Management of Reference Committee

The Management of Reference Committee held an open discussion during its regular meeting time at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. We addressed two issues:

(1) We asked for feedback regarding the draft revision of the Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers. Comments during the discussion were favorable. Most recently, a notice was posted to the RUSA-listserv as well as the RSS-listserv soliciting comment on the draft revision.

(2) We also asked for feedback regarding the use of Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians, which is due to be revised. There was support for creating two documents in lieu of revising this one. 

The Committee will meet both on Saturday, June 23, 2012 from 8:00-10:00 AM (Anaheim Convention center, Room 203B Table 7) and Sunday June 24, 2012 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM (Hilton Anaheim, Mezzanine Room 03) to continue discussions of the Guidelines and the Competencies. 

William Weare, Chair 2010-2012

Marketing and Public Relations for Reference

The RSS Marketing and PR Committee is providing a workshop called “Let’s Work Together: Integrating Social Media, Online Marketing, and Outreach” with panelists/presenters David Lee King, Marshall Breeding, and Jennifer Robinson. It is scheduled to be on Monday, June 25, 8:30-10:00 AM at the Anaheim Convention Center 210D. We expect between 150-200 participants. Our committee will also meet virtually during ALA Annual (date/time TBD).

In the works: We are gathering information about marketing campaigns on the local, state, regional and national levels as we consider ways to shape our committee in order to be more utilized.

For ALA Annual 2013 in Chicago, we are pleased to collaborate with two other committee to co-sponsor with the RSS Virtual Reference Committee Chair Don Boozer and MARS co-chair Ellen Filgo on a proposed workshop: " Slam the Boards: A Model for Marketing through Action." This would be presented by Bill Pardue and may include an expansion of the concept of "guerilla marketing techniques for VR" (as Don put so well).

Cathay Crosby, Chair 2011-2012

Organization and Planning Committee

The RSS Organization and Planning (O&P) Committee met via web conference with RSS Executive Committee on February 27, 2012. O&P is working with RSS Executive Committee to finalize the purpose statements for our section’s four new committees:

  1. Communication & Teaching at the Point of Need
  2. Health and Medical Reference Committee
  3. Job and Career Reference Committee
  4. Young Adult Reference Services Committee (in partnership with YALSA)

Members are being appointed to all of these committees by our RSS incoming chair Sarah Hammill. Please send her a note at if you’d like to join! Membership terms on RSS committees officially begin as of July 1st 2012.

A group of RSS volunteers have also completed an update of the RSS home page content at We are now working with our RSS Webmaster Shu Qian to figure out a way to have animated graphic images appear at the top of the RSS page.

Making plans for Annual? O&P will hold its once-a-year in-person meeting on Saturday, June 23 during the 8:00-10:00 am RSS Open House/All Committee Meeting at Anaheim Convention Center 210D during the ALA Annual 2012 in Anaheim. Visitors are always welcome.

In the last few issues of RSS Review we’ve highlighted our new committees. Each has been created to address current issues facing the reference profession. As we take the section in new directions we also want to make sure that we recognize the achievements of those committees that have been retired over this past year:

  1. RSS/MARS Preconference Planning Committee
  2. RSS Services to Adults Committee
  3. RSS User Education and Information Literacy Committee


Of special note, we want to express our gratitude to the members of the Cooperative Reference Service Committee, both past and present. This committee is currently chaired by past RUSA President Nancy Huling. The members of the committee have recognized that their charge is now being addressed by others in RSS, so they have recommended that their own committee be retired. This is very bittersweet for me personally, as this committee was my gateway into RSS and my first committee membership in the section. During the RSS Open House & All Committee Meeting (Anaheim Convention Center 210D) from 8:00-10:00 AM on June 23 at ALA Annual, we will bid farewell to the Cooperative Reference Services Committee. Meanwhile, Sarah Hammill is finding new homes in RSS for the remaining members and the responsibility for maintaining the Guidelines for Cooperative Reference Services is being reassigned.

Many thanks to everyone who has served RSS as a member of these committees!

Joe Thompson, Chair 2011-2012

Research and Statistics Committee

The Research and Statistics Committee is looking forward to hosting the 18th Annual Reference Research Forum. This year’s presenters will be Lili Luo presenting “Best Practices of Text Reference Service: A Synergistic View”; Susan Gardner Archambault and Kenneth Simon presenting “Apples and Oranges: Lessons from a Usability Study of Two Library FAQ Web Sites”; and Alison Graber, Alison Hicks, Caroline Sinkinson, and Stephanie Alexander presenting “Research Assistance Interactions: Exploration of Users’ Motivation and Perceptions.” The Forum will be held Sunday, June 1:30-3:30 PM at the Anaheim Convention Center, Room 204A. The committee will release the 2011 Reference Research Review, a bibliography highlighting selected works in the reference literature published during 2011.

Qiana Johnson, Chair 2010-2012

Virtual Reference (VR) Services (MARS/RSS)

“Are Virtual Reference Services Worth the Effort? What ROI Analysis and User Evaluations Tell Us” will be hosted by the Virtual Reference Service Committee on Saturday, June 23, 1:30-3:30 PM in the Anaheim Convention Center, Room 201D. The moderator for this event will be Dr. Joseph Janes and speakers will from New York University, University of North Carolina, Mississippi State University, and Maryland’s virtual reference service AskUsNow! The official description reads: Are virtual reference services worth the effort? The answer to that question is a definitive “yes,” but how do we know? A panel of experts discusses ways to look at return-on-investment and evaluation of virtual reference (VR) services and various methods used to assess their effectiveness. Real-life examples of ways this has already been done will be presented as well. Panelists represent a cross-section of different libraries and each will share their unique perspectives.

