Chapter 6: Professional Resources and Publications

Back to Guide to Policies & Procedures

The Professional Resources Committee has main oversight of the RUSA publications programs. These include providing advice and recommendations to the various RUSA units and committees that are planning publications, evaluating the RUSA publications program, making policy recommendations to the RUSA Board of Directors, and developing online and one print publications procedures that coordinate the work of the units and the committees.

The committee provides direction and guidance on the effective use of tools for communicating within RUSA, and supports the creation and dissemination of RUSA projects designed to improve professional practice. Specifically, the committee:

  1. reviews RUSA communication tools in print and electronic formats (excluding RUSQ, the RUSQ Online companion and RUSA Update) and makes recommendations aimed at ensuring that RUSA's communication tools effectively fulfill their goals;
  2. supports and reviews online and print publication projects originating from RUSA units and makes recommendations aimed at ensuring that these projects can be located and used effectively by their intended audiences;
  3. provides guidance to and solicits content from RUSA units regarding available communication and publication avenues in keeping with ALA and RUSA policies.

The Professional Resources Committee does not have oversight of RUSQ or RUSA Quarterly Update.

Opportunities for publishing:

A number of avenues are available for RUSA units and committees to publish their work. The RUSA Professional Resources Committee is charged with reviewing and commenting on proposals for publications and manuscripts prepared by RUSA units and committees.

The Publications and Communications Committee is also charged with assisting RUSA units in the preparation of manuscripts and helping to coordinate publishing activities for the division. The committee then makes recommendations to the RUSA staff for action. The staff handles the technical details of publication and dissemination for all approved RUSA publications. Manuscripts for publication in RUSQ do not require the approval of the Publications Committee. However, if a proposal that is submitted to this committee is more appropriate for RUSQ, the committee will refer the author(s) to the editor.

Formal avenues available to publish the work of RUSA committees and units include RUSQ, RUSA Occasional Papers Series, monographs, best practices, standards and guidelines, and toolkits.

The RUSA Publications and Communications Committee has created a work flow of the RUSA publication process, which can be found below.

Guidelines Governing Publishing Activities:

Material from RUSA units intended for publication should be submitted as follows:

  • RUSQ: Articles and column material should be sent directly to the editor of RUSQ.
  • RUSA Update: Section committees should route all news items, committee actions and activities reports, and articles to their section publication coordinators or column editors for submission to the RUSA Update editor. Where a section lacks a publication coordinator or column editor, or for division-level committees, news items should be submitted directly to the RUSA Update editor.
  • All other material intended for publication, or questions regarding publishing alternatives, should be directed to the chair of the RUSA Publications and Communications Committee.
  • A proposal form must be submitted for all publications other than articles to RUSQ, and RUSA Update.
  • RUSQ, the division's official quarterly journal, has first consideration rights to publish products of an RUSA committee or section, subject to the guidelines established by the editor of RUSQ.

Guidelines developed by RUSA units are submitted to the RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee, then to the RUSA Board of Directors for final approval. Comments on proposed guidelines should be solicited by posting them in draft form on the RUSA Web site. Once the Board has approved a set of guidelines, staff will transmit them to RUSQ for publication consideration. Guidelines are not part of the Publications Committee's responsibilities.

The Occasional Papers series provides publishing opportunities where other division publication avenues are inappropriate. The Occasional Papers series has neither a minimum or maximum number of pages.

Promising manuscripts not appropriate for publication in RUSQ or elsewhere within the division should be referred to ALA Editions with the assistance of the RUSA staff. If RUSQ and ALA Editions both waive the right to publish, yet the Publications Committee feels the project has potential, the manuscript may be made available to other ALA divisions or agencies outside ALA (e.g., commercial publishers). Such contracts and initial arrangements may be made by the body that authored the manuscript. Final contractual arrangements are made by the RUSA executive director. The RUSA executive director must be kept informed at each step in the process.

