From the President

For many of us, the fall is the start of a new year: a new academic year for ourselves or our children, a post-vacation or post-summer-reading-program year, and the start of a new RUSA year. We have new committees, new programs, new online learning opportunities, newly elected leaders, and new initiatives. In many ways, one season blends into the next and one year becomes another without much fuss. Certainly there are continuing initiatives in RUSA, but I’ll give you a look at some of what is new.

Tuesdays from 2:00-3:00 PM Central, I will hold an “open office hour” in Adobe Connect. As President, one of my goals is to make it easier to work with RUSA and easier to be a part of everything that we have going on. Look for the link to the Adobe Connect room to be announced on the RUSA-L listserv* and the RUSA Facebook page and website. I will also be available during this time via telephone 649-9174 (area code 217). You can, of course, email me or call at other times, but 2:00-3:00 on Tuesdays I am dedicated to your questions and your ideas. I will be joined selected weeks by a member of the RUSA office who can also answer your RUSA questions and we will announce in advance who will be present

IAmRUSA is a new interactive member-of-the-week being worked on by Kirk MacLeod, RUSA Spectrum scholar along with two or three fabulous RUSA mentors. Each week one member, or person of interest to RUSA such as a RUSA award-winning author, will present a brief profile on ALA Communities and then field questions about her job. ALA Communities allows a threaded discussion, so people will be able to post questions, receive responses, and engage in asynchronous conversations with the profiled member and each other. ALA Communities requires registration but is free, so this will be a good way to reach non-RUSA members and library school students to spread the word about the meaningful—and often fun—work of user services and reference librarians and staff. If you are interested in helping to organize IAmRUSA or in being a member of the week, please contact MacLeod at (

More online learning! This past year RUSA sections and members were active with offering webinars and online courses. We offered five webinars and eighteen online courses reaching over 500 learners. Our members (and non-members) are eager for opportunities to learn from RUSA’s experts and we are increasing our online learning offerings. This past year was our first foray into the 1-1.5-hour webinar format and there interest in adding more topics. Our four-week courses continue to be strongly attended as well with many offered additional times due to continuing demand. We have an open-call for webinars for the fall and online courses for the spring (deadline for both is September 1.) See the list of the currently scheduled (more to come!) webinars and courses.

RUSA was awarded a Sparks! Ignition grant from IMLS for the project: National Guidelines and Best Practices for Financial Literacy Education (FLE). This work will be carried out by BRASS (Business Reference and Services Section). This initiative dovetails nicely with the existing SmartInvesting@YourLibrary grant from the FINRA foundation and addresses a very timely topic in the lives of our library users. Congratulations to RUSA and BRASS!


This year we moved to the Adobe Connect platform for our online meetings and webinars. This is not to be confused with the ALA Connect platform for asynchronous communications and committee documents. (Sort of like journals with similar names, there ought to be a rule against naming products this closely!) Virtual and between-conference committee meetings can be held in Connect or via conference call. Here is how to arrange a meeting online or via conference call. ALA is using the Adobe Connect platform so the move takes advantage of pricing and support offered by ALA.


Leadership development is something that we all need in our careers. RUSA recognizes the need for growth at all levels of your career. To start, we are focusing on early to mid-career librarians who are active RUSA volunteers. After we have developed within this scope, RUSA will expand the foci and reach to new librarians, later-career librarians, and all of RUSA membership. Gary White, RUSA past-President, is leading this initiative. Connect with Gary White ( if you are interested in volunteer to help work on this program of activities, if you have ideas on content that we should offer, or are an experienced librarian/committee chair who would like to provide mentorship or online leadership training to newer leaders. My fall RUSQ column also focuses on Leadership Development and Mentoring with tips on being a mentor and on being a mentee.

Every year brings new leadership within RUSA. Here are the elected RUSA and Section officers for this year. Newly elected Vice-President Joe Thompson and Secretary Erin Rushton and newly elected Directors-at-Large Margaret Ellingson and Louise Feldmann. Continuing on the Executive Committee are Jennifer Boettcher, RUSA Councilor, and Mary Popp, RUSA Past-President. On the RUSA Board Cynthia Levine, Celia Ross, Doris Anne Sweet, and Patrick Wall, are Directors-at-Large. The 2013-2014 RUSA Board of Directors also includes section chairs: Andy Spackman (BRASS), Asia Gross (CODES), Michelle Baildon (History), Sam Stormont (MARS), Ann K. G. Brown (RSS), and Nora Dethloff (STARS). Congratulations, too, to the new section Vice-Chairs/Chairs Elect: Todd Hines (BRASS), Deborah Abston (CODES), Jenny Presnell (HS), Stephanie J. Graves (MARS-ETS), Qiana Johnson (RSS), Christina “Tina” Baich (STARS).

Annual 2013 in Chicago was a whirlwind of RUSA activities, far too many to mention them all. The RUSA President’s program was attended by over 650 people and featured Lee Raine from the Pew Internet Trust and was followed-up the next day with an expert panel. Watch and listen online if you missed this program. We hope in the future to be able to capture more sessions for later viewing and are working with ALA Conference Services. For a full list of RUSA programs and events at Annual 2013, see the ALA Scheduler, links to program slides and handouts may be available in the comments section at the end of the program description.

As with the Academy Awards, there are so many people to thank. This is also a list of people that you might want to get to know, if you don’t already, as they know a lot about RUSA and libraries.

  • Thank you to Mary Popp, outgoing RUSA President (now Past-President), Gary White, Past President, and Carolyn Larson, Secretary, for being people who offer good counsel and get things done.
  • Thank you to the outgoing members of the RUSA Board of Directors: Chris LeBeau (BRASS), Dianna McKellar (MARS), Alesia McManus (Director at Large), Amber Prentiss (Director at Large), Janice Schultz (History), Liane Taylor (RSS), Barry Trott (Past President), and Heather Weltin (STARS).
  • Thank you to every volunteer in every part of RUSA! RUSA does nothing without you.
  • Thanks to the RUSA office for supporting the work of RUSA: Executive Director, Susan Hornung; Andrea Hill, web services manager; Liz Markel, marketing and programs manager; and Leighann Wood, membership assistant.
  • Thanks to Barry Trott for successfully moving Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) to online-only and a great first-year as editor of our esteemed journal.
  • Thank you, Liane Taylor, for your hard work in supporting Blackboard Collaborate for online meetings and webinars and for helping us with the transition to Adobe Connect.
  • And thank you to all of the RUSA members who support what we do through their membership and their attendance at RUSA events at conference and online.