The VR Tutorial Subcommittee continues to move ahead with its project and is waiting for the RUSA implementation of the new website.

Jason Coleman (Undergraduate & Community Services Librarian, Kansas State Libraries) sent out another recruitment email asking for participants in the VR Survey Ad Hoc Group. Coleman will be coordinating the ad hoc group to develop, distribute, and analyse the survey results with hopes of presenting their findings at an ALA venue or in a paper. In Coleman’s words, “Information gleaned from such a survey could greatly inform the work of our committee and other committees related to VR.” If this sounds like an interesting opportunity, feel free to contact him at .

The VR Services Committee is discussing the idea of hosting an informal Wikipedia “edit-a-thon” for ALA 2012. Stay tuned for more information on ALA Connect!

The VR Services Committee is co-sponsoring a program for ALA Annual 2013 with the Marketing Committee: “Slam the Boards: A Model for Marketing through Action,” with the primary speaker being Bill Pardue (Reference Librarian and Virtual Services Librarian for Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Illinois, and founder of Slam the Boards).

Don Boozer, Chair 2011-2012

Cooperative Collection Development Committee

The RUSA STARS/RUSA CODES Cooperative Collection Development Committee plans to hold a discussion group at Annual 2012 during our regularly scheduled committee meeting to discuss "Distributed Collections." The meeting will be Sunday June 24 from 1:30-3:30 PM in the Anaheim Convention Center, Room 211A.

We have also submitted to RUSA our STARS-approved program proposal for Annual 2013. Our topic is Mergers of ILL/Acquisitions Departments (title still to be finalized).

Sydney Thompson, Chair

Education and Training Committee

The Education and Training Committee recently debuted a series of two-minute videos entitled "Exploring Library Careers in Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing." This series is intended to encourage library school students and others in the field to learn more about resource sharing and the diverse skills it requires. The three videos currently available for viewing are:

  1. Micquel Little, Access Services Librarian, St. John Fisher College, talks about and appreciates her previous experience in her circulation role:
  2. Collette Mak, Manager of Resources Access and Delivery, University of Notre Dame, touches on data and how the role of an interlibrary loan librarian is truly a project management role:
  3. Heather Weltin, Facilitator for Cooperative Sharing & Storage at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, talks about gaining hands-on library management and budgeting experience in ILL:

The committee welcomes feedback on these videos, suggestions for future topics that could be covered in this format, and ILL librarians who are interested in participating in this project. Comments can be sent to Committee Chair Megan Gaffney (, and Lars Leon (

Megan Gaffney, Chair

Vendor Relations Committee

The Vendor Relations Committee members determined at the meeting at Midwinter that the focus of the group’s work over the coming year will be e-delivery given the changes in the environment with the use of some products diminishing e.g. Ariel, and new products being offered such as OCLC’S Article Exchange. Toward that end, we have been organizing a presentation on e-delivery for the ILL Discussion Group meeting at ALA Annual in Anaheim. We are connecting with the representatives of the various e-delivery systems and inviting them to participate in the meeting of the Vendor Relations Committee at ALA Annual. We are also soliciting names from them of individuals who use their product and can speak to its features and fit for their library. We will ask these individuals to explain their usage and what they think are the advantages and disadvantages of the product. We will include speakers who use OCLC’s Article Exchange, Odyssey, Relais Express, and DLSG’s B-SCAN ILL. We also plan to have a written document to distribute that explains the various options.

Becky Ringwelski, Chair

Interlibrary Loan Discussion Group

The Interlibrary Loan Discussion Group for 2012 ALA Annual features two informative programs. The section’s Vendor Relations Committee will present “The Changing Landscape of E-delivery.” Hear how libraries are using Atlas Systems Odyssey, BSCAN from Image Access, Relais Express from Relais International, and OCLC’s Article Exchange for electronic delivery in their interlibrary loan offices. You’ll learn about the key features of each product to determine whether they fit your e-delivery needs.

Our second program features Lars Leon reporting on the Interlibrary Loan Cost Study project. Both librarians and vendors have continued to refer to the ARL ILL Cost Study data from ten years ago. This work, led by Mary Jackson while at ARL, has really helped the community, but we need to take an updated look. Nancy Kress, North Carolina State University (formerly UNLV), and Lars Leon, University of Kansas, recently completed a modest study on FY11 costs across a range of resource sharing services. This updated information helps to inform the increasing number of buy-versus-borrow decisions, decisions on the best options to borrow, and more. Lars will present highlights from the study and then lead a discussion on how this information can help individual libraries and the community. An article based on the cost study will be available by May. Information on how to find this will be sent out on various listservs.

The Group will also elect the next Chair-Elect for 2012-13.

