RSS Review

Amy Rustic, Editor

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Message from the Chair:

Hi everyone,

I hope you all are having a nice spring.
Amy Rustic, our Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, has been hard at work on committee appointments.  Thank you, Amy, and thank you to all of you who agreed to be committee members or chairs for another term, or for the first time.  Your active participation in our section is very much appreciated.

If you are venturing to Orlando for Annual, I hope you will attend the RSS All Committee Meeting and Open House on Saturday, June 26th from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. in ROS CENTRE (Rosen Centre Hotel) Salon 09/10.  It’s a great chance to meet fellow and potential RSS members and find out what the difference committees are up to, plus there will be yummy food.

We will be publicizing other RSS session via email and Facebook closer to the conference.

The RSS Election results are in:
SECRETARY – Jessica Hagman
MEMBER-AT-LARGE – Colleen Seale
Thank you to those who volunteered to run for positions within RSS and Congratulations to the winners!

Crystal Lentz
RSS Chair, 2015-16

RSS Honor Roll
It’s that time of year! We want to recognize you and your contributions to RSS!

The RSS Honor Roll gives recognition to active RSS members who have served the section in three different capacities since its inception.

If you have been a member of three or more committees or discussion groups since RSS was established in 2004 and have not previously been added to the honor roll, please send your name and a list of the three ways you have served RSS to Ellen Keith at

Not only will you become a member of this esteemed group, you will also be recognized at ALA Annual in Orlando!

Join the RSS Honor Roll today.


Committee on Multilingual Services
The Committee on Multilingual Library Services is currently reviewing and revising the Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Multilingual Collections and Services The work started this year and will continue into the following year. The sections have been split up evenly amongst the members of the committee, and we are hoping to have some headway on the draft by ALA Annual. Another set of guidelines under the purview of the committee includes the Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users ( The committee initially discussed combining the two guidelines, but have decided to just move forward with the one set and address the other set upon completion of the Multilingual guidelines.

To accompany the guidelines, the committee has discussed creating an online resource guide for library staff that will include strategies, advice, and tools for working with multilingual populations. This goes beyond the somewhat “ideal” guidelines to offer practical resources that can be used or implemented immediately. This work will continue into next year as well.

The committee will be facilitating a discussion forum at ALA Annual on Sunday, June 26th, from 3:00-4:00 pm at the Hyatt, in Bayhill 31 & 32. The discussion forum will be an opportunity for attendees to explain how they use the current guidelines, what they would like to see in the guidelines, and to share practical strategies for best serving multilingual populations in their libraries. The committee is considering compiling discussion notes into a Google Doc and sharing it with conference attendees, which will serve as the basis for the resource guide.

Margaret Bly, Co-Chair 2015-2016
Erin Hvizdak, Co-Chair 2015-2016

Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need Committee
The Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need Committee will be sponsoring a discussion forum at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando on assisting patrons at the point of need through social media. Details are below:
“Please Throw Me a Vine! Assisting Patrons at the Point of Need through Social Media”
Given the large and growing percentage of the American population that is now using social networking sites for communication, it’s likely that your patrons will pose questions and research challenges on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Join us for a discussion on how we can best communicate at this developing point of need.

When: Sunday, June 26, 3:00-4:00 pm
Where: Orange County Convention Center, Room W202A

Lightning Round Presenters:
Using Instagram: Lauren Wallis, University of Delaware
Using Twitter: Paige Alfonzo, University of Denver
Using Vine: Cindy Craig, University of Florida
The Committee’s Selected Bibliography on Point of Need Reference and Instruction is available here:

Colleen Seale, Chair 2015-2016

Discovery Services Committee
The Discovery Services Committee plans to hold their Annual Forum titled, “Exploring Engagement between Discovery and the Catalog , 2016 at 3:00 to 4:00 pm, Orange County Convention Center, Room W107. This forum will provide an opportunity to librarians and others who are involved with reference services to discuss what platform they choose to use when engaged in reference services. To learn more about this event visit the ALA Scheduler.

Anne Larrivee, Chair 2015-2016

Education & Professional Development for Reference Committee
“Educating for the Future of Reference” at Annual 2016 in Orlando.
Our panel event for Annual 2016 builds upon earlier discussion forums around the topic of how well (or not) the professional degree prepares us for the current ‘reference’ environment.  “Educating for the Future of Reference” is planned for on Sunday, June 26 from 1:00-2:30, Orange County Convention Center, W104.

The program explores whether ‘reference education’ in library schools currently helps provide librarians with relevant skills and materials for the current ‘reference’ marketplace as seen from the perspective of library administrators/librarians who hire and train, and also from the perspective of library educators.  Panelists include Jason Coleman (Kansas State University), Wendi Bost (Orange County Public Library System), Dr. Linda Lillard (Library Science Dept. at Clarion University), and Dr. Eileen Abels, Dean of the Simmons School of Library and Information Science.

Bryna Coonin, Chair, 2015-2016

Health and Medical Reference Committee
The Health and Medical Reference Committee (HMRC) supports the specialized needs of library staff members who answer health-related reference questions in a variety of settings, including, but not limited to, public libraries, academic libraries, health care institutions, and special libraries. Topics that the committee addresses include legal and ethical issues, resource evaluation, health literacy, cultural differences, library programming, and health reference interview skills. The committee also maintains the Health and Medical Reference Guidelines (, updated last in 2014 and 2015. Finally, this committee manages MEDREF, a health and medicine oriented listserv available to anyone answering health related reference questions.

