Message from the BRASS Chair


Carol E. Smith, Editor

Message from the BRASS Chair

Dear BRASS Members,
BRASS continued our virtual Mid-Winter meeting this year in sunny San Diego. While most of our BRASS Committees have been working virtually, we did have one ALL BRASS Committee meeting for those of us who attended the San Diego Conference. We had a lively discussion about issues facing business librarians as well as a discussion of some business resources. Old and new members of BRASS were able to meet and share experiences.

BRASS will be in full force at the Annual ALA Meeting in New Orleans this Summer, June 23 – June 28. We have many great programs, forums and discussion groups planned for this conference. So keep reading to learn more. See you in NOLA!

Mark E. Andersen
BRASS Chair, 2010-2011

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee

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

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

Lydia LaFaro, 2009-2011 Chair

BRASS Education Committee

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

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

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

U.S. Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics

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

Bureau of Labor Statistics

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

National Home Builders Association

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

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

Leticia Camacho, 2010-2011 Chair

BRASS Nominating Committee

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

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

●      Greg Fleming
●      Ann Fiegen

For Member at Large (2011/2014 term)

●      Louise Feldman
●      Diane Campbell

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

Judith Faust, 2010-2011 Chair

BRASS Conference Program Planning Committee

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

Ann Fiegen, 2010-2011 Chair

BRASS Publications Committee

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

●     BRASS Awards– Louise Feldmann; Shana Gass

●     BRASSOur Section – Naomi Hafter; Kate Joranson

●     BRASS Events – Charles Lyons; Jill Markgraf

●     BRASS Professional  Tools – Monica Hagan; Robert Perrett

●     BRASSPublications – Kaiping Zhang; Carol Smith

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

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

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

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

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

Carol Smith, 2010-2011 chair

BRASS Gale Cengage Student Travel Award Committee

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

Doreen Harwood, 2010-2011 Chair


Vicki Bloom, Editor


CODES is doing lots of exciting work. There are several programs at Annual that promise to be interesting and informative:

●     Reader’s Advisory Trends Forum: Saturday from 4:00 – 5:30 pm

●     A-Z of Electronic Reference Product Development: Saturday from 4:00 – 5:30 pm

●     How is it shared? Remote Storage and Cooperative Collection Building: Monday from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Committee Reports

Reader’s Advisory

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

Collection Development Planning and Assessment

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


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

From the Chair

The Emerging Technologies in Reference Section, aka MARS, had a series of productive meetings at the Midwinter conference in San Diego, and we are looking forward to a number of exciting new initiatives.

We held four well-attended discussion forums at the conference. The Hot Topics discussion group sponsored a forum on QR codes and augmented reality. The Local Systems & Services committee continued their series of discussion forums on discovery services, focusing this time on how discovery layers are changing library websites. The Management of Electronic Resources and Services and Public Libraries committees co-sponsored an open discussion on the assessment and evaluation of virtual reference, and the Virtual Reference Discussion Group hosted a discussion on the latest in virtual reference.

Several new projects are also in the works. The Products & Services Committee is working on a new initiative to provide timely reviews of the latest products and technologies available for reference and user services. These reviews would be published on a new MARS blog being developed by our Publications Committee. The Education, Training and Support committee is planning a webinar on screencasting based on their successful program at ALA Annual 2010, while our Professional Development committee is working on guidelines for future MARS webinar offerings.

Programming for the 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans is underway. We are working with the Reference Services Section to plan a preconference on reference/IT collaborations. MARS will also offer an exciting program on the relevant topic of User Experience Design; see details of both of these events below. The MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Committee will sponsor a program on the human side of virtual reference, and we’ll sponsor our usual Hot Topics discussion group and Virtual Reference Discussion Group on Saturday. The MARS Happy Hour will move to Saturday night and, thanks to a generous sponsor, will include some tasty food at a famous local venue, as well as the usual cash bar. Watch for more details of these events as the conference approaches.

In another important initiative, we are currently reassessing our presence at Midwinter. Given that many committees now do their work virtually, and that many MARS members can no longer afford to travel to conference, we are considering whether in-person Midwinter meetings are necessary. In the near future, a survey about Midwinter will go out to MARS members. The survey will be of special interest to MARS committee members and to anyone who has considered or is considering volunteering for a MARS committee, but all are welcome to respond. Among other things, we would like to know the value our members place on in-person meetings, how many of our members are able to travel to conference, and how many have the technology available to participate in virtual meetings. The announcement of the survey will go out to MARS-L and everyone is invited to respond.

If you are interested in getting more involved with MARS—either in person or virtually—we would love to have your participation! MARS members are encouraged to volunteer for committees. Volunteering is easy; just go to the form on the RUSA web site. Opportunities to volunteer for MARS Committees appear at the end of the form. Dianna McKellar, the MARS Vice-Chair, will be appointing MARS committees for next year soon after the Midwinter meeting. If you have any questions about committees, fell free to contact me or Dianna (

Anne Houston, MARS Chair

Committee Reports and Announcements

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

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


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

Group Discussion:

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

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

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

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

Amanda Clay Powers, MARS VRDG Chair

MARS Local Systems & Services

On January 9, 2011, the MARS Local Systems & Services held a Discussion Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego entitled Designing Around a Single Search: How Discovery Layers are Changing Library Websites. Three panelists spoke to an audience of over 120 attendees about how they have incorporated a new discovery system into their libraries’ existing websites, including information about statistics, branding/naming and design choices.

Josh Boyer (North Carolina State University) discussed the web site redesign NCSU completed in August 2010 and its incorporation of a locally-developed metasearch solution, QuickSearch, with Serials Solutions’ Summon. Next, Beth Bernhardt (University of North Carolina, Greensboro) discussed her library’s implementation of EBSCO Discovery Service. Finally, Johan Oberg (Macalester College) discussed Macalester’s decision to prominently place a single search box for WorldCat Local on its home page, and the ensuing gains in catalog use, circulation, and interlibrary loan they observed.

The three short presentations were followed by a general Q & A. Fuller notes on the presentations and copies of each presenter’s slides can be found at:

The Committee is currently planning a discussion forum on Learning Commons services for Midwinter 2012 (Dallas) and a program called Discovery Systems: The Promise and the Reality for ALA Annual 2012 in Anaheim.