The Group meets Saturday June 23 from 10:30 AM-12:00 PM at the Hilton Anaheim, Santa Monica.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for future meeting topics, please contact the Group chair David Atkins (

David P. Atkins, Chair

Standards and Guidelines (S&G) Committee

Looking back to New Orleans and the Annual Conference, S&G members voted to recommend to the RUSA Board sunset for two RUSA guidelines:

●     Guidelines for Medical, Legal and Business Responses at General Reference Desks (2001)

●     Guidelines for Information Services (2000)

Generally S&G members recommend sunset with regret, but RUSA policy and lack of a sponsor led to the decisions.

Looking forward to new guidelines:

●     STARS has forwarded to S&G Guidelines for ILL Management and Operations. These guidelines make recommendations regarding the qualifications needed for managers of interlibrary loan and document delivery services and give other guidance concerning ILL staffing.

●     Work continues on new guidelines from the History Section’s Instruction and Research Services Committee. These are guidelines for providing research and information resources to undergraduate students of history.

●     A potential collaborative project is under still under discussion. The Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements is an ALECTS product—not recently revised—with obvious appeal to CODES members.

●     A brand new BRASS effort, in cooperation with Special Library Association (SLA), is working on focusing on core competencies for business students.

Reviews of existing guidelines:

●     Members of the RSS Management of Reference Committee have been working to review two guidelines. Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Services Providers is a document previously associated with the committee. Members of the group have also taken on the review of Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians. This document started out as the product of a special task force.

●     History Section members are organizing to review Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections.

For more information on RUSA guidelines, please contact Larayne Dallas (, Chair of the RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee.

John Sessions Memorial Award Committee

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2012 John Sessions Memorial Award offered by RUSA. The deadline for nominations is December 15, 2011.

Established in 1980, the award is named in honor of John Sessions, former American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) co-chair of the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups. The John Sessions Memorial Award recognizes a library or library system which has made a significant effort to work with the labor community and by doing so has brought recognition to the history and contribution of the labor movement to the development of the United States. Such efforts may include outreach projects to local labor unions; establishment of, or significant expansion of, special labor collections; initiation of programs of special interest to the labor community; or other library activities that serve the labor community.

The Russell Library, Middletown, Connecticut, was the 2011 recipient of the award for their successful Business & Career Programs. The Russell Library provides ten to twelve workshops annually that aim to help individuals find jobs or change their careers. Programs include job searching, interview coaching, computer classes, and stress reduction during job searching, among other topics. With this programming, the library has done significant outreach to union and community members by providing services of special interest to the labor community, as well as connecting with local organizations to publicize their services to job seekers. The award committee selected the library as this year’s recipient for these notable efforts that are vital in today’s economic climate and for the value the programs hold for the local labor community.
The 2012 award will presented at the RUSA Awards Reception during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.

To nominate a library or library system, download and complete the nomination form (PDF format), and follow the submission instructions therein. Questions should be directed to the committee chair.

Emerging Leader Report

Emily Hamstra is a Learning Librarian at the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library. She has primary responsibility for developing, promoting, and delivering innovative instruction specifically geared towards undergraduates. Hamstra also provides reference and coordinates the library’s large leisure reading collection designed to support learning and exploration outside of the classroom. She partners with a local independent bookseller to maintain this collection. She wrote about and presented on this unique partnership at the ACRL 2011 Conference (“Capturing your Community: Partnering with Local Booksellers for Collection Development and Events”). Recently, Hamstrs organized the library’s Banned Books Week events, which included a Read Out and a book drive for a local prison library.

Follow Emily on Twitter (@the_weeds) and Goodreads.

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee

The Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee will be sponsoring the BRASS Forum at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim and is currently working on selecting panelists for the discussion. The topic chosen for the forum is “Using Social Media to Promote Business Librarians and Resources.”

The forum will focus on how we can increase contact with patrons by using social media to harvest the “long tail” of questions—those detailed or niche questions that together total more than general instruction. Businesses have used the theory of the long tail to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction by catering to specific preferences. Social media is uniquely able to address these needs through its flexibility and accessibility.

The forum will be held on Saturday, June 23 starting at 1:30 pm. We hope you can join us.
Lydia LaFaro, 2009-2012 Chair

BRASS Program Planning Committee

The 2012 BRASS Program Planning Committee is preparing the program “Business Data Sources: Librarians and Content Creators.” Many of us were curious about the librarian point of view about business data sources, and also how business data sources are created by such providers as the US Census, ESRI, and the RAND Corporation.

The speakers we currently have in our program are the following:

●     Bobray Bordelon, Princeton University

●     Jerry Wong, US Census

●     Angela Lee, ESRI

●     Joe Nation, RAND Corporation

In the coming months, the program planning committee will work to finalize the speaker presentations and also pin down conference logistics in order to have a great program for Anaheim in 2012.

Program planning members: Chris LeBeau (BRASS Chair), Anthony Lin (committee chair), Paul Brothers, Laura B. Carscaddon, Jason Dewland, Allison Leaming, Julia Martin, Peter McKay, Michael Oppenheim, and Mark Siciliano


Anthony Lin, Chair, 2011-2012

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee

The Business Reference Sources Committee has begun its work selecting new titles for its “Outstanding Business Reference Sources” column, which appears in the winter issue of RUSQ, and welcomes its new members this year: John Burns of the Watertown Public Library, Valerie Freeman of Johnson & Wales University, Penny Scott of the University of San Francisco, and Becky Smith of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Nathan Rupp, Chair 2011-2012

BRASS Education Committee

Please plan to attend the upcoming pre-conference at Anaheim 2012: “Mastering Business Acumen (MBA) in a Day: Business Concepts for Library Reference.”

