From the President

President’s column

Greetings, RUSA members! In my first column as President, I’d like to talk about some possible new directions for RUSA. But first, I want to acknowledge and thank all the committees, sections and members, as well as the RUSA staff, who contributed to the success of RUSA’s programs and events at the Annual Conference in San Francisco. We have much to be proud of. Among other events, we held the RUSA 101 session to educate new members about our organization, honored the recipients of RUSA awards at our Awards Ceremony, and celebrated great writing– while enjoying a talk by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar– at the Carnegie Medal celebration.   RUSA sections sponsored many stimulating programs and discussions, and 2014-2015 RUSA President Joe Thompson brought us an outstanding President’s Program featuring danah boyd. (See Joe’s recap below for more on that.)

So now that the conference is wrapped up and we’re all back at our “normal” jobs and lives, where do we go from here? I’d like to use this column to talk about a major new initiative for RUSA. One of our big tasks in the coming year will be to develop a proposal for the formation of Interest Groups within our association. What do we mean by an “interest group”? Interest groups can be defined in different ways, but the basic concept involves a group of members coming together around a current topic of common interest or concern. Enthusiasm for the idea of Interest Groups within RUSA was clearly expressed by members in responses to the survey done by the RUSA Review Task Force in 2014. The RUSA Review survey asked members this question:

We are considering a new kind of community within RUSA, called Interest Groups. These Groups would be RUSA-wide communities that are organized around popular, current topics, enabling members from across RUSA to connect with others who have shared interests. These groups can hold discussions, email forums, programs and other events. Some topics for Interest Groups may include but are not limited to: Marketing/Outreach, Programming, Library Spaces, and Usability. Are you in favor of adding Interest Groups?

Of the 395 RUSA members who responded to the question, 89 percent answered “yes.” Interest groups are obviously an intriguing idea. Why? An interest group model offers several advantages. Interest groups are formed at the grassroots level, and are relatively bureaucracy-free. They can be formed quickly in response to pressing needs which members may be encountering in their daily work. They offer an easy way for members to get involved. And they can evolve or be disbanded easily when no longer needed, so that members can move on to other Interest Groups or types of involvement.

The RUSA Review survey also asked members for their top choices for possible Interest Groups. In addition to some of the topics mentioned in the survey question–marketing, outreach, programming and space planning– other choices were readers’ advisory and assessment. Many other topics could be proposed, including more specific topics in response to current issues or questions.

In order to move the Interest Groups idea forward, we will need to create some structure with specifics for how Interest Groups should work within RUSA. The Organization & Planning Committee has been tasked with this work, starting with looking at how Interest Groups have been implemented in other ALA divisions. Key questions to be answered include:

  • How many members are needed to form an Interest Group? How do they go about forming the group?
  • Can non-RUSA members join a RUSA Interest Group?
  • Can Interest Groups sponsor programs and discussions at conference?
  • How much support from the RUSA office can Interest Groups request? Can they make budget requests?
  • How and to whom do Interest Groups report out?
  • How is leadership assured from year to year? How are leaders elected or appointed?
  • How would an Interest Group be disbanded and how would a decision to disband be made?

As the Organization & Planning Committee investigates these questions, they will work on wording defining Interest Groups to be placed in the RUSA Bylaws (which will require a vote of the membership in the 2016 election cycle) as well as additional details to be included in the RUSA Guide to Policies and Procedures. Please stay tuned for more details on these proposals over the coming months.

The formation of Interest Groups does have a potential downside: it will add further complexity to an already complex organization. Like many ALA divisions, RUSA is highly structured. It already comprises six sections and over 200 committees, including both RUSA-level and Section committees. So as we contemplate Interest Groups, we also need to decide what RUSA can do less of to make time and resources available for Interest Groups. We know that our members are becoming less interested in volunteering for administrative tasks, and more interested in volunteering to be a part of interesting projects and conversations. Along with implementing Interest Groups, can we also streamline and downsize our administrative work? This is a key question that we will have to answer.

