounds develop the skills that they need to find work in this very competitive environment. This economic downturn has effected such a wide range of demographics that we try to provide programs that both teach general job search skills, like resume writing and interviewing, as well as workshops that are geared to helping specific groups of displaced workers, including job seekers that are over the age of 50 and recently discharged veterans.”

The award plaque will be presented at the RUSA Awards Reception, scheduled for 5 - 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 26 as a part of RUSA’s events at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The exact location of this event will be announced in late spring. For more information, visit RUSA’s website or the Annual Conference website.

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


Elizabeth Markel