For immediate release | January 22, 2012

Sarah L. Johnson wins RUSA’s prestigious Louis Shores Award for book reviewing

DALLAS - Sarah L. Johnson, professor of library services at Eastern Illinois University and author of the blog Reading the Past, is the 2012 winner of the Louis Shores Award, an annual honor presented by the Reference and User Services Association to recognize excellence in book reviewing.

In selecting Johnson for this honor, the committee praised her book reviews, blog and social media postings, readers’ advisory books and review columns that all serve as valuable tools for both readers and readers’ advisors. “The award committee was impressed with both the breadth and the depth of Johnson’s work,” said Barry Trott, award committee chair. “Her individual reviews reflect a keen insight into the title and an ability to communicate in a clear and thoughtful way the appeal of the title under consideration. Johnson is also to be commended for her use of a variety of tools - print and electronic - to reach out to readers as well as provide a model for other reviewers in a rapidly changing publishing world.”

Johnson serves as book review editor, The Historical Novels Review, and her reviews and have appeared in, among other publications, Booklist, NoveList, Bookmarks Magazine and The Toronto Globe and Mail. She is also the author of "Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre and Historical Fiction II," which reviewers have called “an outstanding readers’ advisory reference work” and “an excellent and detailed reference tool.” In addition to her outstanding reviews in print publications, Johnson has also been a leader in using social media as a reviewing tool. Since 2006, her blog, Reading the Past has been offering reviews and interviews with writers of historical fiction and expanding the conversation about the genre. Johnson is also an active participant in the biblio-centered social networks on Goodreads, Librarything and Facebook.

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