From the President

For many of us, the fall is the start of a new year: a new academic year for ourselves or our children, a post-vacation or post-summer-reading-program year, and the start of a new RUSA year. We have new committees, new programs, new online learning opportunities, newly elected leaders, and new initiatives. In many ways, one season blends into the next and one year becomes another without much fuss. Certainly there are continuing initiatives in RUSA, but I’ll give you a look at some of what is new.

Tuesdays from 2:00-3:00 PM Central, I will hold an “open office hour” in Adobe Connect. As President, one of my goals is to make it easier to work with RUSA and easier to be a part of everything that we have going on. Look for the link to the Adobe Connect room to be announced on the RUSA-L listserv* and the RUSA Facebook page and website. I will also be available during this time via telephone 649-9174 (area code 217). You can, of course, email me or call at other times, but 2:00-3:00 on Tuesdays I am dedicated to your questions and your ideas. I will be joined selected weeks by a member of the RUSA office who can also answer your RUSA questions and we will announce in advance who will be present

IAmRUSA is a new interactive member-of-the-week being worked on by Kirk MacLeod, RUSA Spectrum scholar along with two or three fabulous RUSA mentors. Each week one member, or person of interest to RUSA such as a RUSA award-winning author, will present a brief profile on ALA Communities and then field questions about her job. ALA Communities allows a threaded discussion, so people will be able to post questions, receive responses, and engage in asynchronous conversations with the profiled member and each other. ALA Communities requires registration but is free, so this will be a good way to reach non-RUSA members and library school students to spread the word about the meaningful—and often fun—work of user services and reference librarians and staff. If you are interested in helping to organize IAmRUSA or in being a member of the week, please contact MacLeod at (

More online learning! This past year RUSA sections and members were active with offering webinars and online courses. We offered five webinars and eighteen online courses reaching over 500 learners. Our members (and non-members) are eager for opportunities to learn from RUSA’s experts and we are increasing our online learning offerings. This past year was our first foray into the 1-1.5-hour webinar format and there interest in adding more topics. Our four-week courses continue to be strongly attended as well with many offered additional times due to continuing demand. We have an open-call for webinars for the fall and online courses for the spring (deadline for both is September 1.) See the list of the currently scheduled (more to come!) webinars and courses.

RUSA was awarded a Sparks! Ignition grant from IMLS for the project: National Guidelines and Best Practices for Financial Literacy Education (FLE). This work will be carried out by BRASS (Business Reference and Services Section). This initiative dovetails nicely with the existing SmartInvesting@YourLibrary grant from the FINRA foundation and addresses a very timely topic in the lives of our library users. Congratulations to RUSA and BRASS!


This year we moved to the Adobe Connect platform for our online meetings and webinars. This is not to be confused with the ALA Connect platform for asynchronous communications and committee documents. (Sort of like journals with similar names, there ought to be a rule against naming products this closely!) Virtual and between-conference committee meetings can be held in Connect or via conference call. Here is how to arrange a meeting online or via conference call. ALA is using the Adobe Connect platform so the move takes advantage of pricing and support offered by ALA.


Leadership development is something that we all need in our careers. RUSA recognizes the need for growth at all levels of your career. To start, we are focusing on early to mid-career librarians who are active RUSA volunteers. After we have developed within this scope, RUSA will expand the foci and reach to new librarians, later-career librarians, and all of RUSA membership. Gary White, RUSA past-President, is leading this initiative. Connect with Gary White ( if you are interested in volunteer to help work on this program of activities, if you have ideas on content that we should offer, or are an experienced librarian/committee chair who would like to provide mentorship or online leadership training to newer leaders. My fall RUSQ column also focuses on Leadership Development and Mentoring with tips on being a mentor and on being a mentee.