Making it (even) easier to volunteer Members are what make RUSA work. It is trite, but true. Our programs, our webinars, our courses, our guidelines, our awards, our social functions: everything is based on member ideas and member work. Sometimes, though, people don’t have the ability to volunteer for an entire year of committee work. And sometimes we don’t have room on the committees for all of the volunteers, since a too-large committee is unwieldy. We are working with RUSA Office and some of the committees on short-term and micro-volunteer opportunities. Look for the announcements about those on RUSA-L. The RUSA Legislative Assembly Reps have already launched a call for volunteers to help with advocacy for legislative issues. If you did not see that call but have a passion around in legislation that affects libraries, please contact Alesia McManus at

Anyone can have a good idea, share yours! A lot of what we do comes from committees and sections, but RUSA also serves members who are not committee members. I know that many people do not have the time to volunteer or put their volunteer efforts elsewhere. Suggesting an activity or topic area for RUSA doesn’t mean that we will make it your responsibility. So, stop into my weekly Tuesday office hour or send me an email. The email inboxes of the rest of the RUSA Board (named above) are also open.

Have a great year!

M. Kathleen Kern
RUSA President 2013-2014


Let’s get in touch, and get social!
Are you connected? Stay in touch with these RUSA communication tools:

Reference and User Services Quarterly: Accessing the journal
Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), a quarterly benefit of RUSA members, is an all-digital journal available online via Metapress; however, you will need to set up a Metapress account. Complete, detailed instructions for accessing the journal can be found on the RUSA website or visit, then float over the “Communications” button near the top left portion of the page, and scroll down to “RUSQ”. If you run into challenges with journal access, contact for assistance.

Once you’ve accessed the journal, make sure to check out the following content for volume 52, issue 4:

  • The library profession, and RUSA, lost an important member this winter with the death of former RUSQ editor Connie Van Fleet. In the editor’s column in this issue, Connie’s colleagues, students, and teachers remember her and her wide ranging interests.
  • Victoria Caplinger’s column on readers’ advisory (RA) from the cataloger’s perspective should provoke some useful discussion on improving RA services in libraries of all sorts.
  • Other columns and articles explore Google Scholar, the role of the reference desk, and readers’ advisory in academic libraries.

Call for online learning proposals!
Proposals for webinars and online courses are being accepted through September 1! There’s a wide variety of topics. Get the scoop on what we’re looking for, and find links to the submission form here.

MacLeod joins RUSA as Spectrum Scholar intern
RUSA welcomes its Spectrum Scholar, Kirk MacLeod from the University of Alberta! In this role, MacLeod will work with RUSA’s member leaders on various professional and association-related projects, including launching a weekly “I Am A” question-and-answer with a different RUSA member each week and revitalizing the RUSA Ambassadors outreach out to LIS programs. Details here.

Summer Reading: Andrew Carnegie Medals
There are just a few days of summer left to squeeze in some good books, and we think you should make the Andrew Carnegie Medals for fiction and nonfiction part of your lists. This year’s winners are Richard Ford’s Canada (fiction), and Timothy Egan’s Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (nonfiction). Complete winner information is on the RUSA blog.

Student-to-staff: A snapshot of the 2013 ALA Annual Conference experience
Wayne State University MLIS candidate Michelle Scobie, along with fellow library school student Jay Ballenberger of Emporia State University, were a tremendous help in Chicago, providing logistical support at a variety of RUSA events. Read Michelle’s writeup of her experiences on the RUSA blog.

Legislative Issues Task Force
Do you have an interest in legislative issues facing libraries such as funding for libraries, access to research and government information and privacy?

If so, please consider volunteering for a RUSA ad-hoc task force that is charged with 1) identifying legislative issues of concern to RUSA and ways that sections and committees can respond to these concerns, and 2) after identifying issues of concern, making a recommendation to the RUSA Board for further action, including a recommendation for an on-going mechanism for RUSA to stay in touch with legislative issues. The ad-hoc task force will be asked to make a recommendation to the RUSA board by the ALA Annual meeting in 2014.

If you are interested in volunteering for this RUSA ad-hoc task force on legislative issues, please send a statement of interest along with information on your ALA Committee experience to Alesia McManus

RUSA Committees

Just Ask

Just Ask met at ALA Annual to review what had been done since Midwinter in Seattle. The Ask Campaign has been piloted by Cathay Crosby and Julie Strange as a way to promote Maryland’s JustAskNow service. The Ask Campaign is a series of posters with library users holding a question asked at the library, similar to the READ posters. We hope that this project will lead to a national campaign. You can read more about Crosby and Strange’s pilot on ALA Connect and on the JustAskNow page. We are also planning at least one free webinar that will be focused on change and how it can specifically be applied to reference services.

Elizabeth Stephan, Co-Chair
Diana Shonrock, Co-Chair

Message from the Chair


Carol L. Schuetz, Editor


BRASS members:

Please read the committee reports below about the activities and initiatives highlighting the 25 year of BRASS. This all occurs because of volunteer work! It has been an honor to serve with such a dedicated group of librarians. We look forward to more with the new BRASS Chair for 2013-2014 Andy Spackman.

For 25 years BRASS IS…

  • Welcoming new business librarians.
  • Professional growth in the field of business information (how to find it, and how to use it!).
  • Teaching and learning: guiding library users to business resources.
  • Education: preconference, programs, publications, guidelines and listserv advice that are used daily to make choices and decisions that affect our users.
  • Member publishers, database developers and our sponsors who work in conjunction with librarians and libraries to supply tools to enable our users to meet their goals.

The opportunity to learn from the best leaders and to become one.

BRASS IS more than 800 members working everyday in every kind of library.

Ann Fiegen
BRASS Chair 2012-2013

BRASS Committee Reports

BRASS 25th Anniversary Planning Committee
The BRASS 25th Anniversary Dinner was held at Fulton’s-on-the-River in Chicago on Monday, July 1, 2013 with 150 BRASS members attending. Many thanks to the event grand sponsor, Gale Cengage Learning, and to the other sponsors: S&P Capital IQ, ReportLinker, Morningstar, Annual Reviews, EBSCO, Mintel, PrivCo, SimplyMap, Mergent, and Emerald. The event committee chair would also like to thank the planning committee members for their tremendous work putting this event together (Mark Andersen, Bobray Bordelon, Irwin Faye, Michael Oppenheim, and Celia Ross)! Thank you everyone for a great evening!

Louise Feldmann, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee
The Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee met on Saturday, June 29 at McCormick Place. Twenty people were in attendance, ranging from new librarians to veteran business librarians. New business librarian Nicole Spoor took excellent minutes of the meeting.

After welcoming everyone and giving personal introductions, we discussed the following items: possible topics for future BRASS forums, publishing opportunities in the BRASS newsletter, an update on the status of the Core Competencies Task Force and a discussion of our committee’s duties and mission with BRASS executive representative Celia Ross.

Possible topics for future BRASS Forum discussions included local economies, entrepreneurship, business instruction, presentation of award-winning research papers and working with faculty. The purpose of the discussion was to get people thinking about emerging issues in business librarianship and to refine ideas into possible forum topics. Committee chair Charles Allan reminded everyone that the BRASS Newsletter is open to receiving new submissions on varying topics. Participants were urged to submit a brief article.