I welcome your comments on these questions and proposed changes. Please feel free to contact me any time at

Anne Houston
RUSA President 2015-2016

RUSA President’s Program

Reflections on the RUSA President’s Program 2015

On Saturday, June 27 from 4-5:30 we were able to welcome danah boyd, Founder and President of Data & Society to present, “It’s Complicated: Navigating the dynamic landscapes of digital literacy, collapsing contexts, and big data.” We had close to 700 people in attendance to hear danah speak. She provided a rapid-fire presentation packed with content, so I do strongly encourage everyone to watch the video recording! It’s available to all ALA members. Simply go to and log in with your ALA membership ID. One of the themes that danah focused regarded the consequences of information in all its forms being reflected in contexts that it was never originally intended. The effects can be devastating, especially for a young person who posts comments in a social media environment intended to preserve their own safety and relationships within their peer group, but then these comments are viewed very differently as they shift into college and career environments. Young people have also come up with very innovative ways to manage their own identities and privacy in online environments, such as deactivating and reactivating a Facebook account, with the intention of asserting control over their presence and allowing comments by others to only take place when they themselves are also online. Another theme of danah’s presentation focused on the algorithms that drive advertising in web environments. These algorithms have a definite impact on what we see on the web and greatly influence how we perceive the world. What can librarians do? Be active champions of information literacy and information access. Fight for the rights of the people in your community and be their advocate.

I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg on what danah covered, so in addition to watching the video I do encourage you to be on the lookout for a column that will appear in the next issue of Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) authored by Cathay Keough, member of the RUSA Just Ask Task Force. I want to share my personal thanks to the members of the RUSA President’s Program Planning Committee, the RUSA Just Ask Task Force, the RUSA staff, and members of the RUSA Board of Directors for their support. I’m especially grateful to our president’s program committee chair Peter Bromberg, who maintained our great relationship with danah and her agent, created our Facebook event page, and led our awareness campaign so that ALA’s conference attendees could be ensured to know about the program. I also very much appreciate the work by Cathay Keough for writing the forthcoming RUSQ column, Marianne Braverman for her promotional efforts, and Andrea Hill for handling the editing work and getting the video posted.

Thanks again to each of you and everyone who helped make the program a success!

Joe Thompson

RUSA Past President

RUSA News/Announcements

RUSA Achievement Awards Call for Nominations and Submissions
Beginning Sept. 1, 2015 RUSA is seeking nominations for its annual series of awards and grants. Nominations and supporting materials for most awards must be submitted by Dec. 4, 2015.

RUSA encourages members to nominate their colleagues whose work has influenced their thinking and performance and whose contributions merit recognition by the profession.

Achievement awards for individuals and groups:
Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award
, RUSA’s highest honor, recognizes an individual who has made a distinguished contribution to the field of reference librarianship. $5,000* and a citation.

Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services is given to a library or library system for developing an imaginative and unique resource to meet patrons’ reference needs. $3,000* and a citation.

NoveList’s Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award recognizes a librarian who has made significant contributions to library adult services. Sponsored by NoveList; $1,250* and a citation.

John Sessions Memorial Award recognizes a library or library system that 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. Sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, the winner receives a plaque.

Reference Service Press Award recognizes the most outstanding article published in Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), RUSA’s research journal, during the preceding two-volume year. Sponsored by Reference Service Press; $2,500* prize and a plaque.

BRASS Award for Excellence in Business Librarianship is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to business librarianship. $3,000* and a citation.

Louis Shores Award recognizes an individual reviewer, group, editor, review medium or organization for excellence in book reviewing and other media for libraries. The winner receives a citation.

Zora Neale Hurston Award honors an individual ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. Sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers; the winner receives $1,250* supporting travel to the ALA Annual Conference, a beautiful plaque, two tickets to the United for Libraries author events: The Gala Author Tea and The Laugh’s On Us, and two complete sets of Zora Neale Hurston’s books and audiobooks.

