Call for Proposals: The 29th Annual Reference Research Forum at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago 


Present your research to an engaged audience of library professionals at the 29th Annual Reference Research Forum at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. This hour-long session is incredibly popular and a fantastic opportunity to extend the impact of your research. Submissions are blind refereed.

Hosted by

Research & Statistics Committee of the Reference Services Section (RSS) of the Reference & User Services Association (RUSA)

When is the proposal due?

January 30, 2023

How do I submit?

Complete our online submission form. For planning purposes, here’s what the form will ask you:

  • Researcher name(s), title(s), and affiliation(s)

  • Primary contact name and email

  • Title of presentation

  • Research question

  • Gap(s) in existing scholarship that this research aims to fill

  • Brief description of methodology used

  • Brief description of outcomes (or anticipated outcomes) of this research

  • Brief description of significance of this research

  • Planned presentation elements

  • If accepted, I or a member of the research team will be able to present in person at ALA Annual 2023 in Chicago (yes/no)

What types of libraries are represented?

Public, Academic, Special, School

Who is invited to submit proposals?

We welcome submissions from all professionals engaged in reference services. Membership in RUSA, ALA, or any other professional organization is not required.

What do we mean by reference?

Reference is a patron-initiated interaction where the librarian provides assistance by using expertise in response to an information need. See RUSA’s full Definition of Reference.

This can look like, but is not exclusive to: in-person reference, virtual reference, new reference services, reference staffing, training, leadership, DEI lenses, and more.

What do we mean by research?

After asking a specific question, information was gathered and synthesized to propose a hypothesis or solution to the question so that larger implications or inferences can be made through those findings.

Research published on reference services often takes the form of, but is not limited to, surveys, interviews, focus groups, content analyses, ethnographies, observations, and data analyses.

How are proposals evaluated?

Proposals are blind refereed according to the criteria enumerated in the online submission form:

  • Originality: potential to fill gap(s) in existing scholarship

  • Quality: research design and methodology

  • Significance: potential to inform and transform reference services

Descriptions of presentations from past forums are available here.

What gets extra credit?

  • Unique or underrepresented methodologies or forms or research design, including, but not limited to, decolonizing methodologies, emancipatory research, action research, critical discourse analysis, and autoethnography

  • Research centered on library workers or users from historically marginalized populations

  • Research addressing an original concept not yet introduced in the literature

  • Presentations which will employ participatory techniques

Does the research need to be complete prior to submission?

Research projects that are in process are welcome, but both the proposal and presentation must be able to address potential outcomes and significance.

If you are presenting on the process of your research or progress on a multi-year study, you must be able to provide an update on initial findings and extrapolate anticipated outcomes.

When will I find out if my proposal has been accepted?

Notifications will be sent via email to primary contacts by Tuesday, February 28, 2023.

Where can I direct questions?

Meg Galasso ( and Jennifer Hunter (, 2022-2023 co-chairs of the RUSA RSS Research & Statistics committee