Letter from the President

Midwinter has come and gone and a great deal of work happened in Seattle (and at home around the Seattle conference). Now it is time to look forward to the ALA Conference in Chicago. What are YOUR ideas? Let me know what you think.

RUSA Book and Media Awards
On Sunday, January 27 in Seattle, there was a glittering reception with a standing-room only crowd to celebrate the winners of the annual RUSA Book and Media Awards. These awards honor wonderful books in print and on audio that you will want to read as well as websites you will want to bookmark and visit again and again. Follow the links below to see the winners.

Mark Your Calendar for RUSA’s Premier Book Celebrations
Join us in Chicago at the Annual Conference on Sunday, June 30, 2013, for a day devoted to books. The day begins with the Literary Tastes author program where you will hear authors talk about their work, then meet them in person as they sign (free) books for you.

At the end of the day we will celebrate the gala 2nd Annual Awards Ceremony for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, sponsored by RUSA and Booklist. RUSA provides a home to the best in adult reading! Get your tickets at the conference registration site.

Lee Rainie Headlines RUSA President’s Program in Chicago
I am pleased to announce that Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project will present information at the RUSA President’s Program during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago about how people use information and libraries, based on Pew’s recent research. You have often seen the media coverage of the many wonderful surveys from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Several reports, on teens and young adults, on the use of e-books in libraries, and on the use of libraries have come out in the past year. The most recent of these was released on January 23 and others are scheduled to be released this spring.

Join us for Rainie’s presentation, entitled The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program, scheduled for 4:00 P.M. on Saturday June 29. He will talk with us about the results of the Pew studies and the questions librarians in all types of libraries should be asking themselves as they consider this data. Be sure to also attend the follow-up discussion forum the next morning (Sunday, June 30) at 10:30 a.m. where Emily Ford, David Lankes, and Marie Radford will interact with Mr. Rainie and the participants in the forum to discuss the characteristics of library users and their implications for libraries and the services we offer.

Financial Literacy Education
The RUSA Executive Director participated in a meeting in Washington, D.C., with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) leadership team about financial literacy education, and RUSA has been encouraged to develop new financial literacy resources. The BRASS Executive Board enthusiastically agreed to work on a plan and the RUSA Executive Committee approved applying for a Sparks grant to develop a plan to create guidelines and best practices/competencies in financial literacy education for libraries. The grant proposal has been submitted. Keep your fingers crossed!

Just Ask Team Moves Forward
The Just Ask Team is charged to develop a plan to celebrate the reference services of libraries and to raise awareness of library information services. As a first step, the group sponsored a very well-attended discussion at the Midwinter meeting in Seattle focused on reviewing the current RUSA definition of reference services, on discussing the roles of reference librarians, and on generating ideas for advocacy tools for reference librarians to use in promoting their work. A number of exciting ideas were generated for campaigns and advocacy tools. Stay tuned for more on this exciting work.

We want to include you in our work next year. The incoming RUSA President, Kathleen Kern, will be appointing RUSA level committees this spring. Section vice-chairs will be appointing section committees as well.

Share your expertise! You will find more information at the RUSA web site at http://www.ala.org/rusa/. Click on the link to Committee Rosters to see the charge for each group.

Once you know what you want to do, fill out the online form at the RUSA Committees site and click on the link to the RUSA Online Volunteer Form. We want to hear from you!

The Last Word….
Please take a few minutes to review the information from sections and committees that appears in this newsletter. RUSA, its sections, and its members are doing marvelous things. Be in the know!

Don’t forget to vote in the ALA and RUSA Elections. We have a wonderful slate of candidates for RUSA and section offices. Please be sure to cast your ballot before the deadline. RUSA is your organization. It is important for you to determine its direction.

As always, I want to hear from you about any ideas and suggestions you might have. Please write to me at popp@indiana.edu.

Mary Pagliero Popp
RUSA President 2012-2013

RUSA Announcements

Online Learning
RUSA has several upcoming online courses this spring! Topics include reference interview; interlibrary loan; spatial literacy, GIS and online mapping; and more. Webinars are being scheduled now, too. Dates, course descriptions and registration information are found at the Online Learning page on the RUSA website.

RUSA @ ALA Annual Conference
Learn more about what’s happening with RUSA in Chicago at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference by visiting the RUSA website. Highlights include Business Reference 101: Core Competencies for Business Librarianship, a preconference hosted by RUSA BRASS; the RUSA President’s Program featuring Lee Rainie; the Literary Tastes author program and the announcement of the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Fiction and Nonfiction at an evening reception on Sunday, June 30! Learn more about the conference at www.alaannual.org and register now.

Stay in Touch! Explore ways to engage with RUSA and get the latest division news.

RUSA Committees

RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee
The RUSA sections and committees will be presenting fifteen fantastic programs at Annual Conference 2013 in Chicago, as well as the Business Reference 101 preconference from BRASS on Friday, June 28. Register now at http://ala13.ala.org.