History Genealogy Achievement Award Award is presented to a librarian, library or publisher who is a RUSA member, and recognizes professional achievement in historical reference and research librarianship. $1,500* and a citation.

ETS My Favorite Martian Award is a citation presented annually in recognition of excellence in service to the Emerging Technologies Section of RUSA. The winner receives a citation.

RSS Service Achievement Award is presented annually to a member of the Reference Services Section (RSS) of RUSA in recognition of exceptional contributions to the section. The winner receives a citation.

Virginia Boucher/OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award is given to an individual for his or her outstanding professional achievement, leadership, and contributions to interlibrary loan and document delivery. Sponsored by OCLC; $2,000* and a citation.

Travel awards to the ALA Annual Conference:
BRASS Student Travel Award
presents funds to a student enrolled in an ALA accredited master’s degree program to fund travel the ALA Annual Conference. $1,250* and a citation. This award’s nomination deadline is Jan. 15, 2016.

BRASS Global Financial Data Academic Business Librarianship Travel Award is presented to a new librarian in the field of academic business librarianship in order to support attendance to the ALA Annual Conference. Sponsored by Global Financial Data; $1,250* and a citation.

Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award offers funds to a public librarian who has performed outstanding business reference service and who requires financial assistance to attend the ALA Annual Conference. Sponsored by Morningstar, Inc.; $1,250* and a citation.

STARS/Atlas Systems Mentoring Award offers ALA Annual Conference travel assistance funds to a library practitioner who is new to the field of interlibrary loan/document delivery or electronic reserves, and who has involvement in the areas of borrowing, lending, document delivery, electronic reserves, material delivery or resource sharing. Sponsored by Atlas Systems; $1,250* and a citation.

Research grants:
RUSA History Section Gale Cengage History Research and Innovation Award
is granted to an MLS degreed librarian from an ALA accredited school to facilitate and further research relating to history and history librarianship. Sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning; $2,500* and a citation.

BRASS Emerald Research Grant, is presented to an individual or group seeking support to conduct research in business librarianship. Sponsored by Emerald Group Publishing; $2,500* and a citation.

*Monetary award amounts are subject to change without notice and are contingent upon donor funding supplied at the time the award is presented. Questions about these awards should be directed to the committee chairperson. You can access committee contact information by logging in at then clicking on Committee Rosters under the Committee Tools drop down.

More information about these awards, including nominating instructions, can be found on RUSA’s awards webpages.

Online Learning Opportunities

Upcoming RUSA Courses

  • Introduction to Instructional Design for Librarians
    September 7 – October 18, 2015

    Students will learn to use the Instructional Design Process and apply it effectively to library instruction. This course will utilize the Morrison, Ross, and KEMP Instructional Design Model. Learn more and Register 
  • Readers’ Advisory
    September 7 – October 18, 2015

    Participants will learn from instructor and RA expert Joyce Saricks how to use RA tools, craft annotations, read in genres, articulate appeal and experiment with methods to offer RA services. Learn more and Register
  • Business Reference 101
    September 28 – October 25, 2015 or November 2 – December 6, 2015
    The course will provide students with a framework for understanding the business reference process, as well as an overview of business reference sources specific to each of the course modules. Learn more and Register
  • Interlibrary Loan 101
    October 5 – November 1, 2015
    This online course will provide new interlibrary loan (ILL) practitioners and those that need a refresher with a broad overview of interlibrary loan (ILL) policies, procedures, and practices. Learn more and Register
  • The Reference Interview
    September 13 – October 22, 2015
    This comprehensive course covers such reference interview topics as cultivating an approachable reference environment, successful questioning and listening techniques and appropriate follow-up methods. Learn more and Register

RUSA Committee Reports

RUSA Membership
RUSA 101 at annual went really well! We had around 40 people at the session about 30 of whom had never attended conference before. Thanks to all the section members who made the session go so smoothly! And thank you to Leighann Wood, who IS the calm in the storm. We couldn’t have done it without you!

As chair for next year, I want to plug RUSA 101 and 201, yet again. If you or your group would like to participate in either RUSA 101 or 201, please let Ann Brown ( know. We’re always looking for special guests!


