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RUSA Awards at ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia

The Reference and User Services Association (R.U.S.A.), a division of the American Library Association (A.L.A.), announced the presentation on Sunday, January 26, 2014, of several awards at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. Dr. Grace Jackson-Brown won the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston Award; Francine Graf, Managing Editor of Choice magazine, won the 2014 Louis Shores Award; Like Dreamers by Yossi Klein Halevi won the 2014 Sophie Brody Medal; Mammals of Africa by Jonathan Kingdon and David Happold won the 2014 Dartmouth Medal.

Since 2008, the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (C.O.D.E.S.) of RUSA has given out the Zora Neale Hurston Award for achievement on an annual basis to an individual ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. According to RUSA, "To further the professional development of the winner so that he or she can continue to build multicultural collections and serve diverse populations, the winner receives funds to attend the ALA Annual Conference, tickets to the FOLUSA Author tea and a set of the Zora Neale Hurston books published by Harper Perennial at the time the award is made."

The CODES of RUSA selected Dr. Grace Jackson-Brown, Assistant Professor of Library Science at Missouri State University, "for the Springfield African American Read-In program, which celebrates African-American authors and literacy, and the Dream Big program, which showcases African-American authors, promotes reading by youths and adults and encourages all to dream big!" Professor Jackson-Brown also co-authored the article “The African-American Read-in: Building Campus and Community Partnerships,” College and Research Libraries News, 74(7) 2013, pp. 364-367. The members of the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston Award Committee included Jannie R. Cobb, Chair, National Labor College; Cynthia Crosser, University of Maine; and Diane Mohr, District of Columbia Public Library.

The Louis Shores Award recognizes an individual reviewer, group, editor, review medium, or organization for excellence in book reviewing and other media for libraries. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, Choice reviews resources for academic audiences.

According to RUSA, Francine Graf has worked at Choice since 1982 "and has made outstanding contributions to reviewing." During her tenure at Choice, Graf has been a true leader and has been instrumental in Choice Reviews Online from its first iteration.

Ms. Graf has worked diligently to increase the scope of and access to Choice; she was the driving force behind the inclusion of database and website reviews in Choice, she initiated the Internet Resources Newsletter, created the monthly “5 Great Books” feature and has worked to provide free Choice reviews through social media outlets. Additionally, she is someone her colleagues and readers of Choice continually rely on for guidance and inspiration.

Francine Graf will receive the Louis Shores Award at the RUSA Achievement Awards at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. The Louis Shores Award committee included Emily Hamstra, Chair, University of Michigan; Edward Kownslar, Texas A&M, Corpus Christi; and Barry Trott, Williamsburg (Va.) Regional Library.

The winner of the 2014 Sophie Brody Medal is Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi, published by HarperCollins. The 2013 Sophie Brody Medal winner was The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible by Matti Friedman.

The CODES of RUSA awards the Sophie Brody Medal to the author (or authoress) "of the most distinguished contribution to Jewish literature for adults published in the United States in the preceding year." Dartmouth College is the sponsor. The award is a tribute to Sophie Brody established by her husband, Arthur, founder of the Brodart Foundation.

Mrs. Brody served on the Executive Committee and on the Board of the Women's Division of the United Jewish Federation. With Arthur, according to RUSA, she established "the Sophie Brody Leadership Development Fund to enable the United Jewish Federation to train future leaders for the Jewish community."

Using interviews with seven surviving members of the 55th Paratroopers Reserve Brigade, the author traces the history of Israel and the diverse political and religious ideologies that shape the nation.

RUSA stated that the Sophie Brody Medal Committee also selected two honor books: My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by "Ari Shavit, an intensely personal narrative history of the state of Israel published by Spiegel & Grau; and" The Worlds of Shalom Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye "by Jeremy Dauber, a biography of one of the giants of Yiddish literature, published by Schocken."

The winners were selected by the Sophie Brody Medal Committee, whose members include chair Barbara Bibel, Oakland (Calif.) Public Library; Donald Altschiller, Boston University; Emily A. Bergman, University of Southern California; Jack Forman, San Diego Mesa College; Kathleen Gallagher, University City Library, Mo.; Elliot H. Gertel, University of Michigan; Danise G. Hoover, Hunter College; Edward Kownslar, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christie; Mary M.D. Parker, University of Minnesota; Adela Peskorz; Barry Trott, Williamsburg Regional Library, Va.

RUSA announced Mammals of Africa as the 2014 Dartmouth Medal award winner. The Dartmouth Medal, established in 1974, honors the creation of a reference source of outstanding quality and significance. The award is given to the best new reference source published in 2013.

Bloomsbury published Mammals of Africa by Jonathan Kingdon and David Happold. According to RUSA, "This amazing source is the result of 15 years of detailed work. Covering every recognized mammalian species in Africa, it will serve as a rich source of information and as a baseline for preserving the biodiversity of this great continent. The illustrations, maps, charts and material are all outstanding. This work will be consulted by students and scholars for many years."

The Dartmouth Medal Committee also announced an Honorable Mention for the International Encyclopedia of Ethics, edited by Hugh LaFollette and published by Wiley-Blackwell. "This comprehensive and interdisciplinary encyclopedia presents both ethical theory and practice in a scholarly yet approachable manner. This will be a welcome addition to electronic or print reference collections in libraries of all sizes."

The Dartmouth Medal Committee announced an Honorable Mention for the Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions by Patrick Taylor, Frederick Chase, Sean Meighoo and Joyce Leung. RUSA stated, "It is published by the University of Illinois Press. This well researched title will fill a gap in current reference coverage. It will support interdisciplinary scholarship in the anthropology, sociology, history literature and religion of the Caribbean. We are proud to recognize this significant new reference work."

The winners were selected by the RUSA Codes Dartmouth Medal Committee. The members included Jack O’Gorman, University of Dayton, Chair, Drew Aflgren, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Christina McGowan, Fairfield University, Patricia Gregory, Saint Louis University, Angela Courtney, Indiana University, Nicolette Sosulski, Portage District Library in Portage Mich., Lise Snyder, UCLA, Teresa Omidsalar, California State University Los Angeles, Sarah Watstein, University of North Carolina Wilmington, David Tyckoson, California State Fresno, and Janet Pinkley, California State Channel Islands. The RUSA represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing.

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