Conference proceedings may be published in a variety of ways, as appropriate:

  • Proceedings may be included on RUSA divisional web pages covering professional tools and resources.
  • Proceedings may be published as a RUSA Occasional Paper.
  • Proceedings that are particularly significant and considered to be especially marketable may be published as a monograph.
  • Individual contributions can be reshaped as articles for RUSQ. Note: RUSQ conventionally does not publish conference program proceedings. However, if a conference program or preconference committee decides not to publish the collective proceedings as a separate publication, RUSQ retains first consideration rights for individual papers presented at such events.

How to submit a publications proposal:

If you wish RUSA to consider publishing your manuscript, contact the Professional Resources Committee. Submit this information early in the planning stages of your project.

Publications procedures for Occasional Papers and monographs:

  • Section committees submit proposals through their respective sections to the RUSA Publications Committee.
  • RUSA committees submit their proposals directly to the Publications Committee.
  • Publications Committee (or chair on behalf of the committee) reviews the proposal and returns to the section with one of the following decisions
  • proposal approved for RUSA publication, print or online
  • proposal approved with changes
  • proposal needs revision and may be resubmitted
  • proposal is inappropriate for RUSA publication
  • Committee or section:
    • develops publication
    • drafts manuscript
    • sends to expert reviewers
    • revises
  • Section publications committee (or RUSA committee) reviews and approves checks that revisions are made if necessary
  • Section or committee submits revised manuscript to RUSA Publications Committee with a copy to staff
  • Publications Committee reviews and makes suggestions or approves for publication
  • Staff reviews and makes comments or approves for publication
  • Section or committee submits final copy for production
  • Staff arranges for production
  • Timetable for Occasional Papers and monographs approval of proposal: 4–8 weeks

To receive a response from the Publications and Communications Committee following its Midwinter or Annual Conference meetings, submit the proposal no later than one month before the meeting.

For section or other committee response, the procedures will vary. Potential authors should work with the chair to develop an appropriate schedule.

The Publications and Communications Committee will attempt to process proposals submitted between meetings in as timely a fashion as possible. However, since it must be done by e-mail and phone, the committee chair will set a schedule for each proposal as received.

Development of publication:

No two publications are alike. Assume that the publication will take longer than anticipated. Some of the variables that affect the length of time are: format for delivery, i.e. print or online; the type of publication-proceedings, original piece of writing, etc.; the number of people involved (too many participants can hold up the process); the other commitments of the contributors or editors; the size, the scope, and the complexity of the work; the amount and type of art work; and the number of permissions needed. Allow about four months for publication although it may be more or less. Allow about four months for publication although it may be more or less.

Reviewing: 4–6 weeks Different types of works will need different types of review. However, most reviewers will need at least a month to read a manuscript carefully, make comments, and return it. Some may take longer.

Revisions: Like the first draft, the amount of time needed for revisions varies. It depends on how much revision is necessary and whether or not the revisions require further research or the involvement of new people.

Final approval: 2–4 weeks This will include a final review by the Publications Committee and, simultaneously, a review and proofreading by RUSA staff.

Production: 3-4 months The first steps of production can begin at the point at which staff receives the copy for final approval.

Style and definitions:

ALA follows The Chicago Manual of Style in all publications. ALA uses the Random House Webster's College Dictionary for spelling and word division. For definitions relevant to reference and adult services, RUSA uses those contained in American National Standard for Library and Information Sciences and Related Publishing Practices-Library Statistics (ANSI 239.7-1983 ISSN: 0276-0762).

RUSQ: Reference and User Services Quarterly:

RUSQ is the official journal of RUSA. The purpose of RUSQ is to disseminate information of interest to reference librarians, bibliographers, adult services librarians, those in collection development and selection, and others interested in public services. The scope of the journal includes all aspects of library service to adults, and reference service and collection development at every level and for all types of libraries. The journal follows a policy of double-blind refereeing of articles in advance of publication.