Amy Fry, MARS Local Systems & Services Committee Chair

MARS/RSS Preconference Planning Committee

The MARS/RSS Preconference Planning Committee is busily planning an exciting full-day session for ALA 2011 entitled Strange Bedfellows: IT and Reference Collaborations to Enhance User Experiences. Speakers, drawn from both reference and information technology backgrounds, will present their methods for working together to make innovative projects a success.

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions for delving further into strategies for implementing successful technology projects for meeting customer needs. They will also have the opportunity to brainstorm on strategies for projects they’re currently working on or envision for the near future. This is a solutions-driven session that explores methods for implementing effective collaborations and successfully leveraging the skill sets of multiple departments.

This joint effort of MARS and RSS should not be missed. Keep an eye out for it at early registration to ensure a seat (and a low cost!). We look forward to seeing you on Friday, June 24, in New Orleans!

Donna Scanlon, MARS Preconference Program Planning Committee Co-Chair

MARS Chair’s Program at Annual

Please plan to join us on Sunday June 26 from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm for an exciting MARS Chair’s program at ALA Annual in New Orleans!

It’s All About Them: Developing Information Services with User Experience Design

Applying User Experience (UX) Design to your library’s public services involves understanding your patrons’ needs and preferences. In this session, expert panelists John Blyberg (Darien Library), Cody Hansen (University of Minnesota), and Jenny Benevento (Sears Holding Corporation) will define UX design and explain why it’s important, discuss how it can help improve patrons’ overall experience of library resources and services, and describe how it can be implemented in library and information service settings. With practical tips and examples, you’ll be well-equipped to consider UX issues in your own library.

We’ll also be announcing the winner of this year’s My Favorite Martian Award.

Courtney Greene, MARS Conference Program Planning Committee Chair

Management of Electronic Reference Services (MERS) Committee

MERS co-hosted a discussion forum with the Public Libraries Committee (PL) at ALA Midwinter 2011 titled Assessment and Evaluation of Virtual Reference. Twenty-five of our colleagues joined us for an open discussion of how new social networking tools such as text and Twitter are being used in a Reference environment. Lines of discussion included how such services are being staffed, managed, counted, and used. Additional consideration was given to how libraries choose to implement emerging technologies and how to advocate for including them in our service portfolio.

In the Spring, MERS is continuing to collaborate with PL in a call for Virtual Poster Sessions. Poster sessions are being solicited for topics related to the evaluation and assessment of social media for Reference Services. Virtual Posters selected by the committee will be announced at ALA Annual 2011 and will be posted online for viewing.

Valerie Boulos, MERS Chair

To subscribe to MARS-L, see

Message from the Chair

Hello all Reference Services Section members!

Although RSS officially participated virtually in the recent ALA Midwinter 2011, there was a great deal of real RSS activity and there are many people to thank. I especially want to recognize the efforts of two committees in particular. The Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee and the Service Achievement Award Committee are both brand new committees this year and each had the challenge of creating a process from scratch for how they would accomplish their work. Please take a moment to read the report below from Sarah Hammill regarding the three discussions that took place in San Diego, and the report from Lori Thornton regarding the process to select the first recipient of the RSS Service Achievement Award. In addition to the Discussion Forums, RSS also organized its (first?) Midwinter RSS Pancake Breakfast with twenty-two people participating in San Diego.

The RSS Executive Committee and RSS Board held an official “Midwinter Meeting” online on January 21. The draft minutes have been posted by RSS Secretary Marjorie Schreiber Lear and can be found at On February 9 the Executive Committees of RSS and MARS also held their regular joint meeting, this time online.

Please make sure to vote in the ALA elections! In March you should receive an email with instructions for accessing the ballot. RSS members will be voting on proposed changes to our RSS Bylaws, which you can see in advance at The proposed changes include the creation of a RSS Archivist, the removal of the standing Discussion Groups (now replaced by the Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee), the allowance to meet virtually along with a face-to-face meeting at ALA Annual, and documentation of processes that are now current practice. On the RSS ballot you will also be selecting between two candidates for RSS Vice Chair/Incoming Chair and a two candidates for RSS Member at Large.

Registration is now open for ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans and RSS will be offering a full line up of excellent programs, discussions, meetings, and two Friday preconferences. Highlights include:

●     Saturday, June 25, 8:00 – 10:00 am: RSS Open House and All Committee Meeting

●     Saturday, June 25, 1:30 – 3:30 pm: Marketing Reference on a Dime [The RUSA President’s Program]

●     Sunday, June 26, 1:30 – 3:30 pm: Reference Research Forum

●     Sunday, June 26, 4:00 – 5:30 pm: Using Today’s Numbers to Plan Tomorrow’s Services: Effective User Services Assessment [Program]

●     Monday, June 27, 8:00 am: 10:00 am – Behind the Text: Pulling Back the Curtain on Virtual Reference (MARS/RSS) [Program]

Thank you to all of the RSS members who contribute to making RSS the premier volunteer organization focused on the interests of frontline librarians, information specialists, and library support staff who are engaged in all aspects of reference and information services!

Joe Thompson

RSS Chair 2010–2011

Discussions at Midwinter

The new Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee is pleased to report on three well-attended and highly successful discussion that took place at the 2011 Midwinter Conference in San Diego:

When We Create a Learning Commons, How Does it Change Reference Questions?

With more than eighty-five people in attendance, we are guessing that most people walked away with their question “When we create a Learning Commons, how does it change reference questions?” answered. The Discussion Forum led by Judy Solberg of Seattle University was held on Monday morning and the conversation was stimulating in that it allowed for different methods, measures, and suggestions for what works and what doesn’t work when creating a learning commons.

LibAnswers: Spreading the Wealth and Collaborative FAQ Building

With more than twenty people in attendance, we had a lively discussion on LibAnswers at ALA Midwinter in San Diego. LibAnswers is an online reference model that can be used to enhance traditional modes of reference.

Answering the Young Adult Reference Question

On Sunday, January 9 from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, the Reference Services Section of RUSA and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) partnered to provide the Discussion Forum, Answering the Young Adult Reference Question. A review of the major discussion points, as well as other documents relating to this forum, may be found in the RSS Board area of ALA Connect. Documents prepared for the forum, as well as a review of the major discussion points that were addressed during the Report Out at the end, are available at:

This discussion fostered interest in creating a joint committee between YALSA and RSS to coordinate more discussions of this type and to address issues relating to reference and Information services to young adults. This idea is currently being explored.

Committee Reports

Catalog Use

Catalog Use Committee met virtually for its Midwinter meeting on February 4,. We are planning a discussion forum for ALA Annual in New Orleans:

Diving into the Deep End: What are the consequences for users when a library adopts a web-scale discovery service? This discussion forum will explore the challenges presented in teaching users how to search these new systems.

