Committee Reports

Catalog Use

Catalog Use Committee met virtually for its Midwinter meeting on February 4,. We are planning a discussion forum for ALA Annual in New Orleans:

Diving into the Deep End: What are the consequences for users when a library adopts a web-scale discovery service? This discussion forum will explore the challenges presented in teaching users how to search these new systems.

Steve Ostrem


Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee

The committee is now preparing for the call for proposals for discussion forums at ALA Annual. We will use the same peer-review method as we did for ALA Midwinter. After the call for proposal deadline passes, the committee will meet to discuss and select the two best proposals for discussions at the annual conference. The committee is also planning to discuss having at least one of the discussions online.

Sarah Hammill, Chair


Evaluation of Reference and User Services

The Committee did not meet at Midwinter in person but is working virtually on three issues:

1. Preparing for program at Annual: Using Today’s Numbers to Plan Tomorrow’s Services: Effective User Services Assessment Sunday, June 26, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

2. Re-vamping the ALA Connect committee space

3. Updating Guide to Reference Evaluation Resources


Kornelia Vassileva Tancheva, Chair


Library Services to the Spanish Speaking

RSS Services to the Spanish Speaking committee has finalized a survey to learn more about the ways in which RSS members provide services to Spanish speakers in their own communities, and to find out what RSS members feel are most valuable resources to meet their needs. The responses gathered will help inform committee work in future years. A link to the survey will be distributed via listservs and ALA Connect before Annual 2011. The committee is also in the process of revising our Guidelines for Services to Spanish Speakers.

Marjorie Schreiber Lear, Chair


Management of Reference Committee

The Management of Reference Committee met at Midwinter on Saturday, January 8. There were six in attendance. We are working on revising the Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers. We agreed to further revision of the introduction and endnotes. This spring we will finish revising the document and post it for comment.

William Weare, Chair

Marketing and Public Relations for Reference

This committee is pleased that its proposed program, Marketing Reference on a Dime, has been selected as the RUSA President’s Program for the Annual 2011 Conference.

Marketing Reference on a Dim” will consist of five to six brief presentations on successful initiatives for marketing reference services. Panelists will include representatives from public, academic, and special libraries, as well as a marketing professional from the private sector. At the end of the program, participants should come away with at least one idea for a free or inexpensive marketing initiative, know how to identify resources for community support, and be able to identify strategies for demonstrating the important of reference to stakeholders.”

The panelists are:

Manya Shorr (Sacramento Public Library, LJ Mover & Shaker 2010)

Amy Mather (Omaha Public Library, LJ Mover & Shaker 2010)

Nancy Dowd (New Jersey State Library, M Word Blog)

Kathy Dempsey (Libraries are Essential Consultants, M Word Blog)

Selene Colburn (University of Vermont)

Jamie Hollier (Delta County Public Libraries, CO)

Ed Garcia, Chair


Organization and Planning

This committee met virtually on December 3. The RSS Handbook will be updated before Annual 2011 with changes to the RSS bylaws incorporated. The RSS chair mentoring was instituted in 2008, but it has never been assessed to evaluate its effectiveness. Gale Etschmaier has volunteered to undertake this initiative. Her plan is to interview past chairs, mentors, and mentees. During the recent section review it became apparent that there was a real need to preserve information about the section and make it easy to locate when needed.

Barb Mann, Chair


Research and Statistics

The Research and Statistics Committee met virtually on January 21 to choose the three presentations for the 17th Annual Reference Research Forum. The committee received a number of interesting proposals this year and the committee had an exciting discussion. Announcements will be made soon about the presenters and their topics.

Qiana Johnson, Chair


RSS Service Achievement Award Committee

The RSS Service Achievement Award Committee met in January. We reviewed the nominations and selected the award recipient. The award will be presented at the RUSA Awards event during the ALA Annual conference in New Orleans this June. We also discussed revising the committee charge to include the RSS Honor Roll. The RSS Chair will take the revised committee charge to the Executive Board for approval at the annual conference.

Lori Thornton, Chair


User Education and Information Literacy

Members of the User Education and Information Literacy Committee have been working on an article about the reference interview. The article will not be published in RUSQ, but the editor has provided comments from the referees. The committee will consider these, and decide on next steps.

Jill Moriearty, Chair


Virtual Reference Committee

The RSS/MARS Virtual Reference Services Committee held its official midwinter meeting online on December 9, 2010. Ellen Hampton Filgo was able to use Baylor University’s Elluminate software to facilitate this first-ever virtual meeting of the committee. Overall, attendees felt this was a positive experiment, especially since it allowed participation of some committee members who would be unable to attend ALA Midwinter in San Diego.

The Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee, chaired by Valli Hoski, gave an update on their work. They have been meeting regularly, focusing on evaluation and assessment, and are working towards content updates and possibly changing the delivery method.

A discussion of the Annual 2011 program (Behind the Text: Pulling Back the Curtain on Virtual Reference) was substantive and helped to determine the third panelist as well as the “misconceptions” of virtual reference that will be debunked for the presentation.

A brief discussion on ALA Annual 2012 was also held. This was continued at an informal gathering of the committee during the MARS All-Committee Meeting at ALA Midwinter.

At ALA Midwinter, it was announced that Alicia Korenman would be leaving the committee and her position as Co-chair due to a change in her career. The committee would like to thank her for her service and enthusiasm. Taking her place as MARS Co-chair on the committee will be Ellen Hampton Filgo, whose extensive experience in virtual reference will be a great asset in her new leadership role on the committee.


Daniel Boozer, Co-Chair


Alicia Korenman (MARS), Co-Chair


Web Advisory

Plans to move the ALA site from the current content management system to the open source Drupal continue to progress. This migration, a great migration in more ways than one, will be staged and occur over several months. It can’t come soon enough as far as the RSS Web Advisory Committee is concerned. Any substantive changes to the look and feel of the RSS web site have to wait for this migration. Stay tuned for more information about the migration.

Virginia Cole, Chair and Webmaster