The editor of RUSQ is a member of the RUSA Budget and Finance Committee and RUSA Professional Resources Committee. The RUSQ editor is appointed for a three-year, once-renewable term by the Board of Directors upon recommendation of a selection panel. The selection panel consists of the following: the current editor, the two regular column editors, one revolving column editor, and three representatives from the RUSQ Board: one from an academic library, one from a public library, and one from a LIS school to be selected by the current editor. The current editor will chair the selection panel.

The editor works with the executive director to implement Board policy, and to coordinate activities with ALA Publishing Office and its staff. The editor reports administratively to the RUSA Board and presents to the Board, via the RUSA Executive Director, budget, policy, and other items requiring Board action. The editor provides informational reports to the Board as requested.

The editor is responsible for:

  • managing RUSQ editorial office and the refereeing process
  • aggressively encouraging the submission of high-quality articles and maintaining and developing positive relationships with authors and potential authors
  • editing copy and related operations
  • in consultation with ALA Production Services, determining layout and design of each issue
  • managing the work of column editors
  • providing copy for four issues per year to ALA production services for layout and production
  • managing the work of the RUSQ Editorial Advisory Board, and
  • communicating regularly to the RUSA Publications Committee and the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors and the Publications and Communications Committee affirm their roles of non-interference with editorial decision, in accordance with the spirit of encouraging units to "endorse and apply the principle of freedom of the press" articulated in ALA Policy Manual section 10.2. Source: RASD Board, June, 1991

Quarterly Update editorial policies:

From 1980-1996 (as RASD Update) and 1996-2001 (as RUSA Update) this publication was published as a quarterly newsletter. 2002-2003 issues were published as a column in RUSQ. In 2004, the title was began publishing online as RUSA Update (since 2017 entitled Quarterly Update -


  • to disseminate to RUSA members information about RUSA Board actions and other RUSA activities, projects, and committee work from all sections of the division
  • to announce conference plans and programs
  • to carry information of interest to reference and adult services librarians


  • the editor has sole responsibility for determination of content within the following general guidelines
  • typical article and column topics include continuing education, awards, RUSA committee appointments, RUSA Board actions, and RUSA section, committee, and discussion group news and reports
  • in-depth articles or articles of a scholarly nature are referred to the RUSQ editor for consideration.

Frequency and format: Quarterly, online. Source: RASD Board, June, 1991; 2001

Quarterly Update editor: The editor of Quarterly Update is a member of the RUSA Professional Resources Committee. The Quarterly Update editor is appointed for a two-year, once-renewable term by the Board of Directors upon recommendation of a selection panel. The selection panel consists of the following: the current editor, the editor of RUSQ, and the chair of the Professional Resources Committee. The current editor will chair the selection panel.

The editor works with the executive director to implement Board policy. The editor reports administratively to the RUSA Board and presents to the Board informational reports as requested.

The editor's responsibilities include:

  • maintaining communication with the various sections, committees, and discussion groups within RUSA
  • obtaining information of interest to the membership and others interested in RUSA activities
  • working with the RUSA web program officer, section editors, and RUSA executive director to prepare RUSA Quarterly Update in a timely manner, and
  • attending regularly-scheduled RUSA Publications Committee meetings at both Annual and Midwinter meetings.

The Board of Directors and the Publications Committee affirm their roles of non-interference with editorial decisions, in accordance with the spirit of encouraging units to "endorse and apply the principle of freedom of the press" articulated in ALA Policy Manual section 10.2. Source: RASD Board, June, 1991

RUSA Update

RUSA Update (not to be confused with the formerly titled publication RUSA Update now Quarterly Update) is the site maintained by the RUSA Office that includes major announcements, the calendar of RUSA events, and tools and resources useful for conducting RUSA business. This site is also useful for member engagement and can include member blog posts that will be moderated by the RUSA office.

Last updated 1-16-2019. To be updated by the Professional Resources Committee.