Update from the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section
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Cathy Larson, Editor


We are fast approaching the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia from January 24-27, 2014. For Midwinter of 2014, MARS will again use a modified system of meetings. Most committees, other than the Executive Committee, will not meet in person during Midwinter. Committees are meeting virtually prior to Midwinter, and submitting a report of committee activities to the Executive Committee by email. The Executive Committee will meet in person during Midwinter and will refer to committee reports to conduct business. The Planning Committee, and members of those groups hosting discussion forums will be present as well. With the continuing challenges many of our members face in finding funding for two conferences per year, we hope this model will meet our needs.

Please let us know how you feel about this change. One issue is that we don’t seem to be able to get as many committee volunteers with the new format. Committee appointments, which typically begin July 1 of each year, are generally made between the Midwinter and Annual meetings and without interested volunteers attending our Midwinter committee meetings, it has been more of a challenge to identify those interested in working with our committees. I welcome your thoughts on ways we can increase our ability to identify willing and interested volunteers.

Watch for details on time and place in the coming weeks regarding the RUSA Membership Social. This event allows RUSA members and prospective members to meet and mingle while learning more about RUSA. I encourage you to attend if you are able to do so. The social is a highlight for RUSA during the Midwinter Meeting and it is a great place to encourage others to join us in MARS and to volunteer to serve on committees.

MARS will also be hosting some very interesting discussion forums during Midwinter. We are also planning a free preconference workshop Look for more specifics later this month. Please show your support by attending these forums if your schedule permits.

Please note that ALA’s new meeting policy, initiate last year, will be in effect. As a result, you will note that two of our discussion forums are shorter; only sixty minutes instead of the usual ninety. This new meeting policy is ALA’s response to feedback from members who requested shorter meeting times. See the Annual Conference 2013: Change Roadmap for more details on the change discussion.

Highlighting some of the work going on between conferences:

The Nominating Committee has been hard at work over the fall and they have prepared a slate for the upcoming elections. Watch your emails in March for the new ballot. And be sure to make your vote count!

The Planning Committee is preparing for Section Review. In conjunction with the members at large, the committee will be meeting virtually and at Midwinter to finalize the report that will be submitted to RUSA. This is a regular task, whereby each of the Sections in RUSA review their activities, structures and plans for the future. The review helps us to formally document where we’ve been, evaluate what changes may be needed, how we relate to other sections and divisions within ALA, to create a roadmap for continual improvement in the section, and to provide information back to our parent division, RUSA.

Finally, help us to select an outstanding section member for the MARS Achievement Recognition Award (My Favorite Martian) this year! See the Call for Nominations for information on award criteria and deadlines for nominations.

See you in Philadelphia!

Sam Stormont
Chair, Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) 2013-2014