Steve Ostrem


Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee

The committee is now preparing for the call for proposals for discussion forums at ALA Annual. We will use the same peer-review method as we did for ALA Midwinter. After the call for proposal deadline passes, the committee will meet to discuss and select the two best proposals for discussions at the annual conference. The committee is also planning to discuss having at least one of the discussions online.

Sarah Hammill, Chair


Evaluation of Reference and User Services

The Committee did not meet at Midwinter in person but is working virtually on three issues:

1. Preparing for program at Annual: Using Today’s Numbers to Plan Tomorrow’s Services: Effective User Services Assessment Sunday, June 26, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

2. Re-vamping the ALA Connect committee space

3. Updating Guide to Reference Evaluation Resources


Kornelia Vassileva Tancheva, Chair


Library Services to the Spanish Speaking

RSS Services to the Spanish Speaking committee has finalized a survey to learn more about the ways in which RSS members provide services to Spanish speakers in their own communities, and to find out what RSS members feel are most valuable resources to meet their needs. The responses gathered will help inform committee work in future years. A link to the survey will be distributed via listservs and ALA Connect before Annual 2011. The committee is also in the process of revising our Guidelines for Services to Spanish Speakers.

Marjorie Schreiber Lear, Chair


Management of Reference Committee

The Management of Reference Committee met at Midwinter on Saturday, January 8. There were six in attendance. We are working on revising the Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers. We agreed to further revision of the introduction and endnotes. This spring we will finish revising the document and post it for comment.

William Weare, Chair

Marketing and Public Relations for Reference

This committee is pleased that its proposed program, Marketing Reference on a Dime, has been selected as the RUSA President’s Program for the Annual 2011 Conference.

Marketing Reference on a Dim” will consist of five to six brief presentations on successful initiatives for marketing reference services. Panelists will include representatives from public, academic, and special libraries, as well as a marketing professional from the private sector. At the end of the program, participants should come away with at least one idea for a free or inexpensive marketing initiative, know how to identify resources for community support, and be able to identify strategies for demonstrating the important of reference to stakeholders.”

The panelists are:

Manya Shorr (Sacramento Public Library, LJ Mover & Shaker 2010)

Amy Mather (Omaha Public Library, LJ Mover & Shaker 2010)

Nancy Dowd (New Jersey State Library, M Word Blog)

Kathy Dempsey (Libraries are Essential Consultants, M Word Blog)

Selene Colburn (University of Vermont)

Jamie Hollier (Delta County Public Libraries, CO)

Ed Garcia, Chair


Organization and Planning

This committee met virtually on December 3. The RSS Handbook will be updated before Annual 2011 with changes to the RSS bylaws incorporated. The RSS chair mentoring was instituted in 2008, but it has never been assessed to evaluate its effectiveness. Gale Etschmaier has volunteered to undertake this initiative. Her plan is to interview past chairs, mentors, and mentees. During the recent section review it became apparent that there was a real need to preserve information about the section and make it easy to locate when needed.

Barb Mann, Chair


Research and Statistics

The Research and Statistics Committee met virtually on January 21 to choose the three presentations for the 17th Annual Reference Research Forum. The committee received a number of interesting proposals this year and the committee had an exciting discussion. Announcements will be made soon about the presenters and their topics.

Qiana Johnson, Chair


RSS Service Achievement Award Committee

The RSS Service Achievement Award Committee met in January. We reviewed the nominations and selected the award recipient. The award will be presented at the RUSA Awards event during the ALA Annual conference in New Orleans this June. We also discussed revising the committee charge to include the RSS Honor Roll. The RSS Chair will take the revised committee charge to the Executive Board for approval at the annual conference.

Lori Thornton, Chair


User Education and Information Literacy

Members of the User Education and Information Literacy Committee have been working on an article about the reference interview. The article will not be published in RUSQ, but the editor has provided comments from the referees. The committee will consider these, and decide on next steps.

Jill Moriearty, Chair


Virtual Reference Committee

The RSS/MARS Virtual Reference Services Committee held its official midwinter meeting online on December 9, 2010. Ellen Hampton Filgo was able to use Baylor University’s Elluminate software to facilitate this first-ever virtual meeting of the committee. Overall, attendees felt this was a positive experiment, especially since it allowed participation of some committee members who would be unable to attend ALA Midwinter in San Diego.

The Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee, chaired by Valli Hoski, gave an update on their work. They have been meeting regularly, focusing on evaluation and assessment, and are working towards content updates and possibly changing the delivery method.

A discussion of the Annual 2011 program (Behind the Text: Pulling Back the Curtain on Virtual Reference) was substantive and helped to determine the third panelist as well as the “misconceptions” of virtual reference that will be debunked for the presentation.

A brief discussion on ALA Annual 2012 was also held. This was continued at an informal gathering of the committee during the MARS All-Committee Meeting at ALA Midwinter.

At ALA Midwinter, it was announced that Alicia Korenman would be leaving the committee and her position as Co-chair due to a change in her career. The committee would like to thank her for her service and enthusiasm. Taking her place as MARS Co-chair on the committee will be Ellen Hampton Filgo, whose extensive experience in virtual reference will be a great asset in her new leadership role on the committee.


Daniel Boozer, Co-Chair


Alicia Korenman (MARS), Co-Chair


Web Advisory

Plans to move the ALA site from the current content management system to the open source Drupal continue to progress. This migration, a great migration in more ways than one, will be staged and occur over several months. It can’t come soon enough as far as the RSS Web Advisory Committee is concerned. Any substantive changes to the look and feel of the RSS web site have to wait for this migration. Stay tuned for more information about the migration.

Virginia Cole, Chair and Webmaster

Message from the Chair

Hello everyone! With all the snow and ice that many of us have been experiencing lately, San Diego seems like a lovely dream even though we were there just a few short weeks ago! For those of you who were able to attend the midwinter conference, I hope you found it as fruitful as I did.

The STARS Executive Committee meeting was held on Monday, January 10. One of the topics of discussion was the very successful workshop held on the previous Friday. We once again offered our “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about ILL but Were Afraid to Ask” workshop which was very well attended. Plans are already underway to offer this workshop prior to the midwinter meeting next year in Dallas. The Committee also discussed plans of the STARS Education and Training Committee to create an online interlibrary loan course for RUSA. Details are being finalized for the proposal, and if accepted, we may begin offering this course soon. Other topics of discussion were surveys being developed, outreach to new members, and planning for the programs at annual.