The preliminary RUSA program schedule for Annual 2013 in Chicago:

Friday, June 28
8:00 am-4:00 pm
Preconference: Business Reference 101: Core Competencies for Business Librarianship
[Special registration required]

Saturday, June 29

  • 8:30 -10:00 A.M.
    Collection Development & Community Expectations: Managing collections and balancing resources in an era of budgetary constraints
  • 10:30 -11:30 A.M.
    Beyond Genre: Exploring the Perception, Uses, and Misuses of Genre by Readers, Writers, and Librarians
  • 10:30 -11:30 A.M.
    Smart investing@your library: Community Connector
  • 1:00 -2:30 A.M.
    19th Annual Reference Research Forum
  • 1:00 -2:30 P.M.
    Enhancing services through integration of Interlibrary Loan and Acquisitions
  • 4:00 – 5:30 P.M.
    The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program

Sunday, June 30

  • 8:30 am-10:00 A.M.
    Library Engagement in National History Day Activities
  • 8:30 am-10:00 A.M.
    Literary Tastes
  • 10:30 am-11:30 A.M.
    Does Your Data Deliver for Decision Making?: New Directions for Resource Sharing Assessment
  • 1:00 pm-2:30 pm
    MARS Chair’s Program: Usability, the User Experience & Interface Design: The Role of Reference
  • 1:00 pm-2:30 P.M.
    Different Strokes: Serving the Health Information Needs of a Diverse Community
  • 1:00 pm-2:30 P.M.
    Digital History: New Methodologies Facilitated by New Technologies
  • 3:00 pm-4:00 P.M.
    Leveraging Open Source Software to Create Library Websites

Monday, July 1

  • 8:30 am-10:00 A.M.
    Investment Success! Building & Managing Your Retirement Portfolio
  • 10:30 am-11:30 A.M.
    Preserving Labor’s History

This year the committee has focused much of its attention on ALA Annual Conference 2014 in Las Vegas. Over the fall the committee met twice using RUSA’s Blackboard Collaborate room. We then met in-person during ALA Midwinter in Seattle.

In response to ALA’s Conference Changes Roadmap, the committee has developed a set of recommendations that will impact 2014 Annual Conference programming. Earlier decisions by RUSA Board were used as our starting point. These recommendations were approved by the RUSA Board during ALA Midwinter in Seattle:

  1. Literary Tastes will take the place of “Another RUSA Committee” as a guaranteed program slot.
  2. Each section will be allotted one guaranteed program slot (as opposed to the current guaranteed two programs) with the possibility of additional programs if RUSA receives more options from ALA.
  3. The Executive Committee and CPCC will encourage all sections to consider co-sponsoring programs.
  4. Sections may need to consider diverting program ideas to discussions (face to face or online).
  5. The CPCC will develop a rating tool to approve programs proposed by RUSA sections if additional program slots are available beyond those that are guaranteed.
  6. The RUSA office will develop a process for program organizers to submit an evaluation following every program, which will include attendance numbers. This information will thereafter be available to the CPCC and program planners.

As of this writing, we do not yet know how many programs RUSA will be able to offer at the 2014 Annual Conference. RUSA sections should proceed on developing multiple program proposals with the understanding that at least one should be able to be presented at the conference, and maybe more!

Many thanks to the committee for their teamwork and cooperation!

-Joe Thompson, chair

Just Ask: Defining and Advocating for the Reference Librarian
The Just Ask discussion group, sponsored by RSS, was intended to help the Just Ask committee create a RUSA member-influenced vision of both, which in turn will assist the organization in advocating more effectively for the support and development of quality reference services. Just Ask Committee will further discuss the results of the discussion group at a virtual meeting held after Midwinter.

The discussion was centered around three questions:

  • What do you see as the new or changing roles of reference/information librarians?
  • How might this differ by the type of library?
  • What kind of support (i.e., advocacy, tool kits) will you need to make the public aware of these changing rolls?

With forty-five people in attendance, small groups discussed these questions and then presented their ideas back to the main group.

Some of the themes brought up during the discussion (this is not an exhaustive list): Our roles haven’t changed, but the tools have; services needed to be taken directly to our communities; we need to be better advocates for ourselves and our services.

Some suggestions for what RUSA can do to help: A national marketing campaign, and webinars for library staff related to developing advocacy tools, like elevator speeches.

If you are interested in contributing to the conversation, please contribute your thoughts to the Just Ask forum.

Elizabeth Stephan, co-chair

Emerging Leader Report

As a proud participant of the 2013 ALA Emerging Leader Program I am working with my team to create adult learning tutorials. The project idea was created from the LIRT Committee. During the ALA Midwinter we met for a planning and training session that included meeting with member guides and staff liaisons. I am looking forward to transferring the skills learned for this project into other areas of my professional library work.

On Saturday, January 26th I attended the RUSA Board Meeting at Midwinter. The board members made me feel welcome at the committee meeting. That experience allowed me to observe and partake in group discussions. I am excited about working with committee members with an upcoming project.

I enjoyed attending other committee meetings such as LIRT. I also attended an informative meeting about the school media centers’ role in education. Most of the research came from Pennsylvania and Florida. The presentations highlighted the importance of having an effective school media program.

My final day at the conference started early with a sunrise program celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Jeanne Theoharis, a professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York was the keynote speaker and she discussed the life of activist, Rosa Parks, from her new book The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. Dr. Theoharis talked about Mrs. Parks’s advocacy for justice for African Americans prior to her political stance on the bus in the days of Jim Crow south. The Call-to-Action speech came from Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science. The professor urged the audience to work with male African American youth to help close the literacy achievement gap.

The finale was attending the Youth Media Awards and hearing the announcements of literary award winners. It was with great pleasure to see the committees who selected the books recognized also.

From my experience some of the themes of the conference felt to be about the growing need for advocacy for libraries, diversity, sustainability, and reaching out to disadvantaged youth. As a MLIS student I walked away feeling that much work is needed in the field of librarianship and I want to make a positive difference.

I must say that I am grateful for the RUSA sponsorship as I look forward to serving on the RUSA Committee. This experience has opened the door for new possibilities. I left the conference feeling energized and inspired about my chosen profession.

Alicia Finley
MLIS Graduate 2013
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Message from the BRASS Chair


Carol L. Schuetz, Editor

Hello BRASS members!