Charles Allan and several members of the joint BRASS/CUBL Core Competencies Task Force were present and informed the meeting attendees of their work and its current status. The Task Force currently has seven main points and covers material that students should know when they graduate. The competencies might be a bridge between us and AACSB standards (the relationship is too vague and we would like to fix that). The next step in the evolution of the competencies is to survey faculty, students and employers.

Celia Ross came for the last segment of the meeting to get our take on how our committee fits into the BRASS architecture. Members present cited the committee’s attention to addressing a wide variety of issues facing business librarians in universities.

Charles Allan, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee
The Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee hosted a discussion at ALA Annual —Business Programming in Public Libraries. This spirited discussion included business programming ideas and advice from librarians around the country. The feedback for the program was excellent.

The committee met after the program and discussed the forum, state of business reference in our libraries and what’s to come. New Public Libraries Briefcases will be released by the end of the year.

Elizabeth Malafi, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Program Planning Committee
BRASS_1The BRASS Program, “Investment Success! Building & Managing Your Retirement Portfolio,” took place on July 1, 2013 at McCormick Place. Approximately 130 people turned out to hear our two speakers.

Charles Rotblut, Vice President of the American Association for Individual Investors (AAII) and editor of the AAII Journal, titled his presentation, “Smart Investing: Seeking Reward While Reducing Risk.” He emphasized that “the optimal strategy is not one that maximizes return, but rather one that helps you stick to your long-term investing plan and achieve your goals.” He discussed common cognitive errors investors make including loss aversion, overconfidence, confirmation bias, recency bias, and hindsight bias. A chart from an article in the October 2012 AAII Journal shows that the average equity mutual fund investor underperformed a simple buy and hold strategy using a Standard & Poor’s 500 index fund or ETF by more than 4% per year. The reason: individual mutual fund investors “buy high” and “sell low”, i.e., they buy funds that have already gone up in price and sell funds after they have gone down. Mr. Rotblut advises a three step process. 1) Understand the role your mind plays; 2) Use the power of the written word to your advantage by writing down your investment strategy, stating your buy and sell rules; he said that his favorite investing tool is a spiral notebook. 3) Determine your long-term allocation strategy and stick to It.

Jeremy Glaser is the Morningstar Markets Editor. His presentation was titled, “Investing Well at Every Life Stage.” He focused primarily on Pre-Retirees, people in their 50s and 60s, who are strategizing about retirement, and Retirees, people in their 60s and 70s, who are already retired. Pre-retirees should continue to save aggressively for retirement, gradually reduce risk in their portfolio, pay off debt, including “good” debt like mortgage debt if you intend to stay in your home, assess retirement readiness by looking at income needs, withdrawal rates, and portfolio sustainability, develop a Social Security and retirement date strategy, and formulate a long-term care and estate plan. Retirees (60s, 70s, and beyond) should continue to reduce risk in their investment portfolio, segment portfolio by time horizon, liquidate investments in a tax-efficient manner, and regularly revisit their withdrawal rate to make sure it is sustainable.

Audio recordings were made of both presentations. The Powerpoint slides and audio will be made available exclusively to BRASS members for the first six months. Check the BRASS website under the “Presentations” category.

 BRASS_2 Morningstar distributed a free book, Investing for the Long Run: Strategies and Solutions to Help You Shape Up Your Finances. The book contains sound advice for investors of all ages. The book may be freely downloaded as a PDF: .


Peter McKay, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee
The Business Reference Sources Committee (BRSC) met twice online during May and June to discuss nominated titles for the Best Business References Sources. Selecting these titles is one of the major charges of the BRSC. With an abbreviated one hour meeting schedule in Chicago at ALA, the committee decided that we wanted to do this before we met in person in order to give the titles the time and consideration they deserved. The winning titles will be reviewed in the winter edition of the RUSQ and also announced at the Midwinter Book and Media Awards Reception in Philadelphia on Sunday, January 26, 2014. Many thanks to Ed Hahn, Nominating Coordinator, for his work in getting titles nominated and then leading the online meetings to determine which titles would be selected. Thanks also go to Becky Smith, Column Editor, who will be compiling the reviews of the winning titles and submitting the column to RUSQ for publication. Finally thanks to the committee as a whole for their efforts in nominating and discussing the titles and then reviewing those selected for the column.

The BRSC also sponsors the Publishers’ Forum at ALA each year. This year forum was titled, “Finding Business Information in a Googlized World: The Future of Business Research and Discovery Layers.” This was a timely topic, focusing on the impact of discovery services on locating business information and data. This is especially important since most of the discovery platforms tend to be focused on articles and do not pulling out the types of data that business researchers seek. Our speakers included Gilad Gal, Director of Product Management for Discovery and Delivery Solutions Ex Libris Ltd.; John Law, Vice President of Discovery Solutions, ProQuest/Serials Solutions; Sam Brooks, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, EBSCO Publishing; and Suzanne Kemperman, Director, Business Development & Publisher Relations, OCLC. We had approximately eighty persons in attendance and the evaluations returned after the session were quite positive. Thanks in particular go to Penny Scott who chaired the Forum sub-committee, as well as the other committee members who made it the success it was.

Susan Hurst, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Discussion Group Committee
The BRASS Discussion Group hosted their annual discussion at the ALA annual conference in Chicago on Sunday, June 30, 2013. The discussion kicked-off with outgoing BRASS Chair Ann Fiegen hosting the annual BRASS membership meeting. After the membership meeting Kelly Janousek led a short discussion about what online conference software members were using and what were the strengths and weaknesses. This was followed by a call to follow and use the #bizref for BRASS related tweets.

The two scheduled areas for discussion were: 1) increasing significance of commercialization on campuses; 2) tools for finding information about online businesses. The commercialization efforts have been occurring primarily on large research campuses and smaller institutions haven’t been affected by this trend. Among the larger institutions there has been limited cooperation between the commercialization groups and libraries. While there has been limited cooperation between libraries and the campus commercialization groups, the majority of the interactions that libraries have in the process has occurred early on with the researchers.

The conversation about online business research focused on different tools that are available for free and on a subscription basis. A list of resources is being compiled in a Google Doc.

In June, there was the first open online discussion forum hosted by the discussion group and facilitated by Kelly Janousek and Jason Dewland. The first half of the discussion focused on how libraries are working with entrepreneurs. The second part of the discussion was about big data and the different areas librarians and researchers are finding it and tools to manage it. The final 10 minutes was a review of the changes made by Harvard Business Review. A recording of the discussion can be found here.

In the fall, the BRASS discussion group will host additional two to four online discussions. Dates, times, and topics are to be determined.

Jason Dewland, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Education Committee
The BRASS Education Committee is happy to report that the 2013 BRASS Preconference, “Business Reference 101: Core Competencies for Business Librarianship” was a success. Forty-five librarians from academic, public, and special libraries across the nation attended this preconference at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago on June 28, 2013. Chris LeBeau from the University of Missouri-Kansas-City and Rhonda Kleiman from the Library System of Lancaster County discussed core resources for business reference; Leticia Camacho from Brigham Young University covered selecting and evaluating business resources; and Jared Howland, also from Brigham Young University, addressed licensing of business electronic resources. On behalf of the organizers, I’d like to thank our presenters for volunteering countless hours and keeping the audience engaged. Next year’s preconference will be on supporting entrepreneurs.