STARS is sponsoring two programs for ALA Annual Conference 2011 in New Orleans entitled Working Smart: Managing the Increase in Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing and What Does Cooperation in Libraries Mean? Tools and Pitfalls in Creating Successful Resource Sharing & Collections Agreements. These promise to be great programs.

As always, the STARS Executive Board would love to hear from you. So, if you have any questions or concerns or suggestions for programming or improvements, please let me know!

Sherri Michaels, Chair


STARS Education and Training Committee

The STARS Education and Training Committee again sponsored the very popular Everything You Always Wanted to Know about ILL but Were Afraid to ask ALA Midwinter preconference workshop. The workshop was held on Friday, January 7, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, at the San Diego Public Library. Kymberly Goodson of UCSD did a wonderful job in organizing this year’s workshop. Presenters were: Megan Gaffney (borrowing), Karen Janke (lending), Cindy Kristof (copyright) and Collette Mak (standards and resources).

Sponsors of this year’s workshop were Lyrasis, OCLC, Relais International, the San Diego Public Library, and the Northwest Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference.

We had fifty-four registrants. Of those, thirty-five filled out questionnaires. Most of the attendees came from California and most were from academic libraries. The respondents were evenly divided between librarians and support staff. All respondents who answered the question “would you recommend this workshop to a colleague” said “yes.”

Margaret Bean, Chair


Hot Topics Discussion Group

The Hot Topics Discussion Group did not disappoint at ALA Midwinter 2011. Thirty-five members showed up to join in an engaging discussion of a variety of Hot Topics. All who attended came away having learned from or shared useful information with their peers. Following is a summary of the discussion.

Those receiving poor quality article scans were urged to contact the lending libraries to let them know as they might be unaware of the problem. Patron-driven acquisitions ideas, policies, and cultures were shared. Some institutions have merged ILL and acquisitions functions, others have collection development policies as to when to borrow or when to purchase based on lending requests. A couple libraries agreed to share their collection development policies on the ILL-L and STARS-L listservs. Regarding textbook borrowing and lending policies, some do not lend or borrow textbooks, some purchase and place textbooks on reserve, some encourage faculty to place personal copies on reserves, and others do borrow and lend. E-journal and E-book licensing issues were discussed; some lament losing first sale rights with those licenses.

Springer e-books allow one chapter of a book to be lent, ebrary, two chapters; no other vendors’ options were reported. On the Ariel vs. Odyssey issue, folks simply reported what they did, which even included emailing PDFs when all else failed. International lending issues turn out to be complex because of U.S. shipping and customs issues. Some continue to lend internationally. Problems with ILL between the U.S. and Canadian libraries are particularly problematic due to customs requirements. The problem of the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) discontinuing its reporting option of sending spreadsheets to CCC for data entry was discussed briefly, but few seemed to have this as a workflow issue in their libraries. Many suggest using the functions in OCLC for this, although some have to do the data entry themselves outside of OCLC.

Julia Gustafson, Chair


Interlibrary Loan Discussion Group

The ILL Discussion Group met on Saturday, January 8, from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm. Kristina Eden of the University of Michigan Library gave a presentation on the HathiTrust Digital Library (, a digital preservation repository with a current membership of over 50 libraries. Cyril Oberlander of the SUNY Geneseo Library delivered a presentation on the IDS Project and the Getting It System Toolkit.

Megan Gaffney, Chair


Committee Reports

Codes, Guidelines and Technical Standards

The Committee reviewed the Guidelines for Interlibrary Loan Operations Management document, which was sent back to the Committee from the RUSA Standards & Guidelines Committee (S&G) with a list of suggested revisions, some of which were major. The Codes Committee accepted most grammatical and wording changes. Most of the meeting was spent discussing the major revisions. The updated and revised Guidelines were then forwarded to the Executive Committee.

As a next project, the Committee discussed investigating the status of resource sharing courses in library schools, and perhaps partnering with other groups to bring this issue to the forefront. Other committees in STARS, for example the Rethinking Resource Sharing Committee may already be working on this issue.

The Committee will be having a conference call in February and will meet in person in New Orleans at the ALA 2011 Annual Meeting.

Jennifer Bartlett, Chair


Education and Training

The Committee agreed that we would like to hold our fifth Everything You Always Wanted to Know about ILL but Were Afraid to Ask workshop at ALA in Dallas on Friday, January 20, 2012. Committee members are contacting colleagues in the area to locate a free workshop location.

Mary Hollerich has agreed to organize the online ILL course. She has met with the course presenters and is preparing a project description to submit to RUSA. Course presenters will be: Mary Hollerich, Tina Baich, Meghan Gaffney, Collette Mak, and Cindy Kristof.

The Committee discussed progress on our project to interview library school deans about why ILL/Access Services is not taught in library school. We decided that rather than focus on deans we should direct our efforts to raising the awareness of library school students about ILL/Access Services. We felt that the best way to do this would be to create a series of vignettes about the rewards of ILL to post on YouTube.

Margaret Bean, Chair


Licensing & Legislation

The Committee discussed new copyright legislation such as the resent Costco v. Omega case and its implications to library ILL lending. More details can be found at

Also under discussion and subject to future scrutiny are: electronic journal embargoes, and teaming with the Vendor Relations committee to explore options, including license contract addenda, Print/Scan/Send v. Direct Sending questions and issues, e-book licensing and ILL processing challenges, the standardization of electronic resource license language, and finally, the IDS Project.

We plan to continue to utilize the web space provided on the ALA Connect Licensing & Legislation page to bring to the forefront recent news and updates regarding licensing and legislation issues that will impact resource sharing. The Committee plans to meet via teleconference on a monthly basis and encourages the ALA community to forward the group any breaking news that they do not see on the ALA Connect Licensing & Legislation page.

Joseph Sharpe, Chair



The Committee met by conference call on January 5. The members discussed the list of The 5 Things Every New Resource Sharing Librarian Should Know. All members agreed to work from this list to create a web page linking to resources for early career resource sharing librarians. The group slightly amended the five items, which are now:

●     Guidelines & Laws

●      Automation

●     Customer Service

●     Education and Networking

●     Assessment

Each member of the Committee agreed to take responsibility for creating a rough draft of one of the above topics. It was decided that each section will consist of a brief introduction stating the item’s importance, a list of resources, and suggested best practices. The group agreed to have these preliminary drafts completed by February 5. At that time we will start to work as a group to refine, add resources, and otherwise finish the content.

