Letter from the President

From the President –

It has been a busy fall for RUSA and it is about to get even busier! It is hard to believe that Midwinter is nearly upon us. Check out the information below to find the places where you can contribute.

Framing the Future

ALA and RUSA are working hard to better serve our members. This includes spending time planning for the future. At the Joint Boards meeting at the end of October, ALA Division leaders and the ALA Executive Committee joined with ALA staff to begin to reimagine ALA as a more collaborative, nimble and flexible organization. The results of the discussions are being put together now. Stay tuned for more information and ideas from President Maureen Sullivan as we move toward Midwinter.

The RUSA Executive Committee met for a day and a half at the Chicago meeting as well. Four big plans have come out of those discussions:

Pilot Test for Free Webinars during 2012-2013

The RUSA Board has agreed to try a pilot test to use our new Blackboard Collaborate software to host several free webinars in 2013. RUSA will support and pay all costs for one free webinar for each section. Watch RUSA-L and ALA Connect to find out which webinars you will want to attend!

Not signed up for RUSA-L yet? Here’s the information you need to get started:http://www.ala.org/rusa/communications/lists

Strategic Planning

RUSA’s 2012-2015 Strategic Plan is under discussion to put actions in place to achieve the objectives identified by the plan. I urge you to review the plan and think about what you need form RUSA. You can find the strategic plan on the RUSA Web site at: http://www.ala.org/rusa/sites/ala.org.rusa/files/content/about/rusa-strategic-plan.pdf

Before Midwinter, we will invite all of you to comment on the plan and its objectives and suggest activities for RUSA. Watch ALA Connect and RUSA-L for more details!

Learning Outcomes and Knowledge Coordination Task Force

The RUSA membership survey a little over a year ago and RUSA Structures Task Force report last year noted that the highest priority for our members is professional development opportunity. In order to do this right, though, we need to have a coherent plan to tie together professional development, programming, the hybrid programming that is partly professional development and partly programming, and the resources of the web site. A new task force is beginning the conversation. The group has been asked to:

  • Consult widely within RUSA and create a vision for a coordinated approach to professional development, programs, and publications.
  • Develop a sustainable plan for virtual programs
  • Develop a measurable plan for provide professional education through a variety of formats.
  • Develop a sustainable plan for the RUSA website so that our web site is useful to members and includes information that members can use in their daily work.

RUSA Review Task Force

There is a great deal of work going on at ALA to re-imagine the whole organization as a more collaborative and nimble group. As I mentioned earlier, the discussions at the Joint Boards meeting in Chicago in late October were focused on a return to major priorities. As part of that return, there will be a concerted look at the organization, with a focus on reducing duplication and fostering collaboration to make ALA more attractive to members who can no longer afford to spend as much time or money as in days past.

Thanks to the hard work of many individuals and groups, we have good information about RUSA’s sections and standing committees. There is, however, a piece missing that we need to have in place if we are to respond to the opportunities any changes in ALA will bring to us in the near future. We know that our sections are a great strength. The Executive Committee and I believe that it is time to look at RUSA as a whole in the way that we have been so successful in reviewing sections. It is important for us to think about the role of RUSA in this new ALA. Our primary outcome is a re-invigorated RUSA in which members are enthusiastic about what they can do and what RUSA can give them. We want to be confident that RUSA as an organization can continue to meet changing member needs.

A new task force is being formed to lead this review. It will complete its work in September 2013. Please watch for your chance to provide input to this important process.

Special Committee Initiatives

The Resource Development Committee is hard at work to identify ways that RUSA can develop programs and services that provide more income for RUSA activities. Have ideas? Contact Gary White at gww2@umd.edu.

The Just Ask Team was formed to develop a vision of both reference librarians and reference services to help RUSA advocate for the support and development of quality reference services. The committee will work to design promotional materials that convey the value of reference librarians and services in all types of libraries to both the profession and the general public It now has two co-chairs, Diana Shonrock and Elizabeth Stephan. Under their leadership, the team is planning a Discussion Forum in Seattle on Sunday, January 27 from 8:30 to 10:00 AM at the Midwinter meeting in Seattle to identify the roles and duties of reference librarians in different types of libraries, to begin to revise the RUSA definition of reference services, to identify needed advocacy tools, and to plan for a needs assessment study of reference librarians. We hope you will join the conversation at the Red Lion Hotel Fifth Avenue, Emerald II.

Annual RUSA Town Hall Meeting

RUSA meetings are listed in the ALA Midwinter Conference Scheduler. Those who are attending the conference can find out what RUSA is doing by visiting:http://alamw13.ala.org/scheduler.

Not able to attend Midwinter? You can still participate in RUSA planning. At the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, join the RUSA Board either in person or online to participate in the annual Town Hall meeting on Saturday, January 26 at 1:30 PM in the Washington Convention Center, Room TCC 205.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • What keeps you involved in RUSA?
  • What encourages you to attend RUSA meetings?
  • What additional topics would you like to see in RUSA professional development activities?
  • What affinity areas would you like to see in RUSA (such as interest groups on particular topics that cross section levels)?

Don’t forget other fun activities at Midwinter, including:

RUSA Social

Saturday, January 26, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Grand Hyatt Seattle, Leonesa I

A fun event where you can meet old friends and new, enjoying appetizers and a cash bar.

RUSA Book & Media Awards

Sunday, January 27, 5:00 – 6:30 pm, Renaissance Seattle Hotel, Municipal Room

A wonderful way to hear about the best of the best. This is where the top titles selected by RUSA CODES committees are announced.


We want to include you in our work next year. The incoming RUSA President, Kathleen Kern, will be appointing RUSA level committees after Midwinter. Section vice-chairs will be appointing section committees as well.

We want to include you! Be sure to fill out the online form at the RUSA site. Go to: http://www.ala.org/rusa/about/divisioncommittees and click on the link to the RUSA Online Volunteer Form.

Click on Committee Rosters to see the charge for each group.

Tell us what you know and what you like to do. We will be listening!

In addition, we have lost a few committee members due to illness and changes in work responsibilities that do not allow them to be active this year. I will be filling several of these slots over the next few weeks.

The Last Word….

Let me take a moment to say a big THANK YOU to Susan Hornung and all of the RUSA staff, the members of the RUSA Executive Committee, RUSA Board, standing committees, and section leaders for their incredibly smart and hard work this past summer and fall. I look forward to even more fun this spring.

And as always, I want to hear from you about any ideas and suggestions you might have. Please write to me at popp@indiana.edu.

Mary Pagliero Popp
RUSA President 2012-2013