On Saturday, June 29th, we held our annual Education Committee meeting for the first time in the new 4:30-5:30 PM slot. We said goodbye to John Juricek from University of Southern California and Mary Martin from Claremont Colleges whose term ended, as well as Chad Boeninger who left to chair the BRASS Publications Committee. Thank you all for your service! We were also excited to welcome incoming members who were able to attend our meeting: Tom Ottaviano from Cornell, Christina Sheley from Indiana University, and Hiromi Kubo from California State University, Fresno.

The BRASS Education Committee worked hard on recruiting presenters for the RUSA webinars. Thanks to Peter McKay, Jennifer Boettcher will be offering a free online webinar on industry research this fall. If you missed last year’s preconference, “MBA (Mastering Business Acumen) in a Day,” Elisabeth Leonard will be presenting a webinar on Management, Chris LeBeau on Finance, Todd Hines on Accounting, and Andy Spackman on Marketing. Keep an eye out for announcements!
We are looking forward to a busy year ahead of us. One of the major projects we’ll be working on is creating a new set of BRASS LibGuides which combines both the Best of the Best Business Websites and Selected Core Resources. Another important project is fleshing out Business Reference Essentials LibGuide which will serve as a start-up guide for a new business librarian and refresher for the rest of us.

photo caption: Chris LeBeau is discussing core business resources

Natasha Arguello, 2012-2013 Chair
University of Texas at San Antonio



BRASS Membership Committee
Don’t you LIKE us? Please become a “friend” of BRASS Facebook page. See pictures and events. Committee chairs this is your opportunity to publicize your events and previews of your speakers. You can LIKE US Facebook.

Kelly Janousek, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Vendor Relations Committee
The BRASS Vendor Relations Committee had a very successful year. Close to $30,000 was raised for the BRASS 25th Anniversary event. The Committee also received approval at Annual to explore the possibility of developing a “Virtual Expo” site which would serve as a clearinghouse of sorts for BRASS members to explore various business database vendors. Thanks go to committee members Paul Brothers and Lydia LaFaro for all of their great work and welcome to Chris LeBeau who will be serving as the new Chair!

Celia Ross, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Publications and Communications Committee
The BRASS Publications and Communications Committee met at ALA Annual, discussing several projects for the coming year. First, a representative from the BRASS Section Review Committee covered some of the basic questions and procedures the committee will undertake this year in the committee review process. We then heard reports from several of our members on their specific areas of responsibility. We spent considerable time discussing a variety of plans and possibilities for a revision and restructuring of the BRASS Web site. We hope to contact representatives of a number of BRASS committees to obtain input and suggestions for these revisions. We also decided, due to positive reaction, to continue producing the BRASS Events Schedule to help our members keep up with BRASS-related activities at ALA Annual. Finally, we met incoming chair of BRASS Andy Spackman, and incoming chair of the Publications and Communications Committee Chad Boeninger, and we look forward to working with both of them this year.

John Gottfried, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Section Review Committee
This is the year for the review/evaluation of the committees that comprise the BRASS section of RUSA. If you are a committee chair, you should soon be contacted by a BRASS member asking permission to be included on the agenda of your committee’s meeting at the ALA annual conference in June. More information to follow soon. Thank you in advance.

Paul Brothers, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award Committee
Salvatore DiVincenzo was recognized at this year’s RUSA Awards reception as the recipient of the Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award. DiVincenzo is the business librarian at Middle Country Public Library in Long Island, New York. The award, sponsored by Morningstar, offers $1,000 in travel funds for ALA’s Annual Conference to a business librarian from a public library.

Congratulations, Salvatore!

Melissa Jeter, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Excellence in Business Librarianship Award Committee
Michael R. Oppenheim was recognized at the RUSA Awards ceremony during the ALA Annual conference in Chicago as the 2013 recipient of the Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Business Librarianship. This award ($3,000 and a citation) is for his outstanding contributions to the field of business librarianship. Quoting from the citation: “Through publication, service in professional organizations, mentoring, and sharing of subject expertise, Michael has contributed significantly to the professional growth of colleagues throughout their careers”.

Michael R. Oppenheim is the business librarian’s librarian—as an author, officer, mentor, and expert.

Congratulations, Michael!

We thank Gale Cengage Learning for the generous support of this award.

The committee members: Mark Andersen; Karen J. Chapman; Patricia E. Kenly

Patricia Kenly, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award Committee
Kelly LaVoice, graduate student of Library and Information Science at Rutgers University and current business librarian intern at the University of Pennsylvania’s Lippincott Business Library, was recognized at the RUSA Award reception as the 2013 BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award recipient. The award, sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning and the BRASS, offers $1,000 and a one year membership to BRASS to an outstanding MLIS student to fund travel to the ALA Annual Conference.

Todd M. Hines, 2012-2013 Chair


BRASS Business Expert Press Award Committee
Annette Buckley, Business Research Librarian at UC-Irvine and this year’s recipient of the Business Expert Press Award, was recognized at the RUSA Awards reception at ALA Annual. The award, sponsored by Business Expert Press, is given to a librarian who is new to the field of academic business librarianship, in order to support his or her attendance to the ALA Annual Conference. Congratulations to Annette who also serves as our BRASS Webmaster—A BIG THANK you from your BRASS colleagues!

Paul Brothers, 2012-2013 Chair


BRASS Emerald Research Award Committee
Jennifer Boettcher, Business and Economics Reference Librarian at Georgetown University Library, was the recipient of this year’s Emerald Research Award and was recognized at the RUSA Awards reception. The award is sponsored by Emerald Group Publishing and is for for ALA members seeking support in conducting research in business librarianship. Jennifer’s research interests are in government sources and industry research.

Congratulations, Jennifer!

Christy Goodnight, 2012-2013 chair
Mark your calendars for …..BRASS 2014 PROGRAM
Mad Men: The Business of Advertising, Monday, June 30, 2014; 8:30-10:00 AM

Many companies spend millions on advertising their brands and products, yet the data can be hard to find. Specialized sources, available at many large libraries, focus on these statistics. The information they contain can be used by business students, researchers, or the general public. In addition, media planning, a component of a company’s marketing plan, will be covered. Entrepreneurs need information on placing ads (and on how much it costs); reference librarians assisting these users will also find the content of the program very useful.

Speakers: Wendy Diamond, Business and Economics Librarian at California State University, Chico. Ms. Diamond has been a featured speaker at two prior BRASS annual programs (2001 and 2008) on marketing. She is the co-author of Marketing Information: A Strategic Guide for Business and Finance Libraries (2004).

The other speaker will be either from an advertising agency in Las Vegas—about what their clients (ad buyers) need, or a professor from UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration.

