Nominations sought for the Zora Neale Hurston Award

Deadline Extended to January 15, 2013:

Nominations sought for the Zora Neale Hurston Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2013 Zora Neale Hurston Award offered by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

This annual award, founded in 2008, is given to any ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature. 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 Literary Tastes breakfast and the FOLUSA Author tea, and a set of the Zora Neale Hurston books published by Harper Perennial at the time the award is made.

Candidates will be evaluated based on the quality and contribution of their project. Project examples include, but are not limited to, a program, display, collection building efforts, a special readers’ advisory focus, or innovation in service. Candidates will also be evaluated on the extent their projects promoted African American literature and highlighted its rich history and diversity. In addition, the candidate’s project should serve as a model for others, must be innovative and/or should advance service in this area. Candidates will also be evaluated based on the quality of their essay and the ideas expressed therein (clarity of content and form, clear goals and benefits of attendance, commitment to ALA and the library profession, enthusiasm, and potential growth perceived).

Vanessa Irvin Morris, assistant teaching professor at Drexel University, is the 2012 recipient of the Reference and User Services Association’s Zora Neale Hurston Award. Morris was selected for her work in advocating collection building and reader’s advisory services for African American literature. She was an early advocate for street literature, creating one of the first urban fiction collections in 2000, and writing articles and blog posts to help educate fellow librarians. Her most recent work, The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Street Literature, published in 2012. The 2013 award will presented at the RUSA Awards Reception during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL, June 27- July 2, 2013.

To nominate someone, download and complete the nomination form (PDF format), and follow the submission instructions therein. Questions should be directed to the committee chair, Jannie R. Cobb (

The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2013.