Ann Brown, chair

Emerging Leader

An Update from RUSA’s Emerging Leader

What is going on with Libraries as Publishers?
Last January, I sat with a group of Emerging Leaders as we tried to figure out how to answer this question. Luckily, this particular team of librarians lacked neither ideas nor in enthusiasm. Several poster-sized sticky notes later, we had refined the question and made a plan. What are library publishing services, how are they supported, and what can RUSA do to help? We were determined to find out.

Over the next five months, RUSA’s team of Emerging Leaders met weekly to discuss our research. We developed a definition of library publishing services, found examples from around the world, and inventoried related resources and learning opportunities offered by ALA and other organizations. With this information in hand, we surveyed RUSA members and other librarians to find out what they think about library publishing services, learning opportunities, and RUSA’s involvement.

We discovered that libraries both within and outside of academia are offering many kinds of patron publishing support. Most of our survey respondents were interested in learning more about these services, especially through workshops, webinars, and standards or guidelines. Although ACRL provides ample support for academic library support of publishing, there is very little cohesive support for non-ACRL librarians. In fact, nearly 20% of our survey respondents indicated that they have never learned how to provide library publishing services. We determined that there is a need for resources and services that support library publishing beyond academia, and that RUSA could use this focus are to support its strategic agenda for recruitment, collaboration, and virtual participation. Our research culminated in an extensive report and a poster presentation at ALA Annual in San Francisco.

I had the privilege of presenting our report to RUSA’s Executive Board at Annual. The leadership will be moving forward our recommendations. Among them are opportunities for RUSA members to learn more about successful library publishing services – look for learning opportunities both online and face-to-face in the coming year. RUSA also hopes to engage a future team of Emerging Leaders in the task of developing a toolkit for libraries that want to support patron publishing.

It was a distinct pleasure to serve RUSA both as a sponsored Emerging Leader and as the first Emerging Leader team to work on a RUSA-sponsored project. The success of this project was only possible because of the dedication and talent of my teammates: Crystal Boyce, Sarah Espinosa, Angela Kent, and Rebecca Marrall. Elizabeth German and Linda Friend provided invaluable help as project sponsors. We’re also grateful to the entire RUSA Executive Board for their support and feedback, especially as we developed our survey.

I look forward to sharing more about my Emerging Leaders experience through RUSA Voices, and I would be happy to entertain questions about the program or our project. You can reach me at You might also look for me at an upcoming conference – I hope to continue serving RUSA as an “emerged” leader for many years to come.

Beth Boatright


John C. Gottfried, Editor

Message from the Outgoing BRASS Chair

Dear BRASS members:

The reports below provide specifics about the current BRASS committee activities. Thanks to everyone who was able to attend ALA Annual San Francisco. We held a Preconference, Public Librarian Forum event, Publisher’s Forum, BRASS Discussion Group and the successful BRASS Program—Not Elsewhere Classified: Different Approaches to Researching Emerging Industries.

I’ve enjoyed serving as BRASS Chair. As of the end of Annual, Paul Brothers has assumed the Chair duties. We’re looking forward to another engaging year from BRASS under Paul’s leadership.

Todd Hines, Chair 2014-2015

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

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

Emily Treptow 2014-2016 Chair

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

Van Houlson, 2015-2016 Chair

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

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

Ed Hahn, 2014-2016 Chair

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

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

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

Natasha Arguello, 2012-2015 Chair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane Campbell, 2015 Chair

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

Ilana Stonebraker, 2015-2016 Chair

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

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

Chad Boeninger, 2014-2016 Chair


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

Celia Ross, 2014-2015 Chair

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

Diane Zabel, 2015-2016 Chair

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

Julia Martin, 2015-2016 Chair

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

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

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

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

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

Patricia Hull, 2015-2016 Chair


Laura Hibbler, Editor


History Section Field Trip to U.S. Immigration Station at Angel Island
Members of the History Section participated in a field trip to Angel Island during this year’s ALA Annual Conference. Tens of thousands of immigrants entered the United States through the Immigration Station at Angel Island between 1910 and 1940. David Murray, chair of the History Section, reports “I found the experience both educational and a lot of fun. I enjoyed the boat ride to the island, walking up the trail and road to the immigration center (w/ spectacular views), and getting to know a number of History Section members I’d never met in person. The historical highlight for me was the Chinese poetry written on the walls of the immigration center.” David also notes that Helene LaFrance deserves a great deal of credit for organizing such a spectacular field trip.