Don’t you love traveling in January? BRASS was certainly in Seattle. Read Jason Dewland’s notes about the very informative discussion group on what libraries are doing to support entrepreneurs in our communities. The group of about thirty librarians attending also welcomed six librarians new to BRASS. Midwinter was also a time to attend more sessions of RUSA or other division forums and discussions than may be possible at Annual. Many of us also noted that midwinter was a good time to visit with library vendors on the exhibit floor.

Are you looking forward to the BRASS 25th anniversary year in Chicago? All hardworking volunteer committee members are planning a full line-up of pre-conferences, programs, forums, and discussion groups. Read on about the Business 101 all-day preconference set for Friday June 28th. Also new this year will be a Friday afternoon workshop for academic librarians interested in AACSB accreditation topics, sponsored by Emerald. Information about registering for that workshop will come out later this spring.

Make this year a goal to get your financial house in order and attend the July 1, Monday morning BRASS program: Investment Success! Building & Managing Your Retirement Portfolio. Look for registration information for the 25 years of BRASS celebrating business librarian-to-librarian networking.

Read on about how BRASS helps each of us every day do our jobs better. As you can read from these notes BRASS never sleeps, more and more we are conducting our business year round and virtually. New volunteers are needed for BRASS committees; please fill out the volunteer form in the RUSA website.

Ann Fiegen
BRASS Chair 2012-2013

BRASS Committee Reports

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee
Charles Allan participated in a conference call with the BRASS committee and shared the research competencies committee’s progress in writing rough drafts of research competencies and creating an annotated bibliography. The committee has a rough research competencies draft of seven points with subcategories that cover key components of information literacy, database searching techniques, framing research questions and specific research questions related to business information research skills.

The Research Committee is continuing to incorporate members’ inputs on the content and wording of the competencies. Delivery of the competencies may prove to be a multi-year process as surveys from faculty and businesses are gathered. Several members of the task force have suggested further enhancements to the document to expand and refine content.

Charles Allan, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee
A small group of Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee met at Mid-Winter and finalized our Forum topic for Annual. The forum is entitled Business Librarian’s Reference Shelf. Speakers are to be determined.

Elizabeth Malafi, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Program Planning Committee


BRASS 2013 Program: Investment Success! Building & Managing Your Retirement Portfolio

Monday, July 1, 2013
8:30-10:00 A.M.
Good personal investment education is important for librarians and library staff. We are an occupational group that is rarely able to access top financial advice. In this program, investment professionals will demystify the process and help us understand essential principles and how to apply them to make better decisions to meet our retirement goals. The presentation will include a discussion of the common mistakes investors make, why we make them, and how to avoid them.


  • CHARLES ROTBLUT, CFA, Vice President, AAII
    Charles Rotblut is a vice president of the American Association of Individual Investors. He is the editor of the AAII Journal. He authors the weekly AAII Investor Update e-newsletter and his commentary is published on both Seeking Alpha and Forbes.com.
  • JEREMY GLASER, Morningstar Markets Editor
    Jeremy Glaser is markets editor for Morningstar.com, responsible for directing all stock market coverage for Morningstar’s website for individual investors. Prior to assuming his current role in 2009, he was a senior equity analyst for Morningstar, covering the leisure, hospitality, and gaming sectors. He joined Morningstar in 2006. Glaser holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago

Peter McKay, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee
The Business Reference Sources Committee (BRSC) held a virtual meeting through Collaborate on January 7, 2013.

One of the main announcements was the RUSQ column on Outstanding Business Reference sources has now been published: “Outstanding Business Reference Sources 2012”. (2012). Reference & User Services Quarterly, 52(2), 154-157. http://rusa.metapress.com/content/x16h7013v7mr6435/fulltext.pdf.

We also discussed the list of nominated titles and business sources. Ed Hahn is in charge of this subcommittee and announced that so far twenty-six items have been nominated. We are still seeking additional nominations; however, as some items are removed from the list as we narrow it down.

Penny Scott is leading the subcommittee for organizing the 2013 Publishers’ forum at ALA. A committee discussion was held to finalize ideas for the forum and to start getting details solidified. Penny has also offered to document the timeline and steps necessary to organize the Publishers’ Forum and post them on the BRSC Wiki as well as on the BRSC RUSA webpage along with possible topics discussed during the virtual meeting. The one that seemed to get the most attention was looking at Discovery Layer services and how this has affected specialized sources of business information such as financial data and market research reports. Penny is working on this.

Susan Hurst, 2012-2013 Chair

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

Louise Feldmann, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Discussion Group Steering Committee
Jason Dewland led a discussion on entrepreneurship support in libraries. BRASS attendees described library programs and offered supporting resources for entrepreneurship. Public libraries offer a number of programs and resources for local entrepreneurs. The Chamber of Commerce meets at the Middle Country Public Library in New York. Some libraries offer entrepreneur centers including maker spaces, the Chicago Public Library received a $250,000 maker space grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS). Many libraries offer help with launching and marketing new businesses to those creating new tech products by providing resources, referrals to small business counselors, and hosting networking events.

Academic libraries are evolving as they are being asked to help support universities that are increasingly reaching out into their communities. Universities expanding their efforts to help new business ventures with business incubators and expanding their role with helping faculty get new products patented and brought to market. In academic libraries the importance of distinguishing between student assignments and entrepreneurial projects when using library databases is addressed by educating students about licensing limitations of academic library databases.

