From the President

We are fast approaching the Annual Conference in Chicago. Much work has happened since I last wrote to you and much will happen at the Annual Conference in Chicago in June. I am excited and I hope you will be, too, by all the wonderful things happening in RUSA.

RUSA President’s Program in Chicago: Come and Hear Lee Rainie
I am excited about the President’s Program this year, entitled The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program. Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project will present information from Pew’s extensive research about how people use information and libraries, based on recent research completed by the Project he leads and give us food for thought about the questions we should ask ourselves and our users as we consider this data. Join us on Saturday, June 29 from 4:00-5:30 P.M. at the McCormick Place Convention Center, room S105 a-c.

Equally exciting to me is the follow-up discussion forum the next morning that carries Mr. Rainie’s information and ideas out to attendees. On Sunday, June 30 at 10:30 A.M. in room E351 of the McCormick Place Convention Center, our distinguished panel, moderated by Marie Radford, consisting of Emily Ford, David Lankes, Marie herself, and Joyce Valenza will interact with Mr. Rainie and the participants in the forum to discuss the characteristics of library users and their implications for libraries and the services we provide.

The co-chairs of the RUSA President’s Program, Mary Mintz and Joseph Thompson, along with the hard-working members of the committee, Emily Kornak, Dianna McKellar, Sherri Michaels, and Matt Neer, have planned a wonderful set of programs for Chicago and I am looking forward to them. I hope you will join us for one or both of these important sessions.

Mark Your Calendar for RUSA’s Wonderful Upcoming Programs in Chicago

RUSA’s Signature Programs:

  • RUSA 101
    Friday, June 28, 3:00-4:00 P.M.
    Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Jackson Park 10 A, B, C
  • RUSA President’s Program
    Saturday, June 29, 4:00-5:30 P.M.
    McCormick Place Convention Center, S105 a-c
  • Literary Tastes Author Event
    Sunday, June 30, 8:00-10:00 A.M.
    McCormick Place Convention Center, S103bc
  • RUSA Awards Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party
    Sunday, June 30, 5:00-6:30 P.M.
    Hyatt-Regency McCormick Place, Prairie Room
  • Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Ceremony and Reception
    Sunday, June 30, 8:00-10:00 P.M.,
    Ticketed event; separate registration required; registration information here.
    Radisson Blu Hotel, Atlantic Room A

Not to Be Missed RUSA Programs:

In addition, RUSA is sponsoring a number of important discussion sessions where you can share ideas with your colleagues.

Use the ALA Conference Scheduler to create a personal schedule and you will be alerted to any last minute location changes.

Free Upcoming Webinars
In an effort to provide greater value for RUSA members, the RUSA Board approved a plan to provide a group of high quality webinars, one sponsored by each RUSA section, free to RUSA members. The Professional Development Committee, led by Jim Rettig, has been carefully reviewing proposals and we will have seven new webinars free to RUSA members over the next eight to nine months. They will cover such topics as: genealogy and history resources, online reference resources, reference tracking and data collection, industry research, sharing resources worldwide, and creating an “elevator speech” to tell non-librarians about reference services. Stay tuned for more details!

Strategic Planning
At the Midwinter meeting, RUSA sponsored its annual Town Hall and Think Tank meetings with a theme of encouraging members to be more involved in RUSA and to support members as they engage in RUSA activities. As a result, the RUSA Board and Executive Committee are looking closely at the RUSA Strategic Plan and making plans to update it at the Annual Conference. Each section and standing committee has had an opportunity to weigh in on new initiatives they feel are high priority and we will add more objectives and tasks to facilitate member interest and engagement.

Leadership Development Plan
One of the pieces of the RUSA Strategic Plan (and a good complement to the plans of current ALA President, Maureen Sullivan) is to develop leadership skills in RUSA member leaders. This year we are trying a pilot project to send RUSA-level officers and chairs, standing committee chairs, and section leaders to the Servant Leadership in Your Library preconference at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago sponsored by our sister division ASCLA. Those who participate will be asked to help to develop a RUSA leadership program to help us support RUSA as the best division within ALA. See the RUSA Blog for more details.

Move to Adobe Connect from Blackboard
Our efforts, using RUSA Reserve funds, over the past year to provide greater support for online webinars and committee meetings using a combination of new conference call lines and Blackboard Collaborate software have been a resounding success. Now that ALA has purchased a subscription to Adobe Connect, RUSA will move to that software beginning in June and training programs are going on right now.

New RUSA Guidelines
The RUSA Board has approved two new sets of RUSA guidelines. They are: Guidelines for Business Information Responses and Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers. These will be posted to the RUSA web site soon. The Reference Services Section (RSS) has also put forward a proposal to update the RUSA Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians.

Congratulations to New RUSA Officers
Our new officers will join Kathleen Kern who will take over the reins of RUSA as its new president at the end of the Chicago conference.

  • President-Elect: Joseph Thompson
  • Secretary: Erin Rushton
  • Director-at-Large: Margaret W. Ellingson and Louise Mort Feldmann

The Last Word(s): Thank YOU!
As I end my term in the RUSA Presidency, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of those with whom I have worked this past year.

Special thanks go to the RUSA Office staff, who were always kind and never laughed at my ideas, including our Executive Director, Susan Hornung, Andrea Hill, Liz Markel, and Leighann Wood. The Executive Committee members gave wonderful advice and also deserve thanks and high praise: Gary White, Past President; Kathleen Kern, Vice-President/President-Elect; Carolyn Larson, Secretary; and Jennifer Boettcher, RUSA Councilor. A big thank you goes out to Gary and Carolyn as they leave the Executive Committee at the end of their terms.

The members of the RUSA Board regularly and generously give of their time and their ideas. Thank you to all of the section chairs—David Atkins (STARS), Debbie Bezanson (MARS), Ann Fiegen (BRASS), Sarah Hammill (RSS), Sara Morris (History), and Mary Parker (CODES)—for their hard work and good advice.

Members-at-Large serve as mentors to standing committees, sections, and all of RUSA. I want to send a big thank you to Wayne Bivens-Tatum and Judy Solberg, retiring Members-at-Large, for all of your hard work. To our continuing Members, Cindy Levine, Celia Ross, Doris Ann Sweet, and Patrick Wall, my thanks and best wishes for the coming years.

Diana Schonrock and Elizabeth Stephan and the Just Ask Team are moving forward to help us tell the story of reference services to the world. Elizabeth (editor of the RUSA Update) and Barry Trott I (editor of RUSQ) continue to provide our members with up-to-date and useful information.

All the committee members, both of RUSA standing committees and RUSA sections, served everyone in RUSA very well. Know that you are appreciated!

To all of the members of RUSA who share your ideas and your joys and frustrations with us, a big “thank you”! for your support.

To Kathleen Kern and the new Executive Committee as well as the new members of the RUSA Board—I wish you all a happy and productive coming year.

Mary Pagliero Popp
RUSA President 2012-2013