Patricia Kenly, 2013-2014 Chair



Barry Trott, Editor


Mary Parker, CODES past-chair, will be serving as acting CODES chair through the early fall. Please direct any questions about CODES committees or volunteering to Mary Parker at

The CODES Readers’ Advisory committee has been hosting email forums, entitled CODES Conversations, modeled after the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) email events. The committee plans to offer CODES Conversations three times a year. The first conversation gathered close to 250 participants and over 400 participated in the second. These are free, two-day conversations. Discussions were lively, wide-ranging, and involved librarians from the U.S. and abroad. The events were very well received.

Chairperson Bill McHugh successfully shepherded a proposal from the Reference Publishing Advisory Committee for one of the free RUSA webinar slots through the approval process. The proposed webinar will be based on the CODES discussion forum held at Midwinter 2013 in Seattle, “Are Users Finding Our Online Reference Resources?” The four speakers at that forum have agreed to take part in the webinar.

The RSS Education and Professional Development for Reference Committee has been working with CODES Reference Publishing Advisory Committee on this project; thank you RSS!

Daniel Mack will be the CODES representative on the RUSA Ad Hoc Committee to revise Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians. Mack is the Interim Director of Collection Management & Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Maryland.


Laura O’Neill Hibbler, Editor


At ALA Annual, the RUSA History Section program “Library Engagement in National History Day Activities” featured a diverse panel of speakers: Crystal Johnson, Chicago Metro History Education Center; Gail Egbers, Pacific Lutheran University; Jennifer Hootman, Minitex, University of Minnesota; and Kris Maldre, National Archives and Records Administration. Attendees learned of creative and innovative ways for libraries of various types engage with students participating in National History Day competitions. Among the attendees there were a number of individuals interested in implementing programs at their institutions and creating relationships with their local schools. The four panelists offered great ideas for creating programs as well as enhancing existing programs. Our attendance was a small but enthusiastic thirty which we feel is pretty good considering we were competing against vendor breakfasts and Temple Grandin.

The History Section Program, “Digital History: New Methodologies Facilitated by New Technologies” sponsored by the Instruction and Research Services Committee, was held on June 30 at the McCormick Place in Chicago. The program was well attended and very well received. Speakers included Dr. Michael Kramer and Josh Honn both from Northwestern University and also Dr. Anne Flannery and Adam Strohm both from the Newberry Library. The program included discussion of digital tools available and how to use them, strides in using digital source materials and how to incorporate the new digital methodologies in the library and/or classroom.

The Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group’s conversation was kicked off by Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, which is hosted by the University of Chicago. Tamar presented on the innovative ways the consortium has worked with the community to preserve important pieces of local history that are too often overlooked by traditional repositories. There were a number of questions at the end of her presentation as well as informal discussions throughout the room after she concluded. Over fifty people attended the discussion group.

The Genealogical Preconference “Behind the Genealogy Reference Desk: Chicago Style Genealogy” had about eighty attendees at the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library on June 28. Matt Rutherford from the Newberry Library spoke on “—Discover the Past by Address.” Curt B. Witcher of the Allen County Library System gave a wonderful account of early American history resources in “And the Rockets’ Red Glare: Sources for War of 1812 Research.” Elissa Scalise Powell, from Boston University and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, presented on “Genealogical Education Opportunities.” Chip Nilges from OCLC WorldCat and Michael J. Hall from FamilySearch discussed “OCLC WorldCat and FamilySearch; how the recent partnership can enhance the research experience from the Beginner to the Expert.” Sandy Joseph closed the preconference with “Beginning African American Research on Family Search.” All of the presenters gave a great account of themselves, and provided much needed information to the attending librarians. ProQuest provided an outstanding lunch with a presentation by William Forsyth of ProQuest.

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

Cathy Larson, Editor

Join the discussion at

RUSA MARS Best Free Web sites

While the MARS Best Free Reference Web sites did not meet at annual, they did work on the following:

MARS Best Free Reference Website Committee

  • 26 sites selected (from 70 nominated)
  • all selected sites have been notified that they were selected as one of the 2013 “Best Free Reference Websites”
  • RUSA/MARS web pages have been updated for 2013
  • text has been sent off to Barry for Fall RUSQ

View the 2013 winners:

And the combined list has also been updated:

Donna Scanlon

MARS Conference Program Planning Committee

After the award presentation, the committee hosted / facilitated a program titled, “Usability, the User Experience & Interface Design: The Role of Reference.” Each presenter discussed how their institutions have implemented innovative changes to their user interface and addressed the role of usability testing, data mining, and other research methods in their decision process.

Audience members had an opportunity to submit questions to the panelists as well as time to speak with the panelists directly following the program.

The program was a success with a nearly full room, especially considering the popular concurrent sessions with which it competed. Our best guess is that the room would accommodate approximately 400-425 people and we were at least 70% filled which put attendance at approximately 280-300 attendees.

Donna Scanlon
Chair, Conference Program Planning Committee, 2012-2013

MARS Professional Development Committee

MARS Professional Development Committee (PD) held several virtual meeting between Midwinter and Annual, at we reviewed our progress at Annual.

The role of PD in training and facilitating webinar proposals is no longer relevant since RUSA now has assigned staff for the new Adobe Connect software. Nor is MARS PD active in soliciting and reviewing webinar proposals since these now go through RUSA submission and review process by the RUSA Professional Development Committee. PD will be updating our website to reflect these changes. We are still interested in collaborating with other MARS committees in planning professional development workshops or webinars. Some of the ideas proposed included:

  • Reference statistics software (this is scheduled to be a webinar for Fall 2013 and may involve MARS PD members)
  • Best practices in reference/technology areas
  • Collaboration with Hot Topics
  • Regional half-day professional development activities. Could we organize regional groups to meet in different cities/areas on a specific topic? Could be difficult to implement, but perhaps would draw in local people to learn from each other.
  • Template for how to plan a professional development event.
  • Ideas from state library associations

​Joint RSS and MARS Midwinter Workshop: While the Midwinter Workshop in Seattle was a great success; RSS STARS will not be able to share space at Midwinter in Philadelphia. To date, we have been unable to secure space or content for a joint RSS and MARS workshop. There is a working group of RSS and MARS members still interested in developing a topic and locating a space. If planning does move forward by the working group, members of the MARS Professional Development Committee can be available to facilitate a free workshop.

Van Houlson
Co-Chair, Professional Development Committee, 2012-2013

Virtual Reference Discussion Coordinating Committee

The committee hosted and facilitated a discussion forum on the topic of virtual reference (VR). In response to feedback about the Midwinter discussion forum, at which we piloted a one-hour time slot, we eliminated kick-off speakers and devoted the entire time slot to small- and large-group discussion. Planning Committee member, Beth Boatwright (nee Overhauser) presented questions to guide discussion. These questions pertained to: VR platforms, staffing, assessment, best practices, marketing, emerging technologies, and the impacts of broader trends such as MOOCs. After a brief introduction by Boatwright, the thirty-five attendees engaged in small group discussions for approximately thirty minutes. And following that, we had approximately fifteen minutes in which each table reported the two or three most interesting things discussed at their table. The event was a success, especially considering the popular concurrent sessions with which it competed as well as its location outside of the conference center.