Jason Dewland, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Education Committee
Best of the Best Business Websites Winners
Since 2009, every fall the BRASS Education Committee has been selecting the top three Best of the Best Business Websites a business librarian can’t live without. Take a look at the previous winners. This year, the three winners are:

  1. The World Bank Data, which provides freely-available data for over 214 countries and economies, including time series for world development indicators from 1960 to 2011. We want to thank the World Bank for making this information freely available.
  2. Doing Business, a collaboration between the World Bank and The International Finance Corporation (IFC) which provides objective measures of business regulations for local firms in 185 economies.
  3. Occupational Outlook Handbook, an online portal created and maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which features hundreds of occupational profiles with detailed information on work environment, required education, expected pay, trends and employment projections, along with additional data. This is an indispensable source of career information for students and professionals.

On behalf of the BRASS Education Committee, Mary Martin announced the winners at the RUSA Book and Media Awards on January 27th, 2013, at ALA Midwinter in Seattle.

Since 2009, the three winners have been reviewed in the winter issue of the Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ).

BRASS Webinars
The BRASS Education Committee submitted a proposal to the BRASS Executive Committee to amend the submission and approval process for RUSA webinars in order to elevate BRASS’ profile. First, we would like to highlight BRASS sponsorship for those webinars where presenters are BRASS members or recruited by BRASS. As an additional benefit to BRASS members and to attract new members, we also proposed discounts for such webinars for BRASS members, as well as group, series and recording rates. The BRASS Executive Committee approved our proposal, and now we are awaiting RUSA’s decision.

Interested in doing a webinar, or know someone whose business research expertise will be appreciated by colleagues? Let us know!

Natasha Arguello, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Membership Committee
Don’t you LIKE us? Please become a “friend” of BRASS Facebook page. See pictures and events. You can Like Us on Facebook.

Kelly Janousek, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Nominating Committee
The BRASS Nominating Committee submitted the 2013 Ballot nominees this past September. Thanks to Mary Gilles and Elizabeth Stephan for all of their help in getting this great list of nominees together. The BRASS 2013 Ballot will include for Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect: Todd Hines and Peter Z. McKay; and for Member-at-Large: Chad Boeninger and Elizabeth Malafi. BRASS member Anthony (Tony) Lin will be a candidate on the RUSA-level ballot for Secretary.

Celia Ross, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Vendor Relations Committee
The BRASS Vendor Relations Committee has been continuing to assist the BRASS 25th Anniversary Planning Committee by reaching out to new vendors and working with longtime partners to help secure funding for the celebration event planned for 2013 in Chicago. Confirmed sponsors so far are Gale Cengage, S&P Capital IQ, Morningstar, Annual Reviews, Emerald, SimplyMap, and PrivCo. We are also close to confirming sponsorship by Mintel, Mergent, ReportLinker and possibly EIU. Committee members include Paul Brothers and Lydia LaFaro.

Celia Ross, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Publications and Communications Committee
The BRASS Publications and Communications committee held their midwinter virtual meeting in early January. The committee’s primary objective for the coming semester is to continue improving the quality, accuracy and timeliness of BRASS web pages. Toward this end, the committee will contact many of the other BRASS groups and committees for advice and feedback. The Publications and Communication Committee will also begin plans for a new collection of Guidelines and Style Guide for BRASS Web pages and communications.

John Gottfried, 2012-2013 Chair

BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award Committee
The committee for the Morningstar Public Librarianship Award is now reviewing nominations. The award winner will be selected soon and announced in the upcoming month. A public librarian who has performed outstanding business reference service and who requires financial assistance to attend the conference will be selected. The award winner will receive $1,000 in travel funds for ALA’s Annual Conference.

Melissa Jeter, 2011-2013 Chair

BRASS Gale-Cenage learning Student Travel Award Committee
The application deadline for the BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award was January 31st. A winner is expected to be announced soon.

Todd M. Hines, 2012-2013 Chair


Barry Trott, Editor

CODES had a very successful ALA Midwinter. The annual RUSA Book and Media Awards highlighted the work of several CODES committees, including Notable Books, the Reading List, the Listening List, Outstanding Reference Sources, the Sophie Brody Medal, the Dartmouth Medal, the Zora Neale Hurston Award, and the Louis Shores Award. The event was well-attended, and offered CODES and RUSA members good food and drink, and the opportunity to recognize outstanding materials, reviewers, and promoters of library resources.

Following in the footsteps of other RUSA sections, the CODES Board is trialing two virtual Midwinter meetings, 2013 and 2014. The Board will assess the effectiveness of virtual Board meetings following Midwinter 2014.

In December, the CODES Readers Advisory (RA) Committee debuted an email forum, entitled CODES Conversations, modeled after the ALCTS email events. The first conversation, centered on issues of genre, gathered close to 250 participants for a free, three-day conversation. Discussions were lively, wide-ranging, and involved librarians from the United States and abroad. The event was very well received and the committee is now planning to offer CODES Conversations three times a year. The committee continues to present the RA Research and Trends Forum at annual. This year’s program will address issues of genre fiction and how the classification system of genre impacts the work of RA librarians.

This year, CODES welcomed University Press Books for School and Public Libraries as its newest committee. Nann Blaine Hilyard was appointed chair together with four RUSA CODES members; four returning members are providing continuity this year as the committee transitions to CODES. This committee is a long-time collaboration with the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), American Association of School Librarians (AASL), and a group of Public Library Reviewers (PLR). The work of the committee culminates in an annual publication and collection development tool titled University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries. Members write reviews for the titles they think are outstanding and the Association compiles, prints, and distributes the publication, which is also available online. 2013 marks the 23rd edition of the publication. At Annual, the committee typically hosts a “Best of the Best” program.

CODES continues to welcome new members and volunteers for various CODES committees. Those interested in serving on a CODES committee should contact CODES vice chair/chair elect Asia Gross (asiagross@gmail.com) who will be making appointments.

