For immediate release | January 22, 2012

Morris, author of 'Reader’s Advisory Guide to Street Literature,' wins RUSA’s 2012 Zora Neale Hurston Award

DALLAS — Vanessa Irvin Morris, assistant teaching professor at Drexel University, is the 2012 recipient of the Reference and User Services Association’s Zora Neale Hurston Award.

The Zora Neale Hurston Award, sponsored by Harper Perennial, honors librarians who have demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. Morris was selected for her work in advocating collection building and reader’s advisory services for African-American literature. She was an early advocate for street literature, creating one of the first urban fiction collections in 2000 and writing articles and blog posts to help educate fellow librarians. Her most recent work, "The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Street Literature," published in 2012.

The winner was selected by the Zora Neale Hurston Award Committee. Its members include Cynthia Crosser, chairperson, University of Maine, Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County Library District and Amy Harmon.

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

Marketing and Programs Manager

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)

800-545-2433 ext.4398