Jessica Sender will be taking over as chair for the 2013/14 year. Please contact her ( or Sam Stormont ( if you are interested in joining our committee. Virtual participation is possible for planning the forums. We will need some members to be able to attend each conference to assist with onsite discussion facilitation.

Julie A Piacentine
Chair, Virtual Reference Discussion Coordinating Committee, 2012-2013

MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Committee

The partnership with the RSS Marketing and Public Relations Committee for the Slam the Board series (webinar: May 2013; “Slamming”: June 10; in-person discussion forum: June 2013 @ Annual) was a success. The participants were treated to both background on the Slam the Boards initiative itself and also practical ideas on marketing reference services for their own institutions.

The partnership with the RSS Evaluation of Reference and User Services (ERUS) Committee is on going. The ad hoc virtual reference survey team presented a preliminary draft at our committee’s meeting at Annual. They are planning to continue to revise it (and the draft was also shared with incoming MARS chair, Sam Stormont).

The informal drop-in Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was held in the Networking Uncommons area of the McCormick Place from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM on Sunday at Annual. Although only fourteen people stopped by, there was a lively discussion on Wikipedia’s potential uses by libraries as a tool to provide access to resources and to promote libraries’ collections. One participant shared the article (Honan-Allston Branch of Boston Public Library) she created from scratch as a library school student (including photos she took). One participant who had never edited Wikipedia articles signed up for an account and edited her first article during the Edit-a-thon. Additionally, during the Joint RSS/MARS Executive Committee Meeting, attendees were intrigued by the idea of the Edit-a-thon and discussed ways something similar could be incorporated into section activities in the future.

Also at Annual, outgoing RSS Co-Chair, Don Boozer, introduced in-coming RSS Co-Chair, Cathay Crosby, who most recently was Chair of the RSS Marketing and Public Relations for Reference Committee. Crosby and Alisa Gonzalez (MARS Co-chair) will chair the committee beginning directly after ALA Annual 2013.

Alisa Gonzalez
Co-Chair, MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Committee, 2012-2014

Message from the Chair


Amy Rustic,Editor





Hello RSS Members!

I’m so excited to start my year as chair of this exciting section. It was great seeing so many of you in Chicago, especially at our Open House, featuring breakfast from EBSCO and our second annual Trivia Contest put together by the fantastic Marjorie Lear. And thank you to Sarah Hammill, our outgoing chair, for her fantastic leadership and can do attitude!

I do have one thing to shout to the rooftops: Young Adult Reference Services (YARS) is a brand new joint committee with Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)! We look forward to expanding this new cross-division committee a success. Thank you to Joe Thompson (Chair-Elect of RUSA and former Chair of RSS) and Sarah Hammill for seeing this through for us!

For the coming year, I want us to do all that we can to market our section. In this day and age, anything we can do to provide our members with quality programming, webinars, and value is the best goal we can have. One thing you can do is become a fan of RSS on Facebook! Check us out here: We post periodic updates, members of the quarter, and if you won ANYTHING at the Open House in Chicago—your picture is already up there!

Welcome to all our new members and congratulations our newly elected leaders: Qiana Johnson, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, and Don Boozer, Member-at-Large. I look forward to working with all of you in the next year!

Remember the code of the Reference Librarian—if you have any questions—ASK!


Ann Brown
RSS Chair, 2013-2014

RSS Committee Reports

Catalog Use Committee
A new committee name and updated charge will be proposed at the next RSS Board meeting. The Catalog Use Committee will continue to update a bibliography of materials on the current and future state of the library catalog available at

Colleen Seale, Chair 2013-2014 

Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee
The Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee sponsored two exciting Forums at Annual. “Keeping it Real in a Virtual World: Managing and Promoting Your Online Reference Collection,” was facilitated by Sara Memmott from Eastern Michigan University, and April Levy from Columbia College Chicago. The eleven attendees were from a variety of types of libraries, including academic, community college, and public libraries, plus there was one non-librarian in attendance. Discussions took place in small groups, with ideas reported back to the entire group. Suggestions included: correlating recommended reference sources with events in the news, for more information, via Twitter and Facebook; featuring a “highlighted” reference resource or tool on the library’s home page; QR codes in the stacks to connect users with online resources that relate to those in print (or those recently removed and sent to storage); building on the QR codes idea, having librarians assisting users model the behavior we want to encourage by taking a smartphone or iPad/similar device to the stacks and using it to connect to and demonstrate an online resource; and using infographics to share/summarize information for users (resources available, cost of subscriptions, etc.).

Our second Forum, “Technology Competencies for Reference Librarians,” facilitated by Tina Chan from the State University of New York at Oswego, had a total of twenty-one attendees from academic, public, school, and other libraries. The very lively discussion touched on topics including what to look for in interviewees, how changing technology affects staff, what should go into a staff manual, and whether resistance to change is age-related.

The Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee did not meet at ALA Annual 2013. The committee’s meeting for Annual was conducted via email in May when the winning forum proposals for the conference were chosen.

Crystal Lentz, Chair 2013-2014

Education and Professional Development for Reference
The RSS Education and Professional Development for Reference Committee is co-sponsoring a webinar on promoting reference products. The webinar is organized by the Reference Publishing Advisory Committee of the Collection Development and Evaluation Section in RUSA. The webinar will be held before the end of the year; look out for further announcement on this online event and other professional development opportunities related to reference service. The committee will commence our data gathering phase on assessing the state of reference education in the next few months. We are in the process of finalizing the various facets of this topic we want to explore in this initial phase of the project.

Joseph Yue, Chair 2013-2014 

Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee
Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee (ERUS) has partnered with Virtual Reference Services Committee to form an ad hoc team to survey the current state of virtual reference. The questions have been drafted and the goal is to have the survey out by the end of this summer. ERUS is currently working on a survey looking at reference service models and evaluation of service. The committee is reviewing a first draft of questions that came out of discussions from Midwinter and Annual 2013. The goal is to have this survey ready to send out to listservs by the end of this year.

Jason Kruse, Chair, 2013-2014

Health and Medical Reference Committee
Approximately sixty people attended the ALA Annual Conference program, “Different Strokes: Serving the Health Information Needs of a Diverse Community” held on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM. The committee met at the All-RSS meeting at the Conference. Ideas for a discussion forum at next year’s conference were discussed. The committee is planning a free RSS webinar, “Tried and True and Even Something New: Best Old and New Medical and Health Information Resources.” Details will be announced shortly. A subgroup to rewrite guidelines for medical reference continues to meet to discuss guidelines planning. The committee has established a listserv where librarians can discuss issues regarding medical reference. The email address is The link to subscribe is Plans are being made to promote this listserv.