The Committee also discussed the STARS welcome email. After a few minor changes, the group agreed that this is ready to go to the Executive Committee for approval.

The STARS Happy Hour at Annual 2011 was discussed. It was decided that we would ask friends and colleagues familiar with New Orleans for suggestions and talk more about the Happy Hour later.

The group discussed officially becoming a virtual committee. It was decided that we would continue to plan an in-person meeting for ALA Annual, but Midwinter would be strictly virtual from now on. Special effort will be made to include our virtual-only members at Annual.

Nora Dethloff, Chair


Research & Statistics

The Committee covered two main topics during its meeting.

The first was the participant evaluations from the preconference during Annual in Washington, D.C. The evaluations were turned in immediately following the preconference. Lorna Newman has been unable to obtain either the evaluations or copies from RUSA staff since then. We have requested the assistance of Sherri Michaels as Chair of STARS to assist in retrieving these evaluations.

The second topic was the development of a comprehensive glossary of resource sharing terms. We have begun accumulating glossaries from the various vendors and have posted several on our committee site on ALA Connect. Thus far we have collected glossaries from OCLC and ILLiad and brief glossaries from IFLA, Docline, and Rapid. We still need to get glossaries from VDX, Clio, Relais, ARL and any other vendors we can identify. Anyone who can assist us with these glossaries would be appreciated. I will begin to accumulate these glossaries into a matrix for easier comparison.

Johnny Johnson, Chair


Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies

The Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies Committee has launched the Rethinking Resource Sharing Star Checklist. The Star Checklist is comprised of sixty-four questions related to delivering resource sharing services, providing librarians an opportunity to reflect on the services they provide. We hope the process of reviewing the Checklist will inspire resource sharing practitioners as they consider how best to meet the needs of their communities, and possibly rethink how they are delivering such important services.

The Checklist is now available on the Rethinking Resource Sharing website and will be distributed via various listservs in the coming weeks/months.

Evan Simpson, Chair


Vendor Relations Committee

The Vendor Relations Committee decided to initiate a conversation with the Codes Committee regarding lending requests ILL departments receive from for-profit commercial vendors. We assume that copyright royalties are being properly cleared by a borrowing for-profit vendor.

We wish to discuss regularly released reports of most-requested items from OCLC. Lists could be most requested books, most requested journals (article requests), and unfilled most requested journals. The purpose of these reports would be to support Collection Development. Members discussed this with Tony Melvyn at the OCLC booth and have received a sample report.

We will defer to the Statistics Committee regarding regular, standardized statistical reports from vendors across the board. They are working on a thesaurus which would standardize vocabulary in reports from vendors.

We would like to invite representatives from various ILL vendors to be standing members of the Vendor Relations Committee.

There is a need for standardized vocabulary in licenses covering electronic content regarding permissions for ILL Lending.

We would like to see if thematic conference calls could be held for our Committee, and we would invite appropriate vendors to participate.

John de La Fontaine, Chair

President’s Note

With Midwinter being in early January, 2011 got off to a quick start. RUSA had a variety of events at Midwinter, including a very well-attended RUSA Social. I’d like to pass on my thanks and congratulations to Liane Taylor and the RUSA Membership Committee and to Liz Markel and Susan Hornung in RUSA Office for coordinating such a wonderful event. We had over 200 attendees, both RUSA members and potential members. It is always great to see so many librarians coming together to celebrate their passion for reference work.

This Midwinter also featured our first virtual Town Hall meeting. For RUSA members who could not attend the Town Hall in person, we opened up three chat rooms where they could post questions or comments and get live feeds on the meeting. Thanks to RUSA Councilor Kathleen Kern and our Emerging Leader Kate Kosturski who worked the chat rooms during the meeting. We had about a dozen virtual participants at the meeting. I am hopeful that this model offers members expanded opportunity to participate in RUSA without having to be there in person. At the Town Hall and at the RUSA Board Big Think that followed, there was much discussion about where RUSA should be in the future. In 2012, RUSA enters a new strategic planning period, and as a start to that process, I will be working with the Board and Sections to set up a taskforce to look at the future of RUSA. This taskforce will help to shape RUSA’s directions.

While at Midwinter, I also had the opportunity to see firsthand one of RUSA’s many projects that support libraries and librarians across the country. RUSA is the administrator for the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) Investor Education Foundation’s program Smart investing @ your library®. The program offers grants to libraries that are developing creative and practical programs and services to educate user groups about wise investing and financial decision-making. Through the FINRA Foundation, part of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the grants fund “public library efforts to provide library patrons with access to effective, unbiased financial education resources.” This year there were twenty grant recipients, sixteen new grantees and four continuing projects. Since 2007, sixty-four libraries have received grants through the Smart investing @ your library® program. This year grants were awarded to libraries from Apache Junction, Arizona and Chesterfield, Virginia to Florence, South Carolina and Pelham, Alabama There were large library systems represented as well as smaller libraries, but all of them had put together thoughtful and creative programs to offer much-needed financial information to their users. Some libraries were targeting young members of the community, others focused on seniors. Libraries have developed programs aimed at single-mothers, military spouses, and low income families. A key component of many of the programs is collaboration, and grantee libraries have developed some excellent models for partnerships in their communities. Partners have included local government agencies, colleges and universities, and state CPA organizations whose expertise has expanded the reach of the library projects. I was excited to see the ideas that librarians were coming up with to reach out to new segments of their communities, and I am delighted that RUSA has been able to work with our partners in ALA and at the FINRA Foundation to provide these opportunities. At our RUSA Board meeting at Midwinter, the Board approved continuing the relationship between RUSA and the Smart investing @ your library® program. More information about Smart investing @ your library® can be found at For more information on the FINRA Foundation and access to a variety of useful tools for working with investors, see

The Smart investing @ your library® program is just one of the many ways that RUSA provides resources and information to librarians and then to our users. This sort of commitment to working collaboratively to serve our users is a hallmark of RUSA members and one of the things that will carry us forward in the profession, whatever sort of library we work in.

Barry Trott
RUSA President 2010-11

$1.4 Million in Grants Awarded to Public Libraries through FINRA Investor Education Foundation and ALA Smart investing@your library Partnership

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association (ALA) have announced $1.4 million in grants to 20 recipients as a part of the Smart investing@your library® initiative.

