MARS: Update from the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS)

Cathy Larson, Editor

Message from the Chair

MARS: Emerging Technology in Reference Section is looking forward to an exciting year of programming and service. The Section recently submitted our section review to RUSA and it was favorably received. The Executive Committee and Planning Committees will be reviewing recommendations over the coming year and working on changes to further the mission of MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Section.

Congrats are well deserved for our newly elected members.

Vice-Chair/Chair –Elect – Donna Scanlon

Secretary (two-year term) – Chanitra Bishop

Member-At-Large (three-year term) – Matt Torrence

Our members hosted a suite of excellent programs and discussion groups during ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.

Management of Electronic Resources Committee sponsored “Libraries in the Course Management System: Best Practices and New Directions,” to a standing room only crowd in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Panelists shared their experiences with integrating library resources in various systems and the audience participated in a lively discussion.

The MARS Chair’s Program began by honoring Anne Houston, this year’s recipient of the MARS Achievement Recognition Award (My Favorite Martian). After the presentation, 150 participants gathered to hear, Angela Zoss, Data Visualization Coordinator, Duke University and Josh Boyer, Head, User Experience, North Carolina State University present their perspectives and experiences with data visualization in a session entitled “New Directions for Data Visualization in Library Public Services.”

At the Virtual Reference Discussion Group, a group of dedicated folks demonstrated the Virtual Reference Companion, a resource for those implementing or managing virtual reference services. Be sure to check out this wonderfully helpful resource at

The Hot Topics Discussion Group met on Sunday to discuss makerspaces in libraries. Participants heard from several librarians engaged in makerspaces activities and even played with some 3D objects.

The MARS Happy Hour at Firefly provided an opportunity for members, new and old, to enjoy each others’ company and learn about MARS in a relaxed, friendly environment.

The last event of Sunday evening was the RUSA Awards Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party at Caesars Palace. Our very own Anne Houston was presented with the MARS Achievement Recognition Award (My Favorite Martian). Thank you to Anne for all her hard work and dedication to MARS over the years.

We welcome your participation in MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference.   If you would like to know more about MARS or are interested volunteering for a committee, please contact Stephanie Graves (


Stephanie Graves
MARS Chair, 2014-2015