Every year brings new leadership within RUSA. Here are the elected RUSA and Section officers for this year. Newly elected Vice-President Joe Thompson and Secretary Erin Rushton and newly elected Directors-at-Large Margaret Ellingson and Louise Feldmann. Continuing on the Executive Committee are Jennifer Boettcher, RUSA Councilor, and Mary Popp, RUSA Past-President. On the RUSA Board Cynthia Levine, Celia Ross, Doris Anne Sweet, and Patrick Wall, are Directors-at-Large. The 2013-2014 RUSA Board of Directors also includes section chairs: Andy Spackman (BRASS), Asia Gross (CODES), Michelle Baildon (History), Sam Stormont (MARS), Ann K. G. Brown (RSS), and Nora Dethloff (STARS). Congratulations, too, to the new section Vice-Chairs/Chairs Elect: Todd Hines (BRASS), Deborah Abston (CODES), Jenny Presnell (HS), Stephanie J. Graves (MARS-ETS), Qiana Johnson (RSS), Christina “Tina” Baich (STARS).

Annual 2013 in Chicago was a whirlwind of RUSA activities, far too many to mention them all. The RUSA President’s program was attended by over 650 people and featured Lee Raine from the Pew Internet Trust and was followed-up the next day with an expert panel. Watch and listen online if you missed this program. We hope in the future to be able to capture more sessions for later viewing and are working with ALA Conference Services. For a full list of RUSA programs and events at Annual 2013, see the ALA Scheduler, links to program slides and handouts may be available in the comments section at the end of the program description.

As with the Academy Awards, there are so many people to thank. This is also a list of people that you might want to get to know, if you don’t already, as they know a lot about RUSA and libraries.

  • Thank you to Mary Popp, outgoing RUSA President (now Past-President), Gary White, Past President, and Carolyn Larson, Secretary, for being people who offer good counsel and get things done.
  • Thank you to the outgoing members of the RUSA Board of Directors: Chris LeBeau (BRASS), Dianna McKellar (MARS), Alesia McManus (Director at Large), Amber Prentiss (Director at Large), Janice Schultz (History), Liane Taylor (RSS), Barry Trott (Past President), and Heather Weltin (STARS).
  • Thank you to every volunteer in every part of RUSA! RUSA does nothing without you.
  • Thanks to the RUSA office for supporting the work of RUSA: Executive Director, Susan Hornung; Andrea Hill, web services manager; Liz Markel, marketing and programs manager; and Leighann Wood, membership assistant.
  • Thanks to Barry Trott for successfully moving Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) to online-only and a great first-year as editor of our esteemed journal.
  • Thank you, Liane Taylor, for your hard work in supporting Blackboard Collaborate for online meetings and webinars and for helping us with the transition to Adobe Connect.
  • And thank you to all of the RUSA members who support what we do through their membership and their attendance at RUSA events at conference and online.

Making it (even) easier to volunteer Members are what make RUSA work. It is trite, but true. Our programs, our webinars, our courses, our guidelines, our awards, our social functions: everything is based on member ideas and member work. Sometimes, though, people don’t have the ability to volunteer for an entire year of committee work. And sometimes we don’t have room on the committees for all of the volunteers, since a too-large committee is unwieldy. We are working with RUSA Office and some of the committees on short-term and micro-volunteer opportunities. Look for the announcements about those on RUSA-L. The RUSA Legislative Assembly Reps have already launched a call for volunteers to help with advocacy for legislative issues. If you did not see that call but have a passion around in legislation that affects libraries, please contact Alesia McManus at

Anyone can have a good idea, share yours! A lot of what we do comes from committees and sections, but RUSA also serves members who are not committee members. I know that many people do not have the time to volunteer or put their volunteer efforts elsewhere. Suggesting an activity or topic area for RUSA doesn’t mean that we will make it your responsibility. So, stop into my weekly Tuesday office hour or send me an email. The email inboxes of the rest of the RUSA Board (named above) are also open.

Have a great year!

M. Kathleen Kern
RUSA President 2013-2014