Pacific Link, the KQED Asian Education Initiative, provides images and additional information about the poetry written on the barracks wall at Angel Island:

Instruction and Research Services Committee
RUSA HS IRS Committee Revisions to “Using Primary Sources on the Web” Page

RUSA’s current web page Using Primary Sources on the Web is being revised by a working group of the Instruction and Research Services Committee. We plan on having the new page live in time for September, when statistics show use of the page more than doubles with over 6600 clicks. The group is working on updating information, expanding the list of reliable sources by using LibGuides (thanks to Michelle Baildon, former Past-President of the History Section) and expanding the section on “Citing Websites” to include ways to successfully incorporate primary sources in writing a paper.

Currently there are two LibGuides of selected primary sources – American History and World History. Future plans include a LibGuide for primary sources on Canadian History, and breaking out the World History guide into distinct area guides (Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, etc.).

Committee members Shelley Arlen, Eileen Bentsen (co-chair), Julie Higbee, Melissa Gonzalez, Joel Kitchens, Olga Perkovic (co-chair), and Julienne Wood, have been working together with Laura Hibbler as our web designer. We hope the changes and enhancements will improve the page and make it appealing to a wide range of users from junior high through graduate students. Look for the announcement of the launch date and provide us with feedback when you start using the new web page. Send questions to

Eileen Bentsen, Co-chair

Emerging Technologies Section (ETS)

Chanitra Bishop, Editor

Congratulations to our newly elected members:

– McDonald, Courtney Greene
Head, Discovery & Research Services, Indiana University Libraries, Bloomington, IN
– Coleman, Jason
Undergraduate and Community Services Librarian, Kansas State University Libraries, Manhattan, Kansas

ETS: Emerging Technologies Section is dedicated to the intersection of technology and library services.

Our New Name
Our section has a new name – recently confirmed by vote in the recent ALA election. Over the course of the next year we will be transitioning from MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Section to simply Emerging Technologies Section (ETS). Watch for programming and news with our new acronym of ETS.

ETS, the Emerging Technologies Section of RUSA (formerly known as MARS), represents the interests of those concerned with attaining the highest possible quality in planning, developing, managing, teaching, or conducting all forms of computer-based reference information services in libraries. The possibilities for professional and personal growth are enormous!

Learn more at:

ALA Annual Conference Wrap-Up
ETS hosted a suite of wonderful programs and events at ALA Annual 2015 in sunny San Francisco. Check out the recaps below.

ETS/MARS Achievement Award
Congrats to Debbie Bezanson, this year’s recipient of the ETS (MARS) Achievement Recognition Award. Debbie has dedicated countless hours to the goals and promotion of MARS. She was recognized at the RUSA Awards ceremony during ALA Annual Conference and during the ETS Chair’s program.

Saturday, June 27
Library Guides in the Era of Discovery Layers (ETS Chair’s Program)
Over a 100 folks attended the annual Chair’s program to learn about the intersection between library guides and discovery systems. Two speakers from universities in Singapore and one representative from Brigham Young University shared their ideas on integration of guides into the discovery environment on the library sites. It was a wonderful presentation with lots of great ideas.

Lessons Learned: Libraries, Course Management Systems and Future Directions (MERS Discussion forum)
This discussion will encapsulated key findings, trends and future directions of the role of libraries in Course Management Systems (CMS). The discussion will highlight developments in library systems compatibility with CMS, such as Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas Instructure, and others.