Smart investing@your library® is administered jointly by the Reference and User Services Association – a division of ALA – and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The program funds library efforts to provide patrons with effective, unbiased financial education resources. Now in its fourth year, the program has awarded a total of more than $4.6 million to public libraries and library networks nationwide.

The new grant recipients will use the funds to implement a variety of programs designed to increase patrons’ access to and understanding of financial information. The grants target a diverse group of library patrons – among them youth, seniors, English-language learners, local employment counselors, members of the military and their spouses, and low-income families. Participating libraries will use a variety of technologies and outreach strategies to connect library users to the best financial education and information available. These strategies include gaming, online learning, classroom formats, one-on-one clinics, storytelling and staff training.
The grantees will partner with community organizations, schools, universities and local governments to expand the impact of the services and resources the grants enable. Library patrons will be empowered to make educated financial choices for both long-term investing and day-to-day money matters.
The grantees, which serve urban, suburban and rural communities across the country, will receive one to two years of funding, in addition to assistance with program marketing, outreach and evaluation provided by ALA. For more information about Smart investing@your library®, visit

The new grant recipients are:

Apache Junction Public Library, Apache Junction, AZ
The Apache Junction Public Library will partner with the University of Arizona to offer financial literacy classes at the library and other community locations, emphasizing the small steps residents can take to lead a healthy lifestyle, both physically and financially.
Grant amount: $70,200

Burlington County Library System, Westampton, NJ
Burlington County Library System will partner with Rutgers University Cooperative Extension, the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education and the library/technology center at nearby Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to offer a variety of personal finance and investing workshops for adults. These face-to-face sessions will be supplemented by customizable Web-based learning resources.
Grant amount: $95,942

Camden Public Library, Camden, ME
The Camden Public Library and its partners will undertake a multipart campaign to reach every household in the town with a variety of personal finance messages, resources and utilities. The project will give particular attention to students in high school and working adults in the community.
Grant amount: $45,440

Carmel Clay Public Library, Carmel, IN
Carmel Clay Public Library will collaborate with the local public school system, the Ball State University Center for Economic Education, the Indiana Council for Economic Education and the Indiana Youth Institute to establish the library as the county’s focal point for personal finance learning. The program will address money basics for teens, college financing, retirement planning and investor protection, among other topics.
Grant amount: $84,600

Chesterfield County Public Library, Chesterfield, VA
Chesterfield County Public Library will work with local elementary schools, PTAs and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond to help moms and their children understand the mathematics of personal finance and investing.
Grant amount: $81,600

Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, ME
Curtis Memorial Library and its partners will offer a financial literacy program tailored to the specific information needs and learning styles of women in three life stages: teens and young women entering the workforce (ages 15–24), women in midlife in various stages of transition that require smart financial management (ages 25–44), and women entering retirement age (ages 55–65).
Grant amount: $72,950

Emmet O’Neal Library, Mountain Brook, AL
The Emmet O’Neal Library will collaborate with the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Junior Achievement to offer multigenerational programming of broad appeal to the community. The program will begin with performances by a professional storyteller, who will prepare narratives about money and investing and how they can affect relationships, particularly among friends and family. This kick-off event will be followed by a series of educational offerings targeting teens, young families and women who are recently widowed or divorced and have never before handled finances.
Grant amount: $46,200

Florence County Library System, Florence, SC
Florence County Library System will pursue a multigenerational financial literacy strategy in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and others. The project will reach children, teens/young adults, seniors and low- to moderate-income residents to help them become financially savvy and alert them to money scams.
Grant amount: $47,949

Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence, KS
Lawrence Public Library will incorporate a new financial wellness clinic into its business center to provide straightforward money management and investing information to low-income families. This will be accomplished through partnerships with the local school district and social services agencies, a series of educational workshops and a promotional campaign using both traditional and social media.
Grant amount: $52,800

Martin County Library System, Stuart, FL
Martin County Library System and the University of Florida Cooperative Extension will provide a graduated series of personal finance and investing workshops for lower-income residents referred by Habitat for Humanity and local social services agencies. The programming will emphasize the financial considerations pertaining to homeownership, saving for children’s education, planning for retirement and rebuilding a nest egg.
Grant amount: $45,054

Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries, Martinsburg, WV
The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries will partner with the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College to establish a four-part financial literacy program serving county residents under the theme “Free-Way to Financial Information.” The program will include a family financial fair featuring services available in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, special programming on financial basics for children and teens delivered with assistance from the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, financial seminars for adults, and a “CASH Corridor” on the library system’s website with multimedia personal finance resources.
Grant amount: $79,560

Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, WI
The Milwaukee Public Library will leverage partnerships with Make a Difference-Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Department on Aging and Money Smart Week to improve financial literacy among high school students, address the investor protection needs of senior citizens and provide basic financial education to the broader community.
Grant amount: $99,000

Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington, IN
The Monroe County Public Library will target teens and 20-somethings, including Spanish speakers, through 15 workshops and 15 “talk-to-an-expert” sessions on five high-priority topics: budgeting, saving, spending, managing credit and debt, and investing. Programs will occur at the library and various county locations, and will be produced with assistance from Purdue Extension, in part to leverage communitywide attention to Indiana Saves and Money Smart Week.
Grant amount: $79,582

Newton Free Library, Newton, MA
Librarians, financial literacy experts and volunteers will collaborate to integrate financial education into the library’s English-as-a-second-language services and to offer a full complement of public programs on personal finance topics, including preparing for retirement.
Grant amount: $81,811

Orange County Library System, Orlando, FL
Orange County Library System will continue its partnership with the Graduate School of Business at Rollins College to serve the financial and investor education needs of lower-income and Spanish-speaking residents, especially wage earners in the region’s hospitality industry.
Grant amount: $51,150

Pelham Public Library, Pelham, AL
The University of Alabama, Jefferson State Community College and the Alabama Cooperative Extension Center will assist Pelham Public Library in delivering a financial literacy initiative for youth, adults, seniors and Spanish-speaking library patrons.
Grant amount: $88,546

Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Youngstown, OH
The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County will partner with Junior Achievement, experts in museum exhibit design and the Mahoning County Financial Stability Partnership to provide a continuum of family-centered financial education experiences and services.
Grant amount: $95,102

Santa Clara County Library, Los Gatos, CA
The Santa Clara County Library project will emphasize staff training on financial topics and related reference resources. This training will be led by faculty from nearby higher education institutions and made available to all librarians within the Pacific Library Partnership, a consortium of four regional library systems. In addition to staff training, patron workshops on investing literacy will be offered at Santa Clara’s seven libraries. The public workshops will be complemented by a personal finance portal added to the library’s website, offering relevant materials in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
Grant amount: $100,000