Message from the History Chair


Laura Hibbler, Editor

From our discussion groups, committee meetings, and our dinner, the History Section had a great time in Seattle. The Executive Board made two important decisions. Section Committees will no longer meet at Midwinter. Committees will be expected to hold at least one virtual meeting between Annual 2013 and Midwinter 2014. By no longer requiring attendance at two meetings a year, we hope more members are able to participate in committee activities. The other important piece of news is that at Annual in Chicago, the History Section will have an All Committee Meeting, instead of meeting individually. This will create a great opportunity for us to network and get to know one another. Join us!

As you are contemplating how to be involved in ALA and RUSA in the next year, consider volunteering to serve on one of the History Section’s committees. Our Vice-Chair, Michelle Baildon, will be working on appointments throughout the spring. To see a list of our committees and/or volunteer, visit the History Section’s Committees page.

Sara E. Morris
History Section Chair, 2012-2013

Message from the Chair

MARS: Update from the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section

Cathy Larson, Editor

It was good to see many of you in Seattle. Despite the rainy weather, the turnout was good for the three exciting discussion sessions sponsored by our Virtual Reference Discussion Group, Hot Topics Discussion Group, and new User Experience Design Committee. We also hosted an exciting preconference workshop at the University of Washington on the Friday before the conference. See descriptions of the sessions below.

Over the next few months, we’ll be conducting a section review, a regular activity we perform about every five to seven years to make sure the section remains vital; revising the MARS Handbook; creating some open meetings and webinars to provide professional development opportunities for our members; selecting the 2013 Best Free Reference Websites; and planning for the Annual Meeting in Chicago.

This is also the time when we ask for you to get involved in the activities of this section. If you have time to participate—either in person or virtually—please consider volunteering by going to RUSA Volunteer form (requires login). If you experience difficulties with the volunteer form, please send an email directly to Vice Chair Sam Stormont who will be making appointments. He can be reached at srstormont@widener.edu. We have spaces available in all committees.

Also, if you have suggestions for topics for MARS professional development webinars, please let us know by submitting your suggestions here.

Debbie Bezanson, Chair
Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) 2012-2013

Join the discussion at http://lists.ala.org/wws/info/mars-l

MARS Committee Reports

Virtual Reference Discussion Forum
The Virtual Reference (VR) Discussion Coordinating Committee hosted an engaging discussion forum at the Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Nearly fifty attendees gathered to reflect and share knowledge on the topic of transitions between virtual reference platforms. Many libraries transitioned between platforms this year, due to the phasing out of Meebo, so the topic was especially timely. Dr. Pam Dennis and Laureen P. Cantwell of the University of Memphis University Libraries provided kick-off remarks titled, “Life After Meebo: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services for Your Library in the Post-Meebo Virtual Environment.” Following the kick-off remarks, attendees participated in small-group discussions, sharing their experiences evaluating and transitioning between VR platforms. A range of experiences were represented—some attendees came to learn about how they might implement VR services at their libraries, while others reported on their experiences with numerous VR platforms. Finally, attendees reported out on their small group discussions. Attendees shared suggestions for VR staffing models, emerging and alternative platforms, and best practices. Attendees expressed the value they derive from these discussions with their colleagues, particularly the small-group discussions. The Virtual Reference Discussion Coordinating Committee looks forward to hosting another engaging discussion forum at ALA Annual in Chicago.

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

MARS Professional Development Committee
The MARS Professional Development Committee is interested in developing webinars for any RUSA committee or member. We know how to deliver webinars using Blackboard Collaborate, the vendor chosen by RUSA for online learning. Our committee will help you with the process of getting your webinar approved, train your instructors, and facilitate your presentations. The committee is currently working on a webinar on using reference tracking and data collection tools to improve their services. Got an idea? Please consider submitting it to the MARS Professional Development Webinar Suggestion Form.

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

MARS Local Systems and Services Committee
The MARS LSS committee is planning an online program on learning commons. The date has not been finalized but is scheduled to take place in March. It is a follow-up to the 2011 discussion forum the committee held on Learning Commons.

The Learning Commons and the Academic Library: Using Emerging Technologies and New Partnerships to Build Student Success.

Has your library partnered with academic support services to offer a “learning commons” in the library, or are you discussing/planning such a partnership? If so, please join us for a follow-up to the discussion forum “The Learning Commons and the Academic Library: Using Emerging Technologies and New Partnerships to Build Student Success” held at Midwinter 2012. Attend the online open meeting and learn how these libraries have developed partnerships and designed spaces to support student learning.


  • Ameet Doshi, Head, User Experience Department, Georgia Tech University
    A short overview of the new GA Tech learning commons (“Clough Commons”) including the group study spaces, academic support services, and technology available. His main focus will be how the student advisory board impacted the design of the Library and learning commons.
  • Michelle Paon, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Dalhousie University
    Marc Comeau, IT Manager, Dalhousie University
    Eleven stakeholders currently share space in Dalhousie University’s Killam Learning Commons, with services ranging from GIS and statistical computing consultations to traditional research assistance and the IT help desk. We’ll identify the service areas located in the facility as well as touch on the innovative technologies that have been deployed in the commons.
  • Lori Mestre, Head Undergraduate Library, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Mestre will share UIUC’s process for creating the initial plans for the Learning Commons and how student need for multimodal projects has resulted in the Learning Commons becoming a Media Commons (including floor layout, services, furniture, technology, class support, use patterns, partnerships, loanable technology acquisition). She will discuss how UIUC incorporated technology and designed the layout based on assessment of student needs.

Look for an email on the MARS listserv with more details. If you are interested in attending, please contact Chanitra Bishop at chbishop@indiana.edu.

