Business Reference Services Discussion Group
The BRASS Discussion Group facilitated an in person discussion at ALA Annual on June 28th. Many BRASS members were in attendance for this lively discussion about resources, data services and instruction practices. Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the discussion.

The next virtual discussion will be on September 18th at 2pm EST with topics to be determined.

Emily Treptow 2014-2016 Chair

Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee
Our committee began planning the BRASS Academic Forum for 2016 in Orlando next year and currently are interested in soliciting ideas from the BRASS membership. We are strongly considering a series of “lightning talks” that would feature the experiences of academic librarians. These could be examples of collaboration, database usage metrics, programming, outreach, research, collaborative tools, software, video tutorials, student consultations, or any theme that might fit the business landscape in Orlando (hospitality, tourism). We are interested in creating a forum that would give more librarians an opportunity to make a professional contribution than would be the case with the usual panel format.

Van Houlson, 2015-2016 Chair

Business Reference Sources Committee
The Business Reference Sources Committee identified 10 sources to be reviewed for its outstanding business reference resources 2015 column. Of these ten sources, two were identified as outstanding, seven as notable, and one significant new edition. The reviews will be published in the winter 2015 edition of Reference & User Services Quarterly.

The Business Reference Sources Committee also presented the annual Publisher’s Forum at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. The title of the program was “Money Smart, Sources for Promoting Financial Literacy to Your Community, and included presenters from Mergent, Morningstar, Standard and Poors Capital IQ, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. There were 39 attendees at the forum.

Ed Hahn, 2014-2016 Chair

Education Committee
The BRASS Education Committee is happy to report that we have reached several major milestones:

  • We completed a migration to LibGuides 2.0 platform (thank you, Springshare, for your generous support!) and merging former Best of the Best Business Websites and Selected Core Resources guides into single topical BRASS Business Guides. This year we implemented editorial review process and project planning documents to keep track of our progress. Teams of two reviewers worked with individual authors to provide comments and suggestions for each guide. The committee developed a style guideline checklist to ensure a unified look and feel of the Business Guides. One of the goals was to convert all URLs from Text to Links to support automatic link checking. Maintaining quality BRASS Business Guides is the top responsibility of our committee.
  • The 2015 preconference “Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs” was a success, even though John Schlipp from Northern Kentucky University, one of the presenters on using patents for business analytics, didn’t arrive in San Francisco due to inclement weather. Fortunately, he was able to present over an impromptu WebEx session, and Linda Kocis from Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, his co-presenter, filled in the blanks on site. The San Francisco-area IP attorneys Alex Feerst and Genevieve Rosloff offered an engaging discussion of common IP issues facing startups. It was a valuable perspective outside the library realm. Finally, Jason Dewland and Cindy Elliott from University of Arizona shared their experiences collaborating with the university commercialization office and contributing to the local innovation ecosystem. The feedback from 19 participants was very positive. The preconference was featured in the next day’s issue of ALA Cognotes on p. 4: It was the first half-day preconference offered by BRASS, and the committee will consider this year’s outcomes in future planning.
  • The committee brainstormed a few topics for the next year’s preconference in Orlando and voted for a full-day workshop on business data for librarians which will focus on sources of data, data information literacy, data interview, and more. After the approval by the RUSA Executive Committee in July-August, we expect to issue a call for speakers and continue planning this much-requested workshop.
  • The committee also worked on the internal BRASS Education Committee guide to preserve institutional knowledge for future members. If other BRASS committees are interested in having an internal LibGuide to manage committee’s work, please contact Peter McKay

BRASS Education is looking forward to an exciting new year of service under the leadership of new Chair Ashley E. Faulkner, Texas A&M University.

Natasha Arguello, 2012-2015 Chair

Membership Committee
Let’s spread the news. BRASS is the best community for anyone interested in educating, presenting, collecting, and sharing business information. We are looking for BRASS members to volunteer to speak at library school programs, state library associations, local library groups, and an mentoring events. Please contact co-Chair Jennifer Boettcher if you want to know how.

Some of us were lucky enough to meet and greet at the Thirsty Bear, generously sponsored by RefUSA. We all had such a fun time RefUSA agreed to sponsor the BRASS reception in Orlando. THANK YOU RefUSA and Greg Tong for working the door. If you know a good place for the reception around the Orlando Convention Center, please contact co-Chair Cynthia Slater.

Meanwhile, the Membership Committee is in full swing with new members. We are going to start sending welcome letters again. We will be working more with social media. If you know anyone who is willing to tell us why they dropped out of BRASS membership, please direct them to Jennifer, Cynthia, or the committee at

Jennifer Boettcher and Cynthia Slater, 2015-2016 Co-Chairs

BRASS 2015 ALA Annual Program Planning Committee
Presentations from the ALA 2105 Annual Conference:

“Not Elsewhere Classified”: Researching New and Niche Industries
The program attracted around 120 attendees, and of those, over 75 turned in their written evaluations which were overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic about our two speakers and their presentation:

Laura Young | Founding Partner + CEO | Bizologie
Business Research Simplified

April Kessler | Partner + Chief Research Analyst | Bizologie
Feedback from the remarks of attendees afterward, and the evaluations, is that people really appreciated the practical approach of this BRASS program, with all of the specific tips, strategies, resources, and real-life scenarios. Slides are available at the scheduler node: Video will be posted later.