This full-day interactive workshop is designed for new business librarians; generalists who have assumed responsibility in business librarianship; or librarians who handle business reference-related inquiries in all types of libraries including academic, public, and special libraries. This workshop will provide librarians with a broad conceptual understanding of business topics in four major business disciplines: accounting, finance, marketing, and management. This preconference will complement Business 101, which focuses on business reference, business resources, and collection development.

Confirmed presenters include:

  1. Accounting: Todd M. Hines (MLS, MBA, MAcc, CPA), Princeton University Library
  2. Finance: Chris LeBeau (MLS, MBA), University of Missouri-Kansas City
  3. Management: Elizabeth Leonard (MLS, MBA), Western Carolina University
  4. Marketing: Andy Spackman (MBA, MLS), Brigham Young University

Leticia Camacho, Chair, 2011-2012

BRASS Education Committe eConnect page

BRASS Best Business Sites

BRASS Vendor Relations Committee

The BRASS Vendor Relations Committee has been working closely with the BRASS 25th Anniversary Planning Committee in order to secure sponsorship for our 25th anniversary celebration to be held in 2013 in Chicago. The Vendor Relations Committee is also hoping to be able to announce a new award starting up in 2012…Stay tuned!

Celia Ross, Chair 2011-2012

BRASS Gale Cengage Student Travel Award Committee

Do you know a student eligible for the BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award?

Established in 1992 and sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning, this $1,000 monetary prize is awarded to a student enrolled in an ALA accredited master’s degree program to fund travel to and attendance at the ALA Annual Conference and a one-year membership in RUSA’s BRASS. Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in a career as a business reference librarian, and the potential to be a leader in the profession as demonstrated by activities that may include (but are not limited to) coursework, internships, jobs, special projects, and publications.

The deadline for nominations is January 31, 2011. Information about the award, including a PDF of the nomination form, can be found on the RUSA website.

As explained in the nomination form, letters of reference, and a library school transcript must be submitted with the application.

Carol L. Anderson, Chair 2011-2012

BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award Committee

Brass Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award committee is now ready to accept nominations.

In order to be eligible for the award, nominees must be a current member of the American Library Association, have a career interest in business reference librarianship, and be willing to participate in BRASS.

The award is a cash award of $1,000 for travel expenses at the ALA Annual Conference.
Please send all nomination to the following:

Mail to:
Melissa Jeter, Adult Services
Toledo Lucas County Public Library
Heatherdown Branch
3265 Glanzman Rd.
Toledo, OH 43610


E-mail to:
Subject: Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award

The due date for this award is December 15, 2011.

Information about the award, including a PDF of the nomination form, can be found on the RUSA website.

Melissa Jeter, Chair 2011-2012

BRASS Publications and Communications Committee

Since ALA Annual Conference, The BRASS Publications Committee has focused on redistributing committee responsibilities. Effective with this issue, Carol Schuetz will serve as Editor of BRASS Notes. Kathryn Corrigan recently assumed responsibilities for maintaining the BRASS Member Publications List, and you will periodically see her calling for submissions via the BRASS-L listserv. Robert Perret is now serving as the BRASS-L manager, and Kaiping Zhang will be managing the development of a BRASS Master Schedule for the 2013 ALA Annual Conference. Whew!
But that’s not all. The BRASS Executive Committee has appointed a new BRASS webmaster. John Gottfried, Business Librarian at Western Kentucky University, will begin managing BRASS pages once they have been migrated from ALA’s current Collage content management system to a new Drupal-based platform. The migration of ALA pages to Drupal began in October 2011, and will proceed in a rolling fashion for all ALA pages through 2012 and well into 2013. We do not yet have an estimated date for when our BRASS pages will be transitioned. Stay tuned!

Like many other BRASS Committees, we will be meeting virtually instead of in person at the ALA Midwinter Conference. We plan to meet via Adobe Connect in mid-January.

The committee is also working with the BRASS 25th Anniversary ad hoc committee to develop web pages dedicated to next year’s festivities.

As always, the committee requests that all BRASS committee chairs conduct a regular review of their committee web pages, and advise us if any updates or changes need to be made as we move into a new year of great BRASS accomplishments. The Collage web platform is showing its age and making updates is a time-consuming process, so we also ask for your patience as we work through page updates.

Carol Smith, Chair 2010-2012

BRASS 25th Anniversary Planning Committee

Plans are underway for BRASS’ 25th Anniversary Party to be held at ALA Annual in Chicago 2013 on Monday, July 1st. Keep your calendars open for this fabulous event. Stay tuned for details to come over the next year.

Louise Feldmann, Chair 2011-2012

MARS Professional Development Committee

With the merger of the Education, Training and Support with Professional Development (PD), MARS now has a new “Super Committee.” Take a look at our membership herd at our new ALA Connect site.

The PD Committee sponsored the first webinar for RUSA on August 2, 2011! Using GoToWebinar software recently licensed by RUSA, this webinar was an “Introduction to Screencasting Tutorials” based on content from a previous MARS program during Annual 2010. There were over forty attendees and plans to repeat this session are tentatively scheduled for December 16. We still have some growing to do in planning and executing webinars, but the potential is enormous and the support from RUSA is fantastic.