Schaumburg Township District Library, Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Township District Library and its partners (including the University of Illinois Extension) will organize and train a network of local employment counselors and social service agencies to act as intermediaries in the provision of basic personal finance information and refer clients to the resources and programs available at and through the library.
Grant amount: $87,000

Washington-Centerville Public Library, Centerville, OH
Washington-Centerville Public Library and the nearby Hithergreen Senior Center will establish a series of financial seminars geared towards adults ages 50 and over in the region. Among various topics, the seminars will address healthy finances and establishing saving and investing goals, recovering from job loss and other financial challenges, IRAs, investing strategies for seniors, identity theft and financial scams targeting seniors.
Grant amount: $30,000

Tickets now on sale for 2011 Literary Tastes Breakfast featuring best adult reading authors

All book lovers and adult readers are invited to celebrate the best writing and most outstanding authors of 2011 at the Literary Tastes Breakfast, an Annual Conference tradition hosted by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

The breakfast, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday, June 26, features authors from RUSA’s 2011 literary book award selections, including the Notable Books List for outstanding fiction, non-fiction and poetry; The Reading List for the best genre fiction of the year; the Sophie Brody Medal for achievement in Jewish literature; the Dartmouth Medal for an outstanding reference work; and the Outstanding Reference Sources list. Authors read from their work, ruminate on writing and sign books, while attendees enjoy a scrumptious breakfast. Authors participating in this year’s event will be announced throughout the spring at the RUSA website, RUSA blog and Registration for the breakfast and conference is now available at the 2011 Annual Conference website.
The breakfast is a ticketed event sponsored by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) of RUSA and is one of many CODES events at the Annual Conference. Conference participants can add the breakfast to their registration by locating it on the list of ticketed events in the online registration form (event code RUS2) located at Those not attending the conference are invited to purchase tickets for the breakfast only by selected “Preconferences and Ticketed Events Only” as their registration type, then selecting the Literary Tastes Breakfast from the event list.
Breakfast tickets start at $50 for RUSA members, who receive the best price on this and other RUSA events throughout the conference. At the time of publication, Guy Gavriel Kay, author of “Under Heaven”, the 2011 Reading List Fantasy top pick had been confirmed to speak at the breakfast.

Genealogy, business reference, collaboration and older adults topics of 2011 RUSA preconferences

There’s something for everyone among the four preconferences hosted by various special interest sections of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference.

Librarians and support staff from all types of libraries will find this year’s preconferences of interest—topics covered this year will include library services to older adults; genealogy reference basics and local resources; effective collaboration strategies between librarians and their IT departments; and business reference basics. All events will be held at one of the conference hotels, and are open to any interested individual. More information about all of these preconferences is available in the Professional Development section of the RUSA website.

We are also offering group pricing for this year’s preconferences. These discounted rates are available to any library, library network or system who registers three or more of their employees for any combination of RUSA preconferences. More information, including the group registration form, is on the RUSA website.
This year’s RUSA preconferences are:

  • Effective Library Service to Older Adults Seeking Employment and Volunteer Opportunities
    Friday, June 24, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Hosted by RUSA RSS

    The current recession has prompted many older adults to seek employment or volunteer opportunities. How are libraries responding to the job search assistance needs of these older job seekers? This preconference will describe various library programs as well as provide an overview of prospective partners, including resources that may be available through the Workforce Investment Act and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
    Advance Registration (through May 13, 2011): RUSA member, $125;
    ALA member, $170; non-member, $215; student and retired members, $105.
    GROUP RATES: $120 each until May 13
  • The Genealogy Reference Desk: How to Make it Big and Easy
    Friday, June 24, 2011, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Hosted by RUSA History Section (HS)
    RUSA’s History Section hosts another outstanding genealogy reference workshop. In addition to covering basic skills for effective genealogy reference services, this event will feature expert speakers on local and specialized resources that help answer the more challenging research questions. Librarians from public, academic and all other types of libraries interested in learning how to use genealogy-related resources more effectively will benefit from this session. Lunch is sponsored by ProQuest.
    Advance Registration (through May 13, 2011): RUSA member, $100;
    ALA member, $145; non-member, $220; student and retired members, $75.
    GROUP RATES: $95 each until May 13
  • Strange Bedfellows: IT and Reference Collaborations to Enhance User Experiences
    Friday, June 24, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Hosted by RUSA MARS and RUSA RSS
    This pre-conference will present strategies for successful collaborations between Reference and IT departments. Innovative approaches to enhance user experiences frequently require collaborations between reference and IT. Speakers will draw from personal experiences in order to illustrate how a successful collaboration is achieved and how to overcome challenges along the way. Breakout sessions will provide participants with an opportunity to delve further into strategies that appeal to them.
    Advance Registration (through May 13, 2011): RUSA member, $185;
    ALA member, $205; non-member, $230; student and retired members, $160.
    GROUP RATES: $175 each until May 13
  • Business Reference 101: Core Competencies for Business Librarianship
    Friday, June 24, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Hosted by RUSA BRASS
    This full-day interactive workshop is designed for new business librarians; generalists who have assumed responsibility in business librarianship; or librarians who handle business reference-related inquiries in all types of libraries including academic, public and special libraries. Rhonda Kleiman, economic development manager at the Library System of Lancaster and Bobray Bordelon, economics and finance librarian/data services librarian at Princeton University will present.
    Advance Registration (through May 13, 2011): RUSA member, $195;
    ALA member, $225; non-member, $295; student and retired members, $165.
    GROUP RATES: $175 each until May 13

Interested participants have the option to register for just a RUSA preconference, or for both a preconference and the Annual Conference. For preconference-only registration using the online form (login required), select “SO-Preconference and Ticketed Events Only” as the registration type and proceed to select this event from the list of ticketed events. Conference registrants can add this event to their registration, and will find it under the list of ticketed events and preconferences in the online form. Event codes are listed above in the event descriptions for those using the printed registration form for fax or mail. Advance registration rates are available through May 13, and prices will increase after that date. Registration for all RUSA preconferences will close Sunday, Jun. 19.