Committee members: Mark Andersen, Anne Bradley, Annette Buckley, Monica J. Hagan, Lauren Reiter, Penny Scott, and Todd Hines, BRASS Chair 2014-2015

We’d like to once again thank S&P Capital IQ for their generous support in providing the breakfast.

Diane Campbell, 2015 Chair

BRASS 2016 ALA Annual Program Planning Committee
During the ALA Annual conference, RUSA approved the BRASS 2016 annual program, titled “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes: Travel and Hospitality Landscape and Library Resources.” The speakers will be Jack Plunkett, of Plunkett Research, Ltd., and Tim Bottorff, Head Librarian at Universal Orlando Foundation Library at Rosen College of Hospitality Management (University of Central Florida). Over the next year, BRASS Program Planning will work to coordinate and market this exciting program which will take place Monday, June 27, 2016 from 8-10 AM.

Ilana Stonebraker, 2015-2016 Chair

Publications and Communications Committee
The BRASS P&C committee met at ALA annual and discussed the following:

  1. The committee will reach out to the editors for the RUSA Voices blog to see how/if we can contribute BRASS content
  2. We are looking at the possibility of creating an official BRASS Twitter profile, rather than just exclusively relying on the #bizref hashtag.
  3. We are looking at ways to engage more members via Twitter, as the statistics indicate our reach and engagement with Facebook is very limited.
  4. Our webmaster has reorganized some content on the BRASS page, as well as removed an outdated sidebar.
  5. Our webmaster will update the publication submission guidelines for the website.
  6. The P&C committee will study the practicality of publishing a BRASS Schedule of Events for every ALA annual, and will determine whether to continue this publication or not.

Chad Boeninger, 2014-2016 Chair


BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Excellence in Business Librarianship award
Peter Z. McKay of the University of Florida received the BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Excellence in Business Librarianship award at the RUSA Achievement Awards Ceremony held at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco on Sunday, June 28th, 2015. In addition to the award committee and other BRASS members, some of Peter’s UFL colleagues and his wife, Gene Anne McKay also attended the ceremony. Congratulations, Peter!

Celia Ross, 2014-2015 Chair

Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award Committee
Sara F. Hess, the recipient of the 2015 Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award, was recognized at the RUSA Awards Ceremony and Reception in San Francisco. This generous award, sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning, provided travel funds to the ALA Annual Conference and a one-year BRASS membership. Sara is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Information. She earned a Master of Science in Information in May 2015. While enrolled in the master’s degree program she worked as a reference assistant at the Kresge Business Administration Library at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She continued at Kresge as a reference assistant through the end of July. In August 2015, she began her position as a business reference librarian at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Congratulations to Sara on her academic achievements and exciting new position.

Diane Zabel, 2015-2016 Chair

Global Financial Data Academic Business Librarian Award
The committee looks forward to offering a travel award under the new sponsorship of Global Financial Data. Thank you GFD!

Julia Martin, 2015-2016 Chair

Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award Committee
We asked Barbara Alvarez (Barrington Area Library. IL), the recipient of the 2015 BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award, to send us a brief statement about her experiences at the ALA Annual Conference. Here is her response:

When I received the 2015 BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award, I was thrilled to be honored for my contributions to my library’s business community and, of course, to receive Morningstar Investment Center’s generous funding to attend the American Library Association 2015 Annual Conference. What I did not realize was the tremendous impact that this award would have on me not only at the conference, but also leading up to the conference and into the future.

To begin with, as the award recipient I have formed invaluable relationships with librarians, both locally and nationally, who want to discuss the embedded services that I provide to the library’s local business community. In turn, I have also learned practices and concepts that other public libraries use and how I might be able to incorporate them into my role at my library. This alone has been a major advance to my career.

At the conference, there were several events that allowed me the opportunity to continue to form relationships with other professionals, learn more about the work that BRASS and other committees do and how I can participate, and also recognize other library professionals and the range of work that they do. In particular, the RUSA 101: Network, Get Oriented, and Get Involved allowed me to meet members of the BRASS Committees and learn more about the various engaging responsibilities that they provide to business librarians. I found these committee members to be genuinely interested in the development and enrichment of business library staff in all types of libraries. Additionally, Literary Tastes: Celebrating the Best Reading of the Year, Advocating For a Library Future, and the RUSA Award Ceremony were networking sessions and workshops that were unique and innovative.

Moving forward, I have joined a committee and am looking forward to connecting with the librarians that I met before and during the conference, especially with the RUSA and BRASS members that I met. If you are a librarian, or know a librarian, who works with business resources and the business community in a public library, I highly recommend applying for the next BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award. The conference experiences, networking sessions, and professional opportunities make this award one that will continue to impact you beyond the annual conference.

Patricia Hull, 2015-2016 Chair