If you have any ideas for a MARS webinar, please contact Nancy Cunningham, Chair of Professional Development ( The committee will be working on developing future webinars that shoujld be of value to ALA members. We are also interested in training other MARS commitees on the process and best practices for implementing webinars. Professional development is something that every MARS committee offers. We are eager to partner with any other committee and have lots of able members.

PD members also volunteered to participate in a joint RSS/MARS Subcommittee to plan preconference sessions. Both MARS and RSS intend to offer affordable professional development sessions as preconferences by finding locations and presenters that support our educational efforts without high fees. Got a great idea for a preconference? Please let Nancy know about it and she will pass it along.

Our committee held its first virtual meeting in October using GoToWebinar software! We found this to be an effective and fun way to conduct committee business. Members can record notes, visit websites, respond by voice or chat—the ultimate communication experience. No more scrambling at Midwinter to share ideas. We intend to continue having regular virtual meetings to help us stay on track with planning activities. Using the webinar software for virtual meetings also helps us improve our technical skills. Some of the challenges to virtual meetings have been scheduling, which required using Doodle to determine best meeting times and troubleshooting during the session. However the support from RUSA has been excellent and our committee will gain more experience as these virtual meetings become routine.

Van Houlson, Co-Chair

RUSA MARS Virtual Reference Discussion Planning Committee Update

Saturday, January 21st 2012 4:00-5:30 pm

Location: Dallas Convention Center, V304

The title of the Virtual Reference Discussion Group is “UX + VR FTW”

Courtney Greene, Head of Digital User Experience (DUX) at Indiana University Bloomington Libraries, will begin the forum by discussing what happens when user experience meets virtual reference. She will argue that libraries are in the user experience business—that our users’ needs are at the forefront of everything we do. Greene will describe a recent reorganization that has led DUX to take on a more active role in supporting and managing virtual reference (VR) tools at IUB Libraries: IM via LibraryH3lp, text reference via Google Voice, and a newly re-designed mobile site. She will share how she and her team have worked to balance the advantages of centralized management of VR services (for over a dozen service points across campus) with the importance of staying closely connected to librarians in the field, on the ground and at the desk. She will also discuss how the mobile redesign increased access to research apps and how users have responded to the changes. After Greene’s presentation we will discuss her ideas and other emerging technologies for virtual reference.

Committee News:

The Virtual Reference Discussion Planning Committee has held three online meetings since ALA Annual, 2011: July 27, 2011, August 8, 2011, September 28, 2011. With the committee’s expanded membership (from 3 members to 7 members), it is proving difficult to find meeting times and meeting platforms that work well for all members. The committee has been using MegaMeeting or Google + Hangouts for synchronous online meetings, and Google Docs for asynchronous sharing of ideas.

Jason Coleman, Chair

Catalog Use Committee

The Catalog Use Committee recently held a virtual meeting where we discussed our plans for Annual 2012. The group decided to host a Moderated Roundtable Discussion during our meeting time at the conference. We are narrowing down a selection of topics, with the intent that each table will interrogate one topic in-depth. The Moderated Roundtable will constitute about two-thirds of the meeting time, with the remaining time dedicated to sharing key points from the discussion with the whole group. We are very excited about this format, as we feel it is a way to engage the audience and other committees to spur cutting edge discussions. With that in mind, we will be reaching out to other committees in the coming months to provide subject specialists to moderate the roundtables. Please look for more information as we narrow our focus.


Peter Collins, Chair 2011-2012

Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee

The RUSA/RSS Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee is pleased to announce the acceptance of two discussion forum proposals for Midwinter in Dallas:

●     “For whom the Catalog Serves: Reference Librarians using Information-Seeking Features of Catalogs and Discovery Systems,” proposed by Anne Larrivee of Binghamton University; Sunday, 10:30-12:00 pm; Dallas Convention Ctr, Rm D175

●     “Managing the Different Types of Reference Services,” proposed by Bonnie Fong of Rutgers University; Monday, 10:30 am-12:00 pm; Dallas Convention Ctr, Rm C145

Congratulations to Anne and Bonnie!

These forums are sure to be lively and informative, so make a point to attend both!


Emilie Smart, Chair 2011-2012

Education and Professional Development for Reference Committee

This year the Education & Professional Development for Reference Committee re-energized though new membership and project possibilities, along with the archiving of past projects. We are currently migrating and expanding our list of websites, videos, and other online resources related to training for the reference practitioner from a closed list in ALAConnect to a public Delicious account. In addition, we are collaborating with the MARS Professional Development Committee to offer a no-cost workshop at ALA Midwinter in 2013. To further the access to free reference training resources, the group also is investigating collaborating on webinars. EPDRC determined that the New Employee Orientation Bibliography was a wonderful project, however due to staff time to adequately maintain the list and changing interest in the committee we are archiving the bibliography.


Kristen Mastel, Chair 2011-2012

Library Service to an Aging Population

In addition to our program at the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim (How Libraries Are Serving the Evolving Needs of Baby Boomers and Older Adults), our committee has scheduled a Discussion Forum at the Midwinter Meeting in Dallas on “Library Programs and Services to Baby Boomers” on Saturday, January 21 at 1:30 pm. For those who are able to make it to Dallas, this discussion forum will be a great opportunity to share ideas on how libraries can best serve this population!


