RUSA Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award

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Isadore Gilbert Mudge circa 1932

Portrait, Isadore Gilbert Mudge, dated April 1897 and "circa 1932", Historical Photograph Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

The RUSA Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award was established in 1958. This award presents a monetary prize of $5,000* and a citation to an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to reference librarianship. This contribution may include an imaginative and constructive program in a particular library; authorship of a significant book or articles in the reference field; creative and inspirational teaching; active participation in professional associations devoted to reference services; or leadership in other noteworthy professional activities.

During her career, which started in 1903 and concluded in 1941, Isadore Gilbert Mudge increased student independence in research and improved reference collections with several specific types of sources, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases, among others. A pioneer in reference librarianship, she coined the phrase “material, mind, and method” to describe her reference philosophy when she began teaching the class “Bibliography and Bibliographic Methods” as an associate professor at Columbia's School of Library Services. She edited the American Library Association’s Guide to Reference Books, a comprehensive bibliography of reference tools. To honor her career, the American Library Association created the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Citation in 1958 for librarians who make distinguished contributions to reference librarianship.

*Monetary award amounts are subject to change without notice and are contingent upon donor funding supplied at the time the award is presented.


  1. Neither nominators nor nominees need to be members of ALA or RUSA. 
  2. Anyone can be a nominator or a nominee regardless of nationality. 
  3. Self-nominations are permitted.
  4. The President of RUSA is not eligible for the award during their term in office.

Evaluation Criteria

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

  • Innovations/Creativity/New Services
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Outreach/Community Service
  • Professional Contributions 
  • Publications/Scholarship
  • Strength of Letters of Support
  • Teaching 
  • Work/Reference Experience

How to Submit a Nomination

Complete the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award nomination form by February 23, 2024.  The form asks for the following information:  

  1. Nominator’s email address
  2. Nominator’s first and last name
  3. Nominee’s first and last name
  4. Nominee’s mailing address
  5. Nominee’s phone number
  6. Nominee’s email address
  7. Nominee’s current position
  8. Nominee’s memberships (ALA, RUSA, BRASS, CODES, ETS, HS, RSS, STARS, non-member)
  9. A file upload of a letter of nomination explaining why the nominee is deserving of this recognition and citing specific achievements
  10. File uploads of three to five letters of recommendation
  11. File upload of the nominee’s resume or curriculum vitae
  12. File uploads of any other appropriate documentation

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


Award Recipients

2023: Jennifer C. Boettcher, Business Research Librarian, Georgetown University

2022: Melissa A. Wong, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Interview)

2021: R. David Lankes, Professor and Director, School of Information Science, University of South Carolina (Podcast)

2020: Chris Le Beau, Librarian Emerita IV, University of Missouri-Kansas City

2019: Kay Ann Cassell, Professor Emerita, School of Communication & Information, Rutgers University

2018: Eleanor Mitchell, Director of Library Services, Dickinson College & Sarah B. Watstein, Dean, Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning

2017: Brian E. Coutts, Professor, Head of the Department of Library Public Services, Western Kentucky University

2016: Cheryl LaGuardia, research librarian, Widener Library of Harvard University

2015: Denise Beaubien Bennett, engineering librarian, University of Florida

2014: William Miller, Florida Atlantic University

2013: Neal Wyatt

2012: Robert (Bob) Kieft

2011: Diane Zabel, The Pennsylvania State University

2010: Marie L. Radford, Associate Professor, School of Communication and Information, Department of Library and Information Science, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

2009:Nancy Huling, University of Washington

2008: Margaret Stieg Dalton

2007: Barbara Mita Chaikin Bibel

2006: Joseph W. Janes

2005: David Tyckoson

2004: Robert Balay

2003: Martin Sable

2002: James P. Danky

2001: Carole Leita

2000: Linda C. Smith

1999: Virginia Massey-Burzio

1998: Beth S. Woodard

1997: Joan C. Durrance

1996: Joe Morehead

1995: Roger K. Summit

1994: Anne Grodzins Lipow

1993: Andrew M. Hansen

1992: Gail A. Schlachter

1991: Peter Watson-Boone

1990: Virginia Boucher

1989: P. William Filby

1988: James Rettig

1987: Marjorie E. Murfin

1986: Sylvia G. Mechanic

1985: Thomas A. Childers

1984: Sara D. Knapp

1983: Charles A. Bunge

1982: Robert L. Collison

1981: Eugene Paul Sheehy

1980: Hylda Kamisar

1979: Henry J. Dubester

1978: C. Edward Wall

1977: Bohden S. Wynar

1976: John Neal Waddell (awarded post-humously)

1975: Jean L. Connor

1974: Florence E. Blakely

1973: William A. Katz

1972: Thomas J. Galvin

1971: James Bennet Childs

1970: Thomas Besterman

1969: No award

1968: Thomas S. Shaw

1967: Louis Shores

1966: Frances B. Jenkins

1965: Katharine G. Harris

1964: Ruth Walling

1963: Mabel Conat

1962: Frances Neel Cheney

1961: Edith M. Coulter

1960: Constance M. Winchell

1959: Mary Neill Barton