On Sunday, June 28
ETS All Committee Meeting
ETS members and visitors discussed the future direction of ETS. We discussed the types of programming that members want to see, what new emerging technologies might influence the future of libraries, and how we could support ETS members between conferences.

Hot Topics: Drones and Robots for Reference?
A presentation and hands-on demo of drones and robots took place at ALA Annual in San Francisco from 3-4 PM on June 28, 2015. Two speakers were selected based on research into libraries that are doing interesting projects with these technologies. The session was well-attended. At least 75 people came, and many people were standing in the back of the room by the end. The speakers have been asked to share their presentations on the scheduler page which is linked above.

Now You’re Talking: Tools to Utilize for Virtual Services
Attendees discussed various tools that libraries can utilize in implementing virtual reference services that include IM, texting, email and video products.


Jane Daugherty, Editor   


RSS has had an active year. The various committees held several discussion forums and programs over the course of the year, including a very well attended discussion forum on reference education for librarians, a program on the effect of the Common Core on librarians, and the 20th Reference Research Forum. The coming year promises to be an equally exciting programming year. The Education and Professional Development for Reference Committee along with the ETS UX Committee will be holding a “Deep Dive”, a new ALA programming initiative, at Midwinter. RSS is also collaborating across ALA. The section is co-sponsoring a program proposal with the Continuing Resource Section in ALTCS on the topic of a conversation between public services and technical services staff. At this time, we are awaiting word if the program has been approved. The committees have also provided alternative programming outside of the conferences. The Management of Reference committee hosted an e-forum on “broadening of library services by building relationships with campus units and cross-training staff to create a synergistic combination that redefines the research experience of our community by meeting them where they are.” In the summer, the joint ETS/RSS Virtual Reference Services committee is hosting an e-forum on the current state of virtual reference.

The committees have also worked in areas outside of programming. The Health and Medical Reference committee has updated the guidelines for the provision of health and medical reference which were approved by the RUSA board at Annual. At the request of the Library Services to the Spanish Speaking, the RSS Board voted to change the committee’s name to the Committee on Multilingual Library Services. In the coming year, the committee will be working to update its guidelines. The section as a whole will be going through section review in the 2015-16 year and will use this opportunity to review the work of the sections.

Qiana Johnson

Chair, Reference Services Section, 2015-2016

Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need Committee
The Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need Committee held a one-hour discussion forum at the ALA Conference in San Francisco. The forum included an overview of the results of Committee’s recent survey on point of need service and instruction that identified both challenges and opportunities. Dr. David Schwieder, Political Science Liaison Librarian and Coordinator of Humanities and Social Science Data Services at the University of Florida, followed with a brief presentation on one of the challenges identified in the survey, “Frameworks for Data and Statistics Reference.” Table discussions on this and other topics were held during the remaining time.

Colleen Seale, Chair 2015-2016

Virtual Reference Companion Subcommittee
The Virtual Reference (VR) Companion Subcommittee will hold its first meeting of 2015/16 on August 5, 2015. The committee has five new members this year, and will be reassigning responsibilities for keeping all the modules of the VRC up to date and useful.

The Subcommittee got approval through the RSS Board for changing its name to the Virtual Reference Companion Subcommittee on July 20, 2015. The name change should be reflected soon on the ALA web site.

The Subcommittee once again this year will be soliciting tips and best practices to be incorporated into the “Tips and Best Practices” section of the Virtual Reference Companion from all librarians who provide virtual reference. RSS members may submit suggestions for this content by leaving a comment on ALA Connect ( or by sending an email to one of the co-chairs, Laura Friesen (, or Neal Pomea (

The VR Companion is accessible at, as well as in the Hot Links section of the RSS Virtual Reference Committee page, the Professional Tools section of the RUSA Resources page, and in the Web Resources section of the ALA Library Fact Sheet 19: Virtual Reference: A Selected Annotated Bibliography.