Jeff Kempe, Chair 2011-2012

Library Services to the Spanish Speaking

The RSS Services to the Spanish Speaking committee designed and conducted a survey of librarians from all types of libraries working with Spanish-speaking patrons. The survey received almost 100 responses. The committee was contacted by the REFORMA Newsletter editors to submit an article summarizing survey results. The article will be published in the Winter/Fall issue. The committee will hold a virtual meeting in January to continue planning for a discussion forum and at the 2012 ALA Annual to share and discuss survey results. For more information and full survey results please visit the committee’s ALA website.

Gabriel J. Duque, Chair 2011-2012

Management of Reference Committee

The Management of Reference Committee plans to hold an open discussion during its regular meeting time (Saturday, January 21, 10:30 am-12:00 pm) at ALA Midwinter. We will be addressing two issues:

  1. We will be asking for feedback regarding the draft revision of the Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers.
  2. We would like to hear about the use of Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians, which is due to be revised.

The draft revision of the Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers are currently posted on ALA Connect. Your feedback would be appreciated.

William Weare, Chair 2010-2012

Marketing and Public Relations for Reference

The RSS Marketing & Public Relations Committee has partnered with YALSA to co-sponsor a discussion forum, organized by Joe Thompson, chair of RSS Organization and Planning. The forum centers on the timely topic, “Answering the Young Adult Reference Question—Making Connections that Matter” and will be led by Dr. Marie Radford, of Rutgers University (recently co-authored “Seeking Synchronicity” which is freely available through OCLC. The discussion will explore the dynamics of negotiating reference questions with young adults face-to-face and via various technologies. It is scheduled for Sunday, January 23 at 4:00 to 5:30pm. All ALA attendees are invited! Additionally, our committee will meet virtually on Wednesday, January 18, 1:00-2:30pm (Eastern) for our Midwinter meeting, more information can be found on ALA Connect.

Cathay Crosby, Chair 2011-2012

Organization and Planning (O&P) Committee

RSS O&P met online with RSS Executive Committee on August 11 and Oct. 27. At the October meeting, RSS Execituve Committeess approved the creation of a Young Adult Reference Services Committee that will work in partnership with YALSA. To create an interest group or discussion group within the YALSA division, fifteen signatures of active YALSA members interested in actively participating will be needed. Work on formalizing this relationship will proceed over the fall/winter. Upcoming: O&P will work with Exec to resolve the status of the User Education and Information Literacy Committee and the Services to Adults Committee while it considers the creation of a committee focused on Frontline Reference Instruction. The need for other new committees will be evaluated. O&P members are currently serving on both the RUSA Structure Task Force and the RUSA Web Conferencing Task Force. O&P will not meet face-to-face in Dallas during ALA Midwinter 2012.


Joe Thompson, Chair 2011-2012

Recognition Committee

RSS Service Achievement Award – Nominate someone today!

The Reference and Services Section of RUSA is pleased to solicit nominations for the annual RSS Service Achievement Award. This award, which will be presented at the annual RSS Open House and the RUSA annual awards ceremony, honors an RSS member’s contributions to the section. The recipient will be chosen based on either sustained contributions towards attaining the goals of RSS or a single significant contribution that has resulted in a positive impact upon the work of the section.

To make a nomination please send a letter detailing specifically how the nominee has met either of these criteria to Lori Thornton, the award committee chair, by December 15:

Lori Thornton, Chair 2010-2012

Research and Statistics Committee

The Research and Statistics Committee invites submission of research projects for presentation at the 18th Reference Research Forum at the 2012 American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA. The Reference Research Forum continues to be one of the most popular and valuable programs during the ALA Annual Conference, where attendees can learn about notable research projects conducted in the broad area of reference services such as user behavior, electronic services, reference effectiveness and assessment, and organizational structure and personnel. The deadline for submissions is January 2. Please visit ALA Connect for more information.

Qiana Johnson, Chair 2010-2012

Virtual Reference Services (MARS/RSS)

The proposed program “Are Virtual Reference Services Worth the Effort?” sponsored by the RSS/MARS Virtual Reference Services Committee has been accepted for ALA Annual 2012. A panel of experts will discuss ways to look at return-on-investment and evaluation of virtual reference (VR) services and various methods used to assess their effectiveness. Real-life examples of ways this has already been done will be presented as well. Scheduled panelists represent a cross-section of different libraries and each will share their unique perspective. The committee will be holding a virtual meeting in late December or early January at which it plans to discuss the possibility of conducting an annual online survey to assess the distribution and logistics of virtual reference services in libraries, as well as the logistics behind enhancing the accuracy and visibility of existing virtual reference-related content within online resources like LISWiki and Wikipedia.


Don Boozer, Chair 2011-2012

Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee

The Virtual Reference Tutorial subcommittee established three goals for2011-12. The first is to continue improving the VR Tutorial content for two additional modules this year, and to provide 4 or more modules for user testing. The second is to implement the Tutorial in ALA’s new content delivery tool, based on tool availability. The final goal is to identify ongoing improvements for next year.

