Message from the Chair

RSS Review

RSS_LogoALA Midwinter a Great Success!
It was great seeing many of you at ALA Midwinter in Seattle. I hope you enjoyed the RSS events including the delicious pancake breakfast, lively discussions, and the free workshop, and also found time to enjoy the sights and scenes of Seattle.

Speaking of Pancakes, we broke a record at our 3rd Annual Pancake Breakfast (Shortcake Saturday) with more than twenty-five people in attendance. Thanks to Judy Solberg for scoping out such a hotspot with a fantastic view.

I wasn’t able to attend, but rumor has it the free workshop “New Tech for Reference: from the reference interview to roving reference, challenges, benefits and best practices,” organized by the Education & Professional Development for Reference Committee, was a smashing success. Praise was lauded at the organizers and at the presenters. We hope to continue offering more of these great deals. Be sure to stay tuned to RSS-L to be up-to-date.

We also had a number of great discussions on a wide variety of topics including “Core Standards for Young Adult Reference Services,” “Mother Goose and Promoting Library Services for Spanish Speakers for Spanish Speakers,” “Just Ask,” “Helping Patrons find Employment or Career Information,” and “Coping with Burnout on the Front Lines.” Be sure to read the committee reports for details!

We Appreciate You!
One of the focuses of RSS this year is to recognize the members who pay to volunteer with our section. We are doing this by sharing their publications, so others can learn about current research related to reference.

See the RSS Publications List read the latest submissions and share your publications!

Also sprinkled throughout this issue you will see quotes from RSS Members on what makes RSS their section within RUSA. Take a minute to share your thoughts about RSS using our feedback form.

Starting with this issue the RSS Review we will be interviewing an RSS Member of the Quarter. I am very pleased to announce that Joe Thompson has been selected as our first RSS Member of the Quarter. Find out a little more about Joe below.

If you want to be a part of this lively, fun, and dynamic section, then you are in luck. Ann Brown (RSS Chair Elect) will be appointing volunteers to a myriad of committees and positions. Stay tuned to RSS-L where she will send an email asking for volunteers.

Happy reading and of course if you have any questions, please contact me!

Sarah J. Hammill
RSS Chair


RSS Member of the Quarter
Joe Thompson, Associate Director, Western Maryland Regional Library

RSS_Joe1. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Happy to help!

2. What do you like to do for fun?
Spending time with my wife and daughter, visiting parks and museums. Taking day hikes and reading as time allows. Volunteering time in support of Citizens for Maryland Libraries, our statewide friends group.

3. Describe RSS in 3 words.
Powerful people connections.

4. What do you value most about RSS and/or RUSA?
I’ve been able to meet and learn from so many incredible people through my RSS and RUSA participation. In addition to the excellent formal learning opportunities offered by the section (i.e. programs and discussions), there are so many great opportunities for informal conversations. Some of the best ideas I’ve picked up for enhancing service at my library have started this way.

5. Where do you see reference services going in the next 3-5 years?
I’ve always seen what we call reference as being entirely about helping people. It’s about connecting people to information; helping them find books, music, and movies to enjoy; and empowering individuals to grow. Over the past several years libraries have been doing a terrific job at removing service barriers and making access to resources an easy and transparent process. We need to make sure this focus continues as it relates to our ILS, ebook, and other online subscription services that libraries don’t necessarily control directly. While our services become ever faster, easier, and frictionless, we need to also make sure that the value of these library services is evident to the people who use them. I’m really excited about RUSA’s developing ASK campaign, which will offer a lot of opportunities for publicity and library advocacy.

6. In your own words…
None of our accomplishments in RSS would have been possible without the fantastic teamwork of people across the section. We are very lucky to have so many smart and dedicated people volunteering their time in support of improving library service. Something that’s really important to me is helping those people new to the profession make connections with those who have years of experience to share. These often prove to be valuable relationships for everyone. Please take every opportunity you have to make these kind of introductions between people. Be a connector.

What makes RSS Great?
“I love RUSA RSS because it keeps me engaged and excited about all the new developments in reference. ALA is huge but RUSA RSS is all about everything I love about my job: Reference! I know whenever I see a RUSA RSS program that it will be right on target with my job and my passion.”

Ava M. Iuliano, International Relations Librarian, Florida International University

Have a story to share? Let us know what makes RSS Great!