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

Health and Medical Reference Committee
The Health and Medical Reference Committee (HMRC) chair, Laura Haines, attended the RSS All Committee Meeting and Open House on Saturday, June 27th at ALA Annual 2015 in San Francisco. While no other Health and Medical Reference Committee members were able to attend, it was a good chance to get updates on RSS, to meet other chairs and members of RSS, and to be able to put a few faces to names!

On Sunday, June 28th, HMRC members Laura Haines, Karen Vargas and Qiana Johnson introduced the new Health and Medical Reference Guidelines during the HMRC’s Discussion Forum: Get to Know the New RUSA Guidelines for Health and Medical Reference Services. Karen and Laura introduced the Guidelines, and then a conversation followed. Most attendees were academic librarians, and all believed the new Guidelines would be helpful for assisting those who work at the reference desk, especially student workers who are sometimes reluctant to field health-related questions. It was noted that the trend in academic libraries is to have para-professionals or students staff reference desks, or to close reference desks and move reference interactions to a circulation or main desk. This trend puts a fair bit of responsibility on paraprofessionals and students, and support from guidelines such as these may become quite useful, attendees thought.

On Monday, June 29th, at ALA Annual 2015 in San Francisco, the Health and Medical Reference Guidelines were approved by the RUSA Board of Directors. They can be found on the RUSA Website here:

Laura Louise Haines, Chair 2015-2016

Discovery Services Committee
This year’s RSS Discovery Services Forum, titled “Examining Discovery Systems within the New Information Literacy Framework” featured three informative speakers and welcomed over 100 attendees. The session was held on Sunday, June 28th, from 3-4pm and was co-sponsored with the Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT). The featured speakers included Holly Luetkenhaus of Washington State University Libraries with the presentation “Teaching Strategic Searching Practices in Discovery Systems,” Elise Ferer of Drexel University Libraries with the presentation “Discovering that Authority is Constructed,” and Cody Hennesy of UC Berkeley Libraries with the presentation “The Universal Library & the Economics of Discovery: Teaching Discovery.” The first half of the forum included brief presentations that were followed by Q&A. Next, tables of 4-8 people were encouraged to discuss a set of discussion questions related to the theme of the forum. Feedback ranged from good to excellent and included comments such as, “Thank you so much for addressing this important topic!” and “We all seem to be green with the Framework and Discovery- let us keep discovering it.” To review the PPT slide presentations from the forum visit the RSS Discovery Services Committee’s ALA Connect page ( The Discovery Services Committee welcomes the members Cynthia Johnson and Lesley Looper and welcomes back members Steve Brantley and Sue Dittmar.

Anne Larrivee, Chair 2015-2016

Research and Statistics Committee
This year, the Research & Statistics Committee hosted the 21st Annual Reference Research Forum on Sunday, June 28th at the Moscone Conference Center in San Francisco. After a double-blind review process, the committee selected 3 research teams to present their results. Frans Albarillo from the City University of New York presented the results of a survey of immigrant and international student research habits to investigate common patterns and to explore how these students experience the academic library. Marianne Colgrove and Annie Downey from Reed College presented the results of a needs assessment to address the gap between faculty and student perspectives on the research process, focusing on the critical sophomore and junior years. The result of a collaborative project between IT and the Library, their presentation shared the fruits of collaboration and assessment that can in turn be used to develop new research curricula and services. Finally, Jean Amaral from the Borough of Manhattan Community College presented the results of a year-long ethnographic study, likening the library to an endangered species and revealing the environmental conditions affecting the change and survival of the community college library. Each presentation garnered a number of interesting questions. The committee also reviewed and posted an annotated bibliography of articles relating to reference research for the 2014 Annual Reference Research Review. – See more at:

Ava M. Brillat, Chair 2015-2016

Committee on Multilingual Library Services (formerly the Library Services to the Spanish Speaking Committee)
I am happy to report that the RSS Board approved changing our committee name from Library Services to the Spanish Speaking Committee to the Committee on Multilingual Library Services at Annual. A change in charge accompanies the change in name and next up is updating guidelines.