HMRC has recently been working to promote MEDREF and increase the number of subscribers. The aim of the listserv is to be an open and welcoming environment for library workers from all types of libraries to discuss all questions or issues related to health and medical reference. In the last few months a press release announcing MEDREF have gone to many listservs including RUSA, RSS, ACRL, ALA, MLA and CAPHIS. Subscribe to MEDREF by going to

HMRC has joined forces with ACRL’s Health Sciences Interest Group (HSIG) in offering a Discussion Forum at ALA in Orlando this June. The forum, entitled Implementing Health and Medical Reference Guidelines: Training librarians, paraprofessionals and part time staff, will highlight how the new Health and Medical Reference Guidelines can best be implemented in any type of library, including how to train professional and non-professional staff regarding what are often sensitive reference questions. This Discussion Forum will take place on Saturday, June 25th at the Hyatt Regency Orlando in Barrel Springs II from 1:00-2:30 pm. We hope all interested in learning more about providing excellent health reference will join us. It promises to be an engaging conversation!

Laura Louise Haines, Chair 2015-2016

Recognition Committee
Join RSS members on Sunday, June 26, 5:00-6:30 PM, in Rosen Centre, Room Grand A, at the RUSA Achievement Awards Ceremony and Reception to recognize Sarah J. Hammill, winner of the RSS Service Achievement Award.

Ellen Keith, Chair 2015-2016

Research and Statistics Committee
Save the Date: 22nd Annual Reference Research Forum ALA Annual Conference

Learn about notable research projects conducted in the broad area of reference services!
Sunday, June 26th from 10:30-11:30 am in the Orange County Convention Center, Room W104
The Reference Research Forum continues to be one of the most popular and valuable programs during the ALA Annual Conference.  The following projects were selected using a blind review process by the RUSA RSS Research and Statistics Committee.
The Research Process of First-Year Students, Brandeis University, Laura Hibbler
As librarians, we often provide instruction to students at the early stages of the research process and do not have the opportunity to see the steps that students take next. Even when we do have the opportunity to see the end product of a student’s research, the student’s paper or project may reveal little about ways that the student’s research focus shifted over time and which parts of the research process caused frustration. This presentation will describe findings from a study that involved interviewing first-year students at three different points while they were working on a research paper. By interviewing students over the span of the time that they were working on their research essays, the librarian was able to ask students to reflect on the steps they had taken and students were able to provide a more complete picture of their research process.
Container Collapse! : How Students Determine Identity and Credibility of Digital Resources, University of Florida, Tara Tobin Cataldo
What does it mean to be format agnostic and what role does it play in a student’s determination of credibility of digital information? Our three-year, IMLS-funded research project explores this phenomenon with students from 4th grade to graduate school using age-appropriate science inquiry examples. The research team has created a new methodology for observing and studying information-seeking behavior in a simulated online environment. This presentation outlines our project, demonstrates the simulations, and discusses the study’s implications for all librarians, educators and online information providers. We seek your feedback and welcome lively dialogue.
Research Consultations and Dweck’s Theories of Intelligence, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Amanda L. Folk
Reference interactions, particularly research consultations, are informal teaching and learning opportunities in which librarians aim to help patrons develop information literacy skills and locate relevant information. Few studies, however, focus on understanding patrons’ motivations for consulting a librarian for help in order to explore whether or not these patrons are simply seeking to locate the relevant information or if they want to learn about the research process more generally through interactions with a librarian.  Carol Dweck identified the fixed and incremental theories of intelligence, which could affect how patrons navigate the research process, including if they will seek help from a librarian and what they intend to take away from that interaction.  This study seeks to determine if students who make appointments for research consultations with a librarian at small regional campus of a public research university subscribe to a particular theory of intelligence as defined by Carol Dweck, in order to provide evidence that can be used to inform reference practice and information literacy instruction.

Cindy Levine and Liz Kocevar-Weidinger, Co-Chairs 2015-2016

Virtual Reference Committee
The ETS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee is co-sponsoring a discussion forum with the ETS Virtual Reference Discussion group and the Virtual Reference Companion Subcommittee. The forum is titled “Fact or Fiction: What Virtual Reference Training Works and What Holds Promise.” The session will be a discussion of virtual reference training in both academic and public libraries. Two committee members will do a short (5 minute) presentation on the Virtual Reference Companion, and two other members will share their experiences with training programs at their libraries. The guided discussion will take place following the presentations. The forum will be held Sunday, June 26th at 4:30-5:30pm at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, Room Bayhill 20.

The committee has also recommended to the RUSA Standards and Guidelines committee that the Guidelines for Cooperative Reference Services be sunset. In other guideline news, the committee is currently revising the Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services.

Qiana Johnson, Chair 2015-2016

Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee
Virtual Reference (VR) Companion Subcommittee will be co-sponsoring the Virtual Reference Discussion Forum at ALA Annual, along with the VR Discussion Group, and is preparing for that meeting, which will focus on training for virtual reference.
Fact or Fiction: What Virtual Reference Training Works and What Holds Promise, Sunday, June 26, 2016, 4:30-5:30 PM, HYATT Regency Orlando, Room Bayhill 20.
Work is being done on the companion to make navigation more intuitive and to include more content in some of the modules.

After the RUSA/RSS committee review process, a decision was made to merge the various VR committees, so the work of maintaining the VR Companion Subcommittee will be taken on by the new merged Virtual Reference Committee.

The VR Companion is accessible at, as well as in the Hot Links section of the RSS Virtual Reference Committee page, the Professional Tools section of the RUSA Resources page, and in the Web Resources section of the ALA Library Fact Sheet 19: Virtual Reference: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. Tips and Best Practices to include in the VR Companion module of the same name are always welcome! These can be directed to either co-chair, Laura Friesen (, or Neal Pomea ( or by leaving a comment on ALA Connect: (

Laura Friesen, Co-chair 2015-16
Neal Pomea, Co-chair 2015-16

RSS Review is the newsletter of the Reference Services Section of Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association. Please send suggestions for future issues to Amy Rustic (