Launch of on RUSA website

Looking for information about all things literary going on with RUSA? Bookmark, where you’ll find links to our literary awards lists, event information for the Literary Tastes Breakfast and Midwinter Book and Media Awards and more. There’s a blog feed that links into the RUSA blog’s “Book Love” posting category. We also have a section of the page called Tools, and we’ll be adding to this over time. Right now we’ve listed our newly-established Goodreads account in this section—become our friend on Goodreads and easily add the literary award winners to your to-be-read list!
If you’re looking for the landing page from the RUSA homepage, click on “RUSA Awards” in the left menu, then “Literary Tastes” in the submenu.

RUSA@2011 Annual Conference

As we move ahead to the Annual Conference in New Orleans, stay tuned to the Professional Development section of the RUSA website for a complete list of programming and other events. Access that page here. Right now it includes individual and group pricing for preconferences, a list of programs and an overview of discussion groups. The information will be updated as it becomes available from Conference Services. Visit for more information about the conference, or register online now (login required).

Here are some dates to keep in mind:
Early Bird Registration: Ends March 4, 2011
Advance Registration: March 5 – May 13, 2011
Regular Registration: May 14 – on-site in New Orleans
RUSA Preconference and Ticketed Event Registration: Ends June 19, 2011

Messages from RUSA Board and Division Committees


RUSA Divisional Webmaster (Volunteer Position Announcement)
The RUSA Divisional Webmaster is responsible for maintaining and developing content related to RUSA-divisional committees (such as Membership, Standards and Guidelines, Professional Development, Publications and Communications, and others) for the official RUSA web site. This volunteer position will work closely with RUSA’s office staff person that supports the RUSA web site.

The RUSA web site is located on the American Library Association’s web server at: and serves as an electronic forum for RUSA—and ALA-related business. It is used to disseminate information and to maintain archives on RUSA divisional-level committees and their activities. Contents may include RUSA-wide committee web sites, projects, publications, and rosters; official documents of the Association; announcements of programs, meetings, and conference activities; and news and resources for those concerned with emerging issues in reference and information services in libraries.
Required qualifications: Experience with creating and editing HTML documents and loading them on to a web server; familiarity with and access to the Internet and electronic mail; good communications skills; a demonstrated ability to work independently and to meet deadlines; membership in RUSA; and participation in the ALA Annual Conference and the ALA Midwinter Meeting (either in-person or virtually).

The individual will serve a two-year appointment, eligible for renewal upon application by the incumbent.

Individuals interested in the position should email a resume and a statement of interest by April 1, 2011 to the Chair of the RUSA Publications and Communications Committee:

Amber Prentiss
University of Georgia
Athens, GA

Committee Reports

RUSA Professional Development Committee
At the Midwinter Meeting the RUSA Professional Development Committee discussed the existing Webinar and Continuing Education (CE) course proposal forms and guidelines. Earlier discussion among the committee on ALA Connect concluded that these need significant revision. The following are needed:

  1. A document explaining the proposal process and required information
  2. A document stating the criteria the committee uses to evaluate proposals for Webinars
  3. A document stating the criteria the committee uses for multi-session online courses

Jeannette Pierce, Beth Wood, and Diana Shonrock agreed to draft these documents by mid-March. Jeannette volunteered to lead the effort.

Once these draft documents are distributed for committee comment, the next task will be to develop a document that provides guidance on developing a good proposal. Another on effective presentation techniques for online education is also highly desirable.

The committee also reviewed pending webinar and course proposals and directed the committee chair to communicate the committee’s sense to those who submitted the proposals. Those communications have been sent.

Notes from your Emerging Leader

The ALA Midwinter Meeting also marked the start of my Emerging Leader Year (rather, half-year; the program concludes for me at Annual in June) with an all-day workshop on Friday, January 7. This workshop gave me insight into the organizational and governance structures of ALA (finally, I know the difference between a Division, a Round Table, a Committee, and an Interest Group!), an overview of the Emerging Leader program, and thoughtful discussion on leadership.

It was the last of these items that interested me most. Coming from the corporate world (specifically, the legal profession) I wondered if my views on leadership differed from my peers who have established careers in libraries and related public professions—namely, if there were attributes present in librarianship that one might not see in the corporate world. Fortunately, there is much overlap! Leadership traits like communication, trust, empathy, accountability, and inspiration—among many others—find equal weight in public and private sectors. I left my long day of work inspired, refreshed, and ready to get started on our team project: a collection development policy for video game collections.

The day also gave each group time to meet their team leaders and mentors in person. With Facebook and other social networking materials, we already knew each other on a superficial level, but face-to-face time discussing our projects and engaging in general conversation establishes necessary rapport. You’re going to be working together on a project for approximately six months; it’s very important that everyone do his or her best to get off on the right foot!

The rest of Midwinter was nothing short of enjoyable. The warm weather—warm comparable to my home in the Northeast—added to the camaraderie and free exchange of ideas. I learned about video games in libraries, transliteracy, emerging technologies, Library of Congress initiatives with linked data, new products and services from our partner vendors—including my own employer, JSTOR—and thanks to Twitter, attended the ALTAFF Gala Authors’ Tea!

I also had the opportunity to sit in on the RUSA Board Meeting monitoring their chat rooms for questions and ideas during the Town Hall portion of the meeting. As travel budgets shrink, virtual participation like this will be necessary to keep membership engaged, and I certainly hope RUSA continues to use chat rooms at future meetings and panels.

It was after I returned home to New Jersey (on time, one of the lucky ones—too many colleagues and friends were stuck in San Diego for a few extra days thanks to nasty weather!) that the real work as an Emerging Leader began. Our group has six months to write a draft collection development policy for video games, prepare a sample MARC record, and draft a “core collection” of video games for libraries wanting to start their own collection. I chose the project for several reasons—a chance to produce a deliverable that will serve the greatest population of members, experience in collection development (I assisted my school’s collection development course for two years), a desire to learn more about video games, and the chance to work with amazing mentors and friends who are on the forefront of video gaming in libraries (two of our mentors, Justin Hoenke and JP Porcaro, founded, a website and blog devoted to spreading the word about video games and librarianship). Our group is in the data-gathering stage right now, soliciting information from public, academic, and K-12 libraries on their collections. If you have video game collection in your library and have some time to answer questions, please contact me via one of the email addresses listed below. We’ll be presenting our work at the Annual Conference on Friday, June 24, and I invite all RUSA members to stop by and view all the Emerging Leader projects.

I hope all my fellow RUSA members have a wonderful snowstorm-free rest of the winter, a good winter semester/quarter (if you’re an academic librarian), and I look forward to seeing everyone in New Orleans this June.