Karen Vargas, Chair 2012-2014

Job and Career Reference Committee
The Job and Career Reference Committee met at ALA Annual. The Job and Career Reference Committee is moving forward with a wiki open to interested librarians and a listserv for librarians interested in Job & Career reference. Contact Kate Oberg ( if you have further questions.

Kate Oberg, Chair 2013-2014

Library Service to an Aging Population
Library Services to an Aging Population hosted “Boomers to Seniors: Library Models for Serving and Engaging Older Adults” that highlighted programs in California and Georgia, along with current research studies. Committee member Alan Kleiman moderated the panel. The presentation was enthusiastically received by the attendees; there was a strong sense among the group that this area of librarianship is being reinvented and many different models need to be tried.

In that same vein, the committee had an excellent meeting in which members decided that the current Guidelines for Library and Information Services to Older Adults no longer reflect current best practices. Committee members agreed that overhauling the Guidelines is the top priority this year. If you would like to be involved in this process, please follow us on ALA Connect or contact Abigail Elder (

Abigail Elder, Chair 2013-2014

Library Services to the Spanish Speaking
The Services to the Spanish Speaking Committee met Saturday morning with only a few interested parties. The discussion group on Arizona libraries had twenty-five in attendance and seemed to be well received. Many of the speakers were also members of REFORMA who helped promote and support this program. ASCLA also has programs and webinars of interest to services to the Spanish Speaking. A few of the current and potential members suggested a change in the direction of this committee, perhaps in more dedication to services to immigrants. Rather than one specific group, this would include a broader spectrum of services libraries provide and potential expansion to include more libraries and government agencies interested in supporting these groups. Over the past few years, the Services to the Spanish Speaking had discussion groups for a limited audience. Consideration of changing the direction would enable more growth. I was not able to obtain a chair for the future. A few expressed potential interest and I am in contact with them to make their wishes known for your consideration. We were indeed fortunate to have the presentations on Sunday afternoon, but, as always, the programs often conflict with other broader interest programs such as this case with the Digital Public Library presentation.

The Committee hosted a discussion group on Sunday, June 30, 2013 3:00-4:00 PM, “Arizona Libraries: Spanish Services and Community Outreach.” As a border state, Arizona has historically always had a large Spanish Speaking/Latino community. Paulina Aguirre-Clinch, Marissa Alcorta, Paula Maez, Emily Scherrer, and Cecilia Tovar shared examples of successful programming and provide strategies for making connections to your own Spanish Speaking communities.

With the contemporary increase in recent immigration from Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries, library services and outreach to these communities is needed now more than ever. Two library systems in Southern Arizona, Yuma County Library District, and Pima County Public library, have used their resources, staff skills, and community building to provide relevant services and programming to these ever growing communities.

Finally, the Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users may be due for an update.

Stephen Marvin, Chair 2012-2013

Marketing and Public Relations for Reference
The Marketing & Public Relations Committee hosted a free webinar on the Slam the Boards concept in May. Attendees learned about the idea from Bill Pardue, who shared tips for finding questions on social question and answer sites, and tips for those who are new to the practice.

We also hosted a workshop at Annual in Chicago where Slam the Board participants shared their experiences. Thanks to Bill sharing his knowledge with us and to those who attended. If you’d like to continue participating in the Slam the Boards project, you can join a Facebook group to connect with others who’ve been caught by the Q&A bug.

We’re currently exploring ways to collaborate on event planning with other ALA groups interested in marketing and public relations. At our Annual committee meeting, we also discussed what we might learn from non-library marketers and public relations specialists, such as Jonah Sachs, author of Winning the Story Wars and social media experts who can help us learn tools and strategies for better telling our library stories.

Jessica Hagman, Chair 2013-2014

Recognition Committee
The RSS Recognition Committee chose Larayne Dallas as the RSS Service Achievement Award recipient for 2013. Larayne has had a long career in the Reference Services Section and is widely regarded as one of the most hard-working RSS members, having served on/chaired numerous committees and mentoring new and incoming chairs. Her involvement in RSS includes:

  • Served four years (2005-2009) as a member of the RSS Organization Committee.
  • Chair (2006-2007) of the RSS Management of Reference Committee, while continuing as a member (2003 -2007)
  • 2002-2004 first chair of the ALA/RUSA Hot Topics in Front Line Reference Discussion Group
  • Chair and RSS member of the RUSA RSS 2010 Nominating Committee
  • 2003-2004 member of the MOUSS Nominating Committee
  • RSS Honor Roll (2009)

Emilie Smart, Chair 2013-2014

Research and Statistics Committee
Over the 2012-2013 year, the Research and Statistics Committee solicited and selected proposals for the 19th Annual Reference Research Forum. This year’s forum included “Research Guides Usability Study,” by Angela Pashia, Instructional Services Outreach Librarian, University of West Georgia; “Two Birds, One Stone: Using a Mixed Methods Approach to Measure Service Process and Identify Usability Pain Points in Virtual Reference,” by Christine Tobias, User Experience and Reference Librarian, Michigan State University Libraries; “Query Clarification in Chat Reference: A Visual Transcript Analysis,” by Alexa Pearce, Librarian for Journalism, Media, Culture & Communication, New York University Libraries.

The Forum was held Saturday, June 29 from 1:00-2:30 PM at McCormick Place in Chicago. Approximately 180 people attended the event.

The committee also went through the literature from the past year to select exceptional articles detailing research in reference. The full Reference Research Review is available here.

Lynda Duke, Chair 2012-2013

Virtual Reference Services (MARS/RSS)
The partnership with the RSS Marketing and Public Relations Committee for the Slam the Board series (webinar: May 2013; “Slamming”: June 10; in-person discussion forum: June 2013 @ Annual) was a success. The participants were treated to both background on the Slam the Boards initiative itself and also practical ideas on marketing reference services for their own institutions.

The partnership with the RSS Evaluation of Reference and User Services (ERUS) Committee is on-going. The ad hoc virtual reference survey team presented a preliminary draft at our committee’s meeting at Annual. They are planning to continue to revise it (and the draft was also shared with incoming MARS chair, Sam Stormont).

The informal drop-in Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was held in the Networking Uncommons area of the McCormick Place from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM on Sunday at Annual. Although only fourteen people stopped by, there was a lively discussion on Wikipedia’s potential uses by libraries as a tool to provide access to resources and to promote libraries’ collections.

One participant shared the article (Honan-Allston Branch of Boston Public Library) she created from scratch as a library school student (including photos she took). One participant who had never edited Wikipedia articles before signed up for an account and edited her first article during the Edit-a-thon. Additionally, during the Joint RSS/MARS Executive Committee Meeting, attendees were intrigued by the idea of the Edit-a-thon and discussed ways something similar could be incorporated into section activities in the future.

Also at Annual, outgoing RSS Co-Chair, Don Boozer, introduced incoming RSS Co-Chair, Cathay Crosby, who most recently was Chair of the RSS Marketing and Public Relations for Reference Committee. Cathay and Alisa Gonzalez (MARS Co-chair) will chair the committee beginning directly after ALA Annual 2013.

