rusq: Vol. 54 Issue 1: p. 2
Reflective Practice: RUSQ Columns and You
Barry Trott

Correspondence: Correspondence for Reference & User Services Quarterly should be addressed to Editor Barry Trott, Williamsburg Regional Library, 7770 Croaker Rd., Williamsburg, VA, 23188; email:

Welcome to the first issue of RUSQ, volume 54. I hope that all our readers will find something here that helps to improve their practice or to inspire new ideas for ways to serve our users.

I would like to take a moment to welcome two column editors to the journal. Kelly Myer Polacek, who has served for two years as the editor of the “Alert Collector” column has moved over to take on responsibility for the “Information Literacy and Instruction” column. Kelly has written an introduction for this issue’s column that talks a bit about her concept for the column. I certainly encourage anyone who might be interested in writing about information literacy and instruction, particularly our colleagues in public libraries, to contact Kelly to discuss possible column ideas.

Taking over the “Alert Collector” from Kelly is Aimee Graham. Aimee brings a variety of experience in different sorts of libraries to RUSQ. She completed her MSIS at the University at Albany, State University of New York in 2012 and did an internship at SUNY New Paltz, focusing in reference, instruction, and collection development. While seeking library employment, she volunteered at a public library in Florida and at, a one-stop resource for finding library employment. Aimee now works as the distance learning librarian at Saint Leo University, a small Catholic university forty-five minutes north of Tampa, Florida. Like Kelly, Aimee is also interested in hearing from potential writers in both academic and public libraries who have potential column ideas.

The columns play an essential role in RUSQ, and so I want to take a few lines here to review our columns and column writing procedures and give interested readers the contact information for our editors. Columns in the journal, while less formal than the feature articles, are equally important to the vision of RUSQ to provide the highest quality information on theory and practice across the spectrum of public services librarianship in libraries of all sorts. Columns can present a case study, offer an opinion on current practices, highlight and evaluate a new service or tool, or suggest new ways to look at existing services and collections. This issue of RUSQ offers a variety of examples: Howard Schwartz looks at the application of RUSA standards for reference service in the online world, Cynthia Kane and Kellie Meehlhause present a case study on getting graduate teaching assistants practical library experience, Nicole Dixon and Michael Ward discuss the Maker movement and its application at the Louisville Free Public Library, Monique Woroniak challenges librarians to consider more carefully how we provide readers’ advisory services to indigenous peoples, and Charlie Remy and Priscilla Seaman provide instructional strategies for librarians working with users with autism spectrum disorders. All of these columns offer us the opportunity to reflect on our current practice and by doing so to improve that practice. That is the goal of any of the columns in RUSQ.

For those interested in writing a column for the journal, here are some things to keep in mind. The column editors are completely responsible for selecting and editing column materials, so you should contact them directly to discuss possible column ideas (a list of contacts for the editors is at the end of this piece). Columns are generally between 2,500 and 3,500 words. Unlike a feature article, a column does not need to have a formal literature review and does not necessarily need to be based on new research (though a column can be a good place to report early findings in a longer research project). The tone of a column can also be less formal than that of a feature article. Like the feature articles though, RUSQ columns should in some fashion advance the practice of reference librarianship, defined broadly.

So if you have an idea for a potentially interesting column, please contact the column editors listed below. If you have a column idea that does not fit easily into one of the columns listed, please feel free to contact me, as I edit an occasional column, “For Your Enrichment,” that includes interesting and useful pieces that do not fit elsewhere in RUSQ.

RUSQ Columns and Column Editors

  • Accidental Technologist: Eric Phetteplace (
  • Alert Collector: Aimee Graham (
  • Information Literacy: Kelly Myer Polacek (
  • Management: Marianne Ryan (
  • Readers’ Advisory: Laurie Tarulli (

Article Categories:
  • Library Reference and User Services
    • Columns


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