The committee meets regularly to discuss content, review modules and update existing Tutorial modules. Drupal use is planned, and feasibility testing will be explored this spring. By ALA Annual, several selected modules should be available for user testing.


Valli Hoski and Jennifer Lau-Bond, Co-Chairs 2011-2012

International Interlibrary Loan

Heather Weltin and Tina Baich presented preliminary results of the International Interlibrary Loan Committee’s 2011 survey on international ILL at the 12th Interlending & Document Supply Conference in September. Weltin and Baich gathered helpful insight into what international ILL practitioners would most like to learn from the survey. In the spring, the committee hopes to write an article for RUSQ with an emphasis on this feedback. The committee is now preparing an executive report providing a complete overview of the data collected and hopes to present the report to the STARS Executive Committee for approval at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Tina Baich, Chair

Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies

The Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies Committee developed a sixty-plus item checklist for libraries to use as a way to reflect on the resource sharing services they provide. The STAR Checklist was distributed beginning in February 2011. A number of libraries have completed it and have qualified as Rethinking Resource Sharing STARS, including seventeen libraries belonging to the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries. They are listed on the Rethinking Resource Sharing website and have received certificates noting their achievement. In addition, a number of libraries in Australia completed the checklist this spring/summer, many of which also qualified as Rethinking Resource Sharing STARS. For more information on Rethinking Resource Sharing, see their website.

At ALA Annual, the committee continued working on the next phase of the STAR Checklist. This involves transforming the checklist from a simple list of items to a dynamic resource. The idea is to link each checklist item to a relevant definition, example, or other resource. Linking practitioners to such information will enable greater understanding of any concept, best practice, technology, or other item mentioned in the checklist that a library may not be engaged in. To this end, the checklist will become a toolkit. A process for moving forward with this was discussed at ALA Annual, and the committee hopes to have completed the process by the end of summer.

Additionally, the committee decided to begin offering STAR recognition for different levels of activity with checklist items. Where before a library needed to be engaged in 80% or more of the items on the checklist, the committee is offering STAR recognition to libraries that are engaged in 60% or more, who will be awarded one star, 70% or more: two stars, 80% or more: three stars, and 90% or more: four stars.

The committee also discussed its role in helping libraries that do not qualify as STARS or are interested in learning more about how to engage in services, best practices, and other items noted on the checklist. Committee members are committed to working with libraries that participate in the checklist, and willing to offer advice and guidance in order to help libraries improve their resource sharing services.

Evan Simpson, Chair

Vendor Relations

The Vendor Relations Committee has been focusing on a few key areas since our meeting at ALA Annual in New Orleans. First, we decided to extend invitations to attend our meetings to providers of resource sharing products and services. We will have John Brunswick from Atlas Systems, Clare MacKeigan from Relais International, and Tony Melvyn from OCLC in attendance at the Midwinter meeting, and we will be attempting to bring in additional members of the vendor community. Another area that the group has focused on over the past year has been the creation of reports on interlibrary loan activity that go beyond the data we have on volume of requests. Toward that end this summer we requested that OCLC create a most frequently requested unfilled titles report. The hope is that this report would be useful for collection development purposes.


Becky Ringwelski

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee

The committee has been working on new issues of the online newsletter, Academic Brass. The Fall 2010 issue has been posted on the BRASS website and articles are being collected for the Spring 2011 issues. Anyone interested in submitting an article should send a proposal to the newsletter editors, Lydia LaFaro ( and Nathan Rupp ( Articles should address current issues, practices, or resources in academic business libraries. See the Newsletter Description and Guidelines for additional information.

In addition, we are reviewing the committee web site for areas to update and making plans for a research project on business databases licensed by the business school rather than the campus library.

Lydia LaFaro, 2009-2011 Chair

BRASS Education Committee

The RUSA-BRASS Education Committee is hosting a preconference during the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans on Friday, June 24, 2011 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Business Reference 101: Core Competencies for Business Librarianship is a full-day interactive workshop designed for new business librarians, generalists who have assumed responsibility in business librarianship, and librarians who handle business reference inquiries in all types of libraries including academic, public, and special libraries.

The ‘Best of the BestBusiness Websites (Free Resources) and the Selected Core Resource for Business Reference are now available in LibGuide format and can be accessed at

Our committee participated in the RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony during ALA Midwinter in San Diego and presented this year’s winners of the Best of the Best Business Websites. Our committee decided to recognized websites that provide important and critical information on employment and housing. The winners are:

U.S. Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics

The Data tools section provides access to new NAICS-based Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) Online by state, county and sub-county; industry, year and quarter; sex, age group and ownership; net job gains and losses from the fourth quarter of 2007 to present. It also includes mapping applications. Industry Focus determines top industries by state, county, MSA, and characteristics of employees in those industries.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal statistical agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision–making. Includes Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET.

National Home Builders Association

This site provides a wealth of information on building buying and owning a home as well as remodeling, green building, and land development. It also provides links to data and statistics on construction, home sales, housing opportunities, housing’s economic impact, etc.

Please visit our ALAConnect page for more information about the BRASS Education committee.

