Message From the Chair

Messages from MARS, the Newsletter of the RUSA MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Section

Cathy Larson, Editor

Greetings Fellow MARS Members!

It’s hard to believe another Annual Conference has come and gone. It was good to see many of you at the conference, and I know those who weren’t able to attend were there in spirit. We’re looking forward to another great year for MARS, the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section of RUSA!

Many thanks go out to Dianna McKellar, our chair for 2011-2012, to Anne Houston our Past Chair, and to Carolyn Larson, Shannon Jones, and Erin Rushton, not to mention all those who served as members and chairs of our committees this year, and to all our invited presenters. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Your new Executive Committee for 2012-2013 will be:

  • Debbie Bezanson – Chair (
  • Sam Stormont – Vice Chair
  • Kelley Ann Lawton – Secretary
  • Stephanie Graves, Arlie Sims, and Courtney Greene, Members-at-Large

If you are interested in joining MARS or learning more about the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section, please contact one of us. We welcome all members, those who can meet in person as well as virtual members.

This year we have a new committee—the User Experience Design Committee. They’re just getting started but their mission will be: “To identify and study issues relating to user experience (UX) design as it relates to emerging technologies in library public services, and to evaluate and promote integration of UX methods and philosophies in all types of libraries through technological and service standards, guidelines, and “best practices.” The chair for that committee will be Missy Clapp. If you are interested in joining this committee, please contact me.

Our Section goals for the coming year are to:

1. Continue to increase opportunities for virtual participation in the work of the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section. MARS membership is strong, but many of our members cannot regularly attend conference. Virtual meeting technologies, supported by RUSA, enable us to get more work done outside of the MidWinter and Annual face-to-face Conference meetings. In the coming year, the Executive Committee will work with each committee to identify ways to support more virtual projects and to recruit virtual members to contribute to the committee projects and goals.

2. Continue to increase professional development opportunities for members of the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section.

Professional Development is critical in the Emerging Technologies in Reference arena. The Professional Development Committee has already begun this task, creating webinars and free preconference workshops. In the coming year, work closely with RUSA to expand ongoing virtual offerings.

3. Maximize the effectiveness of RUSA by working closely with our parent organization and the other sections within RUSA to coordinate our virtual activities.

Through representation on RUSA level committees, coordinate ideas and create new synergies to help RUSA and the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section most effectively reach current members, providing them with opportunities for meaningful service and professional development, and most effectively recruit and retain new members.

4. Revise and update the MARS Handbook to optimize format and information for web presentation.

5. All MARS Committees will contribute to the 2013/2014 MARS Section Review.

The Section Review will be due to RUSA in February 2014. The committee reviews will be completed by Annual 2013.

Many of the committees and discussion groups have included summaries of their conference activities in this issue of Messages. To find out more about these presentations, don’t forget to check out our website:, or look for our postings on ALA Connect.

Debbie Bezanson
MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Chair, 2012-2013