The committee is also planning a program for ALA Annual on open source software. Below is the title and the description:

Title: Leveraging Open Source Software to create library web sites

Description: Is your library considering using open source software such as Drupal, WordPress or Omeka to revamp your library’s web site, create a digital archive or a staff intranet? Our speakers will provide an overview of open source software and discuss some of their features and capabilities. They will also discuss implementations of the software at their institution including the development process, challenges, lessons learned and practical advice for developing websites using open source software.

Time: Sunday, June 30, 2013 3-4 PM

Chanitra Bishop, Chair
Local Systems and Services Committee, 2012-2013

MARS Chair’s Program for ALA Annual 2013
The MARS Chair Program Planning Committee has been hard at work planning an exciting program for this year’s conference. Mark your calendars now to join us Sunday, June 30th, from 1:00-2:30 P.M. for an informative discussion with David Bietila, Web Program Director, Digital Library Development Center, University of Chicago Library; Lesley Moyo, Director Research and Instruction, Virginia Tech University; Tracy Gilmore, Technical Services Librarian, Virginia Tech University; and a “mystery” speaker (to be identified soon) about the user experience, interface design and the role of reference. Don’t forget we start the program with the My Favorite Martian Award for 2013!

Title: Usability, the User Experience & Interface Design: The Role of Reference

Description: With the advent of new discovery tools and new technology, the habits of our researchers and users have certainly changed. How are we collecting data and observing behavior to improve these interfaces to better meet our user’s needs? How can we learn from what other researchers are studying and use that data to implement change? What is the new relationship between the virtual space, the physical space, and the user experience?

Panel members will discuss how their institutions have implemented innovative changes to the user interface and address the role of usability testing in their decision process. Audience members will have opportunities to submit questions to the panelists. The learning objectives for attendees are:

  • Increased understanding of changes in users’ research habits;
  • Introduction to methods of information/data collection beyond traditional usability studies;
  • Learn processes for implementing change relevant for their own institutions.

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

User Experience Design Committee
Though it was 4:30 P.M. on a Sunday afternoon in Seattle, more than sixtypeople packed Room 203 of the Washington Convention Center for the “Putting U in UX Design” discussion forum sponsored by RUSA/MARS’ User Experience Design Committee. Heidi Steiner, Head of Digital and Distance Education Services at Norwich University, sparked the discussion by providing a provocative, witty introduction to the principles of user experience design. She emphasized the need for librarians to intentionally take the perspective of users and noted that doing so would help us avoid confusing them with inscrutable jargon and overly detailed blocks of text on websites. It would also inspire us to put help where our users are by embedding widgets and other contact information at the point-of-need.

Steiner further recommended that we solicit quick feedback from non-library users and then make quick changes based on that feedback rather than make changes only after complex, large-scale usability testing. Her slide-deck and Power Point slides can be found in the ALA Scheduler.

Following Steiner’s introduction, attendees participated in a lively discussion centering on what interests them and what concerns them about User Experience Design. This discussion yielded numerous ideas for future sessions and projects for the User Experience Design Committee.

Ideas for sessions included presentations or discussions about:

  • How to design universally to simultaneously help users as well as those who work directly with users.
  • What input to consider and what input to privilege when making decisions about user experience design.
  • What tools can we use to design effectively? The audience shared the following examples:
    • Crazy Egg: visualize where users click on a page
    • Optimizely: Compare two versions of a page
    • Google Ad Words: iscover what vocabulary terms are used by the public for various concepts
    • Post It Notes (digital and physical): Use these to keep track of ideas for small changes and to solicit input from patrons
    • Tools for first-click analysis
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of designing incrementally versus doing full-scale redesigns?
  • How can we help colleagues think from a user standpoint rather than from a librarian standpoint?
  • How to perform usability studies.
  • How to blend design and instruction effectively, e.g., how to create effective online instructional content without using too many words.

Ideas for projects:

  • Provide lists of examples and models of good design. Heidi recommended following several individuals including
    • Aaron Schmidt
    • Amanda Etches-Johnson
    • Brian Mathews
    • Matthew Reidsma
    • Steven Bell
  • Participants recommended the following two books:
    • This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider
    • Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

Other ideas:

  • Develop a database featuring sites designed for optimum user experience. Consider developing a site of the month recognition award as ACRL’s PRIMO committee has done for instructional resources.
  • Develop a blog or listserv to foster ongoing discussion and sharing. A participant noted that UNC Chapel Hill hosts a listserv titled “lib-ux.” To subscribe visit http://lists.unc.edu/read/all_forums/subscribe?name=lib_ux
  • Consider partnering with LITA’s Search Engine Optimization Interest Group

Melissa Clapp
Chair, User Experience Design Committee, 2012-2013

Jason Coleman
Member, User Experience Design Committee, 2012-2014

Message from the Chair

RSS Review

RSS_LogoALA Midwinter a Great Success!
It was great seeing many of you at ALA Midwinter in Seattle. I hope you enjoyed the RSS events including the delicious pancake breakfast, lively discussions, and the free workshop, and also found time to enjoy the sights and scenes of Seattle.

Speaking of Pancakes, we broke a record at our 3rd Annual Pancake Breakfast (Shortcake Saturday) with more than twenty-five people in attendance. Thanks to Judy Solberg for scoping out such a hotspot with a fantastic view.

I wasn’t able to attend, but rumor has it the free workshop “New Tech for Reference: from the reference interview to roving reference, challenges, benefits and best practices,” organized by the Education & Professional Development for Reference Committee, was a smashing success. Praise was lauded at the organizers and at the presenters. We hope to continue offering more of these great deals. Be sure to stay tuned to RSS-L to be up-to-date.