Leticia Camacho, 2010-2011 Chair

BRASS Nominating Committee

The committee is pleased to announce BRASS Candidates for the March 2011 elections:

For Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect (2011/2012 as Vice-Chair, 2012/2013 as Chair)

●      Greg Fleming
●      Ann Fiegen

For Member at Large (2011/2014 term)

●      Louise Feldman
●      Diane Campbell

Thanks to all of our outstanding candidates for being willing to serve!

Judith Faust, 2010-2011 Chair

BRASS Conference Program Planning Committee

Social media is changing how the world communicates. This year’s BRASS conference program will focus on how business can successfully target social networking applications and how librarians can better position their reference services and collections to assist business users with this exciting new medium. Please mark Monday morning, June 27 on your calendars for the BRASS Program in New Orleans where you will hear from leading technology commentator Stephen Abram and Laurie Bridges of Oregon State University describe the principles and applications of the business of social media. Other leaders in social media businesses will add their perspective.

Ann Fiegen, 2010-2011 Chair

BRASS Publications Committee

In order to meet its new charge of keeping the BRASS web presence up-to-date and accurate, the committee has organized into teams of two members, with each team responsible for overseeing a particular section of the BRASS pages:

●     BRASS Awards– Louise Feldmann; Shana Gass

●     BRASSOur Section – Naomi Hafter; Kate Joranson

●     BRASS Events – Charles Lyons; Jill Markgraf

●     BRASS Professional  Tools – Monica Hagan; Robert Perrett

●     BRASSPublications – Kaiping Zhang; Carol Smith

●     BRASS main page – Hyun-duck Chung (BRASS Webmaster)

Please know that you may be hearing from the above committee members, as they will be reaching out to other BRASS committees with questions and suggestions about web content. Consider them your BRASS “webpage liaisons.”

If you have any web page updates to submit, please submit them via email to both BRASS Webmaster Hyun-Duck Chung ( and myself ( You can also submit your updates and suggestions to the above liaisons as appropriate.

The Committee kicked off 2011 with a comprehensive review of all BRASS pages. They met virtually on Wednesday, January 19 via Adobe Connect to share and discuss their findings. We have many page updates and corrections to make, but we ask that BRASS members be patient. The current Collage content management system for the ALA web site is a legacy system that is inefficient, slow (!), and increasingly incompatible with current operating systems. ALA is moving as quickly as possible to transition the association to Drupal, a superior and more user-friendly content management system. We hope to see this transition completed before the end of the year.

As always, the committee encourages you to submit your publications to the BRASS Member Publication List. This list is maintained on ALA Connect as a way to showcase our members’ publication activities and serve as a valuable resource for all BRASS members.

Carol Smith, 2010-2011 chair

BRASS Gale Cengage Student Travel Award Committee

Several nominations have been received for the BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award. The Committee will be reviewing the nominations in February to determine a winner. The award will provide funding for travel to and attend of the ALA Annual Conference and a one-year membership in the Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) of RUSA.

Doreen Harwood, 2010-2011 Chair

Committee Reports

Reader’s Advisory

The Reader’s Advisory is interested in running a survey in 2011 to gather more data about academic readers’ advisory service.

Collection Development Planning and Assessment

Collection Development Planning and Assessment will be discussing program for 2012 on e-book assessment panel featuring representatives from both large and small academic and public library systems.


CODES has a Facebook page: Friends and Content are welcome!

Committee Reports and Announcements

The Virtual Reference Discussion Group (VRDG) held an exciting session at the 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Discussion topic: “Embedded by Hashtag: Using Twitter to Provide Real-Time Reference and Instruction”


Ellen Filgo, E-learning Librarian at Baylor University Libraries opened the session with a presentation on her experiences as a virtually embedded librarian in the Fall 2009 and Fall 2010 offerings of Gardner Campbell’s Introduction to New Media Studies course. She described how she used Twitter to answer reference questions posed during each week’s live class session.

Group Discussion:

Following Ellen’s presentation, the forty-seven attendees spread across seven tables to discuss Ellen’s approach, additional opportunities for using social media to deliver reference services, and other topics of interest to them relating to virtual reference. Table notes collected at the end of the session revealed several common themes in these discussions related to the presentation:

●     Participants were excited about some of the advantages of Twitter-based reference. These include: (1) the ability of class participants to participate in a back-channel discussion (2) the opportunity to continue the discussion outside the class period; (3) the use of a hashtag to see and participate in related discussions; (4) Twitter’s 140 character limit encourages creativity, and resource sharing; (5) by using url-shorteners (e.g., librarians can promote library resources by linking to archival resources, ebooks, catalog records, and databases; (6) the opportunity it presented for librarians to do just-in-time reference and/or instruction.

●     Several tables wondered whether using Twitter as a real-time back channel might distract students and prevent them from fully attending the in-person lecture or discussions. When this question was addressed to Ellen, she read an e-mail from Dr. Campbell, who has himself been asked the same thing many times. His e-mail revealed that he has seen the back-channel help students to become more, not less engaged.

●     While attendees recognized the value of contributing to discussion through Twitter, many expressed concern about the amount of time this would require. When these concerns were addressed to Ellen, she said that it is an approach that should be considered one tool that might be helpful in specific classes, and it could not logistically become a cornerstone of virtual reference service. It was suggested that it might be helpful for distance learning and online classes. Edmodo was suggested as a type of twitter for classes, i.e. not public.

Amanda Clay Powers, MARS VRDG Chair