Don Boozer, Chair 2012-2013

Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee
The Subcommittee is excited to continue working on the Virtual Reference Companion (VRC) with the goal of completion by ALA Annual 2014. The group continues to meet monthly and works in subgroups between meetings. A fifth module will be complete by the end of summer, leaving four more to go.

One section of the VRC has Tips & Best Practices and we are looking for ideas from RSS members that may help those new to the world of virtual reference. Our modules include Planning, Skills, Information Literacy, Technologies, Staffing/Partners, Marketing, Assessment, and Professional Development. If anyone has words of wisdom to share on any of these or other topics related to virtual reference, please send them to Jared Hoppenfeld at or Christine Tobias at

Although the VRC has been accessible to anyone with the URL, it will be going live by the end of summer as we will request that takes the place of the previous resource, as it is linked from its current RSS location(s).

Jared Hoppenfeld, Chair 2012-2014
Christine Tobias, Chair 2013-2014


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 (, editor.

Message from the Chair


Kerry Keegan, Editor



My thanks to you for a terrific year. It has been my honor to serve as our section’s chair and to work with so many wonderful colleagues. As this newsletter attests, STARS is a very active and engaging organization. Our training, outreach, and membership initiatives now serve as models for RUSA.

As much as I’d like to bask the past year’s afterglow, I’m really looking forward to next year: Looking forward to Nora Dethloff’s tenure as our fearless leader. Looking forward to more sharing through our section’s webinars and programs. And looking forward to a celebration. During ALA Annual, 2014, Las Vegas, our section will celebrate 10 years of awesome. And STARS awesomeness is one thing that will not stay in Vegas.

Again, it has been my honor to serve such an outstanding organization and with such outstanding people. We do share and transform, and not just information resources. We share and we transform one another.

Thank you,

David Atkins

STARS Committee Reports

STARS Membership Committee
The Membership Committee was able to pass out and begin collecting updated committee information for the Web site. This initiative is step one in promoting committees to members in the coming year.

Membership is also organizing a party planning committee for the 10 year celebration of RUSA STARS @ ALA 2014. Committee members were solicited and, so far, we have Lars Leon, Heather Weltin, and Tina Baich on board. Membership will spearhead planning this celebration throughout the coming year.

Membership organized a review of the “Five Things” document to take place and also reviewed our STAR Gazing initiative to target non-academic members and past STARS Atlas-Systems Award winners. Naomi Chow has agreed to be a STAR Gazer in the near future!

Membership also shared some statistics with the group and confirmed all committee members would be staying on for another year!

Micquel Little, Chair

STARS Education and Training Committee
In March, the committee submitted a successful proposal for a free RUSA webinar. Amber Case, University of Washington, and Cherie Weible, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will present “Finding Dead People” on the topic of genealogy resources for ILL practitioners. The webinar will take place on October 16, and we anticipate strong interest from staff of public, academic, and special libraries. The committee will also partner with the RUSA History Section to produce a similar program at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference.

The Education and Training Committee continued to update the ShareILL wiki ( and was grateful to receive assistance from many other STARS committees. Work on this project is ongoing, and plans include the addition of sections on open access, services to distance education students, and ILL best practices.

The committee also added several YouTube videos to the series “Exploring Library Careers in Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing.” New videos feature Megan Gaffney, Nora Dethloff, and Troy Christenson and are available at

Finally, this year’s STARS Atlas Mentoring Award was presented to Daniel Chesney of Southern Nazarene University. The award committee was chaired by Collette Mak, University of Notre Dame.

Jennifer Jacobs, Chair

STARS Hot Topics Discussion Group
A vice chair for 2012/13, Chair Elect 2013/14 was elected: Jesslynn Shafer, MSLIS Resource Sharing and Document Delivery Coordinator, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton, NY.

A new assessment tool was implemented for 2013 ALA Midwinter and received only two responses. The tool was revised for the 2013 ALA Annual conference. The general response was affirmative.

When participants at the Hot Topics Discussion Group at 2013 ALA Annual were asked if they would like a short presentation to introduce topics or a specific subject, the response was primarily negative, stating that it would take away time from the general discussion. When asked if they liked the existing format, the majority of people said “yes” and would like it to continue in its current format, especially if the time was reduced to one hour.

Troy Christenson, Chair

STARS Interlibrary Loan Committee
Jeanne Voyles and Joanne McIntyre are the outgoing Co-Chairs. New Co-Chairs will be Carol Kochan and Zheng Yang. Jeanne Voyles agreed to stay on as a member of the committee to support the new co-chairs and the work of the committee.

For 2013 ALA Annual, the committee planned and coordinated the discussion group topic, entitled: “How Will the Current Climate/Trends in Libraries Influence/Impact the Future of Resource Sharing?” Lars Leon, University of Kansas, made a brief presentation, posed questions to the audience throughout the session, and engaged attendees in a variety of current topics and trends. There were ninety-three-plus attendees for the hour-long session. The room was a good size and accommodated the number of attendees. We believe that out of that session there will be ideas to consider for future programming. The committee was pleased with the attendance and participation by attendees. Lars did an excellent job presenting various topics and facilitating the discussion. This may be a good model for future sessions.

Jeanne Voyles, Co-Chair

STARS ILL Research and Assessment Committee
As of June 2013, the STARS Executive Committee approved a name change for the STARS ILL Research and Statistics Committee. The new name will be the STARS ILL Research and Assessment Committee with the following charge:

To explore, develop, and promote assessment activities focusing on library resource service communities and STARS membership needs. Support research and assessment collaboration among STARS members. Coordinate, produce, and review STARS program evaluations and other self-assessment activities.

The committee continues to brainstorm ideas about this new charge and the expectations that come with it. Much organization will need to be done over the next year to ensure the success of this new direction.

The committee worked diligently to plan a program for the 2013 ALA conference in Chicago. The program title was “Does Your Data Deliver for Decision Making? New Directions for Resource Sharing Assessment.” The presenters included: Charla Lancaster, Director of Assessment and Library Access Services, Virginia Tech; Collette Mak, Manager, University of Notre Dame; and Margaret Ellingson, Team Leader, Interlibrary Services, Emory University. The program was successful with over 200 attendees (standing room and sitting room on the floor only), as the room could not accommodate all that wished to attend.

In the year leading up to the program, the team worked on shaping the topic so that three different perspectives on recent data collections were given. Appropriate planning including marketing, feedback mechanisms, room planning, and organization of the day of activities to name a few was completed.

The committee also made some changes to the ALA Connect web pages in order to better reflect the committee charge.

The committee met several times over the course of the year via Blackboard to discuss these various topics. We look forward to another successful year and look forward to the changes in our charge to support RUSA STARS.

Charla Lancaster, Chair

Vendor Relations Committee
We have reviewed a number of topics that were of interest to members of the committee and determined that the question of how not to print requests and use of mobile technologies are areas that we’d like to pursue in the coming year.

Elizabeth Ringwelski, Chair