RUSA Gail Schlachter Memorial Research Grant

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Isadore Gilbert Mudge circa 1932

The Gail Schlachter Memorial Research Grant was established in memory of Dr. Gail A. Schlachter by her children Sandy Hirsh and Eric Goldman, with contributions from her family and friends. Sandy and Eric stated: “We are excited that our mom’s legacy will live on through this research grant, and we are looking forward to seeing the impact of this grant program on reference and user services.”

Dr. Gail A. Schlachter worked for nearly five decades in the library and information fields as a reference librarian, a library administrator, a library educator, an author of library-oriented reference works, a reviewer of reference resources, and publisher at Reference Service Press of both print and electronic materials. During her career, Schlachter was elected several times to the governing councils of the American Library Association (ALA) and California Library Association, served as the president of ALA’s Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), and was selected first as the reference review editor and then as the editor-in-chief of Reference and User Services Quarterly, RUSA’s official reference-oriented journal. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of reference librarianship, she received the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, was honored with the Louis Shores Award, and received numerous honors for her publications. She was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame after she died in 2015. To learn more about what Gail Schlachter meant to people in the field, see "Remebering Gail Schlachter" from the Fall 2015 issue of Reference and User Services Quarterly and the ALA Memorial Resolution.

The Gail Schlachter Memorial Research Grant will be awarded annually in the amount of $5,000 to financially support an individual or collaborative group conducting research into reference or user services whose research projects aim to better understand or answer key questions related to connecting people to resources, information services, and collections.


  1. At least one member of the research team must be a member of ALA.
  2. Anyone can apply regardless of nationality.

Evaluation Criteria

The award jury is composed of members of RUSA’s Achievement Awards and Grants Committee. Each application is evaluated using the following criteria (listed alphabetically):

  • Degree to which the submitted budget is complete
  • Extent to which the project has the potential to answer key questions about a currently critical issue in reference and user services that is national in scope
  • How well the project will contribute to existing literature
  • Likelihood that the project can be completed during the one-year term of the grant
  • Strength of the research methodology

How to Apply

Complete the Gail Schlachter Memorial Research Grant Application Form by February 23, 2024. The form asks for the following information:

  • Primary Investigator’s Name
  • Primary Investigator’s Institution
  • ALA Member (yes/no): (at least one member of the research team must be a member of ALA)
  • RUSA Member (yes/no): (membership not required)
  • Research Partner(s) Name(s) (if applicable)
  • Research Partner(s) Institution(s) (if applicable)
  • Whether the Research Partner’s are Members of ALA or RUSA (if applicable)
  • Research Project’s Title
  • Research Project Description (500 word limit).
    • Include information about the research methodology, the scope of the research, and a research timeline. Also describe how this project will contribute to the existing literature.
  • Research Project Objectives (list up to three)
  • Anticipated Research Project Outcomes (list up to three).
    • Describe how this research will address a currently critical issue in reference and user services that is national in scope.
  • Target Project Completion Date
  • Detailed Project Budget
  • Funding Support Requested ($5,000 maximum)

Questions should be directed to the committee chair, Allan Kleiman,

Grant Recipients

2023: Christina Plakas, PhD student of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of South Carolina – Columbia

2022: Dr. Hyerim Cho, Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri’s School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (Interview)

2021: Rachel Ivy Clarke, Syracuse University

2020: Jenn Stayton, Frances Chung and Anima Bajracharya of the University of North Texas Libraries

2019: Adriana Gonzalez and her team, Jason Coleman, Ryan Otto and Joelle Pitts, from Kansas State University