Crystal Lentz, Chair 2015-2016


Kerry Keegan, Editor

Message from the Chair

Hi, everyone!

My name is Tom Bruno and I am your STARS chair for 2015-2016. I am currently the Associate Director for Resource Sharing and Reserves at the Yale University Library; before that I worked as the Head of Resource Sharing at Widener Library at the Harvard College Library. I have been working off and on in the field of resource sharing for almost twenty years, and was drawn to volunteer as a member of RUSA STARS on account of our section’s strong sense of community. The outward-facing nature of interlibrary loan means that cooperation beyond the walls of one’s own library is a basic requirement- the work done by STARS and our members helps foster that spirit of cooperation by sharing best practices, knowledge, and a sense of mutual obligation and trust. Over the years I have served RUSA STARS as webmaster and chair of the International ILL Committee, and I consider it an honor to continue that service now as section chair.

STARS had an exciting series of programming available at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Many thanks to the Research and Assessment Committee and their panel of speakers for their preconference “ILL Datastorm: Practical Assessment,” as well as the ILL Committee and their panel presentation “Acquisitions, Collection Development, Electronic Resources and ILL, Oh My!: Connecting Users to What They Want.” Both offerings were well-attended and well-received! We also saw our ILL and Hot Topics discussion groups use previous attendee feedback to experiment with new formats and topics. Both experiments were a success and we will continue to reinvent these forums to keep them exciting and relevant to our membership. Speaking of Membership, thanks to Micquel Little and the Membership Committee for another successful STARS Social on the Friday night of the Annual Conference. And, of course, my heartfelt thanks to Tina Baich for all of her fantastic work over the past year as STARS chair.

While the final list of STARS programs for Midwinter and Annual 2016 has not yet been confirmed, we are looking forward to supporting another year of great offerings, including the Education and Training Committee’s perennial favorite, ILL 101 workshop (aka “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about ILL”). This will be held at the Boston Public Library during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in, next January. And, of course, since Annual 2016 will be in Orlando, I will be planning the very first ILL librarian flashmob on the Jungle Cruise at Disney World!

In addition to supporting our events at the conferences, we have a lot of ongoing committee projects. Look out for updated bylaws, a new and improved International ILL survey, and ShareILL’s move to a new home. To say that none of this work would be possible without all of your help may seem a cliché, but it really is true. STARS is only as strong as our membership and I’m happy to say that, based upon the activities of the past year and those we have planned for the upcoming year, we’re looking very strong, indeed. Thanks again to everyone for your time and energy – let’s make this another great year for STARS!

Tom Bruno
STARS Chair 2015-2016

Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards Committee
The Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards Committee completed revisions for the first drafts of the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States, its Explanatory Supplement, and the ALA ILL Request Form in April. The drafts were presented to the STARS Executive Committee in May, where they were unanimously approved. The RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee discussed the drafts and approved them with comments at ALA Annual. The Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards Committee will be discussing RUSA S&G’s feedback over the summer and hopes to share the documents during a public comment phase in late summer or early fall with a goal of promulgating a final version by early 2016.

Brian Miller, Chair

STARS Atlas Systems Mentoring Award Committee
Congratulations to Karen Thomas, who was this year’s award winner. She currently serves as the Access Services Librarian at Krauskopf Library at Delaware Valley College. She was joined by Committee Mentor, Megan Gaffney, at ALA San Francisco.

This year marked a change in the procedure for the RUSA awards ceremony in that a representative from STARS presents all the STARS awards, rather than having a different presenter for each award. Tina Baich served this role.

Bethany B. Sewell, Chair

RUSA STARS Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies Committee
The RUSA STARS Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies Committee has continued to work on Version 2 of the ALA RUSA STARS Rethinking Resource Sharing STAR Checklist. Version 2 has been entered into Tufts University’s Qualtrics site and the scoring mechanism has been tested. We expect to have it available on the Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative website for libraries to use by September 2015. We spent the rest of our meeting at the ALA Annual Conference to plan promotion and training events.

Sue Kaler, Chair