We also had a number of great discussions on a wide variety of topics including “Core Standards for Young Adult Reference Services,” “Mother Goose and Promoting Library Services for Spanish Speakers for Spanish Speakers,” “Just Ask,” “Helping Patrons find Employment or Career Information,” and “Coping with Burnout on the Front Lines.” Be sure to read the committee reports for details!

We Appreciate You!
One of the focuses of RSS this year is to recognize the members who pay to volunteer with our section. We are doing this by sharing their publications, so others can learn about current research related to reference.

See the RSS Publications List read the latest submissions and share your publications!

Also sprinkled throughout this issue you will see quotes from RSS Members on what makes RSS their section within RUSA. Take a minute to share your thoughts about RSS using our feedback form.

Starting with this issue the RSS Review we will be interviewing an RSS Member of the Quarter. I am very pleased to announce that Joe Thompson has been selected as our first RSS Member of the Quarter. Find out a little more about Joe below.

If you want to be a part of this lively, fun, and dynamic section, then you are in luck. Ann Brown (RSS Chair Elect) will be appointing volunteers to a myriad of committees and positions. Stay tuned to RSS-L where she will send an email asking for volunteers.

Happy reading and of course if you have any questions, please contact me!

Sarah J. Hammill
RSS Chair


RSS Member of the Quarter
Joe Thompson, Associate Director, Western Maryland Regional Library

RSS_Joe1. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Happy to help!

2. What do you like to do for fun?
Spending time with my wife and daughter, visiting parks and museums. Taking day hikes and reading as time allows. Volunteering time in support of Citizens for Maryland Libraries, our statewide friends group.

3. Describe RSS in 3 words.
Powerful people connections.

4. What do you value most about RSS and/or RUSA?
I’ve been able to meet and learn from so many incredible people through my RSS and RUSA participation. In addition to the excellent formal learning opportunities offered by the section (i.e. programs and discussions), there are so many great opportunities for informal conversations. Some of the best ideas I’ve picked up for enhancing service at my library have started this way.

5. Where do you see reference services going in the next 3-5 years?
I’ve always seen what we call reference as being entirely about helping people. It’s about connecting people to information; helping them find books, music, and movies to enjoy; and empowering individuals to grow. Over the past several years libraries have been doing a terrific job at removing service barriers and making access to resources an easy and transparent process. We need to make sure this focus continues as it relates to our ILS, ebook, and other online subscription services that libraries don’t necessarily control directly. While our services become ever faster, easier, and frictionless, we need to also make sure that the value of these library services is evident to the people who use them. I’m really excited about RUSA’s developing ASK campaign, which will offer a lot of opportunities for publicity and library advocacy.

6. In your own words…
None of our accomplishments in RSS would have been possible without the fantastic teamwork of people across the section. We are very lucky to have so many smart and dedicated people volunteering their time in support of improving library service. Something that’s really important to me is helping those people new to the profession make connections with those who have years of experience to share. These often prove to be valuable relationships for everyone. Please take every opportunity you have to make these kind of introductions between people. Be a connector.

What makes RSS Great?
“I love RUSA RSS because it keeps me engaged and excited about all the new developments in reference. ALA is huge but RUSA RSS is all about everything I love about my job: Reference! I know whenever I see a RUSA RSS program that it will be right on target with my job and my passion.”

Ava M. Iuliano, International Relations Librarian, Florida International University

Have a story to share? Let us know what makes RSS Great!

RSS Committee Reports

Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee
The Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee sponsored two excellent Forums at Midwinter. “Just Ask: Defining and Advocating for the Reference Librarian,” facilitated by Elizabeth Stephan from Western Washington University, had a total of forty-five attendees from public, academic, and other types of libraries. Lively small group discussions focused on the new or changing role of reference librarians, how it may differ by type of library, and the kind of support needed to make the public aware of the changing role.

Our second Forum, “Unhappy Campers: Coping with Job Dissatisfaction and Burnout on the Front Lines,” facilitated by Virginia Cairns from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, had 48 attendees from many different types of libraries. Discussions took place in small groups, with many great ideas and suggestions reported back to the entire group. Topics included how to approach management for help with burnout, strategies for preventing and alleviating burnout in your peers or subordinates, and ideas for how we as individuals can cope with burnout in our own lives and careers.

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

Crystal Lentz, Chair 2012-2013

Education and Professional Development for Reference
The RSS Education and Professional Development for Reference Committee (EDPRC), in collaboration with the MARS Professional Development Committee, hosted a free workshop “New Tech for Reference: From the Reference Interview to Roving Reference, Challenges, Benefits and Best Practice” at ALA Midwinter 2013. The workshop was a resounding success with over seventy-five people in attendance. Ninety-five percent of attendees thought they would implement some of the ideas presented at their library. The workshop consisted of three sessions which highlighted using social media to answer reference questions, an iPad roving reference program, and how LibAnswers were implemented as a knowledge base. All presentation materials are available on the ALA Connect. The planning group looks forward to offering a free workshop opportunity at an upcoming ALA conference, and is busy documenting lessons learned so we can improve for the next workshop.

In addition, EDPRC is in discussion with RUSA CODES, who coordinated the Reference Publishing Discussion Forum, “Are Users Finding Our Online Reference Resources,” at Midwinter to see if we could do a follow-up via webinar. Lastly, the group is still developing a process to review library school syllabi for reference themes; this is our spring project.

Kristen Mastel & Joseph Yue, Co-Chairs 2012-2013

Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee
The Evaluation of Reference and User Services met virtually on January 30 and discussed two upcoming goals. The first is to determine, by survey, what reference models are currently in place (triage, combined desk, roving, etc.) in libraries and how libraries arrived at those models and also how libraries are assessing those models. The second is the formation of an ad hoc committee with the Virtual Reference Services committee to take a snapshot of the current state of virtual reference, get a baseline of services being offered, and ideas for those who haven’t implemented it yet. Much work to do between now and Annual!

Ellen Keith, Chair, 2011-2013

Health and Medical Reference Committee
The Health and Medical Reference Committee (HMRC) has chosen four speakers for the 2013 ALA Annual program, Different Strokes: Serving the Health Information Needs of a Diverse Community. In addition, the HMRC has had a webinar proposal approved by RUSA on the topic of best medical resources. However, as the committee would really like to have a series of free programs on this topic, the HMRC is considering the possibility of doing a quarterly online discussion series which could be free to anyone. The HMRC has also met monthly to work on new guidelines for health and medical reference.

Karen Vargas, Chair 2012-2014

Job and Career Reference Committee
The Job & Career Reference Committee had a lively gathering of ALA members discussing job & career reference at our respective institutions (public, academic, & career colleges) in Seattle. For more information or to get involved with our online wiki efforts, contact the committee chair Kate Oberg: Kathryn.Oberg@gmail.com.

Kate Oberg, Chair 2012-2013

Library Service to an Aging Population
RUSA RSS Library Services to an Aging Population met on Thursday, January 31st. The committee is considering a change to its charge, with a focus on positive language and broadening the scope to recognize that “Aging Population” encompasses a diverse group with a wide variety of interests and needs.

The committee will be making minor changes to the Guidelines for Library and Information Services to Older Adults, last revised in 2008, and suggesting additional resources for Keys to Engaging Older Adults @ Your Library. The committee hopes to provide input on the Access to Information Wiki under construction by the RUSA Access to Information Committee.

The committee recently lost two members, so is currently seeking new members to join. Please contact Abigail Elder (aelder@ci.tualatin.or.us) if you would like to join us!

Abigail Elder, Chair 2012-2013

Library Services to the Spanish Speaking
Lucia Castillo, of the Vancouver Public Library, provided a very informative and interactive lively session on the program used in Canada to assist young families with social skills and engaging with the Spanish speaking community. Vancouver is thriving with a variety of culture and languages. Less than three percent are Spanish speaking and they all attend the Mother Goose program despite the distance they may need to travel.

A collection of YouTube videos from the session are linked below:

The Services to Spanish Speaking had some discussion in advance of the presentation on Mother Goose about the next step toward revising the Guidelines for Services to the Spanish Speaking. The committee is seeking volunteers for next year.

Stephen Marvin, Chair 2012-2013

Management of Reference Committee
The Committee met virtually on January 30th and discussed a request by an original member of the RUSA Task Force that wrote the Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians (http://www.ala.org/rusa/resources/guidelines/professional) to ask that they be reinstated. Discussion revealed that perhaps the Committee previously had acted in haste and the matter will be brought before the RSS Board at its February 7 meeting.

This Committee is also working with the Services to an Aging Population Committee in sponsoring a discussion session at the Annual Conference in Chicago. The session is about “The Little r in Reference .”

Session summary: There is plenty of talk about the new work of “little r” reference, but little detail on how that translates into the daily work of public library reference staff. This program delves into the who/what/where/how of contemporary reference work.


  • Todd Dunkelberg, Director, Deschutes Public Library (Bend, Oregon)
  • Stephanie Chase, Director of Library Programs and Services, The Seattle Public Library
  • Sue Banks, Deputy Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

We discussed a request by Sarah Hammill on whether our Committee wanted to work on updating the Competencies for Cooperative Services. With our work on re-evaluating the fate of the Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians, we have enough on our plate.

Sally Dockter, Chair 2012-2013

Marketing and Public Relations for Reference
RSS Marketing and PR committee met in person at ALA Midwinter on January 26. (Meeting notes are posted on ALA Connect).

During this meeting, we brainstormed the details of the upcoming webinar/discussion event for ALA Annual, “Slam the Boards.” The webinar will be during the week of May 20-24 and presenter Bill Pardue will introduce us to the volunteer program “Slam the Boards,” how it came to be, its mission, how it works, and measuring success. He will also set us up to participate on June 10 so that by ALA Annual, we’ll be ready to take this discussion to a deeper level.

Our discussion of “Slam the Boards” is on June 26. Bill will recap the webinar and our experiences. We’ll then move into how to develop ways like “Slam the Boards,” helping customers where they are with professionalism and friendliness. Our hope is that participants will walk away with specific ideas and plans about extending current or creating new online question-answering, social media, and virtual reference services that they can bring back to their libraries for immediate consideration.

Marketing and PR for libraries is also a major consideration for every aspect of library work. We discussed the newly-reformed “Ask” campaign and other ways libraries can advocate their relevance to their communities.

Current programs such as Ask, Turning the Page, the Geek Campaign and more offer libraries opportunities for marketing and promotion. The RSS Marketing and PR committee is considering the development of a workshop for ALA Annual 2014 to showcase what is available.

Cathay Crosby, Chair 2011-2013

Organization and Planning Committee
The committee met online in January 2013. We reviewed RSS Bylaws and Handbook and thought we might be able to move forward updating both documents. However, upon further review, we discovered some issues/inconsistencies between the documents that require further discussion. We will be holding a joint O&P/Executive meeting in February or March to work out these issues once and for all. Then we will move forward with updating. Our goal is to have a very easy-to-use Chair Orientation Handbook; updated, clear bylaws; and a Handbook for Officers, if needed, which explains duties of each position and other details.

Liane Taylor, Chair 2012-2013

Recognition Committee
Are you eligible for the Honor Roll?

When you hear Honor Roll do you have flashbacks to high school? Maybe you have happy memories of the honor roll or maybe you think could of, would of, should of…

Regardless of your experience in high school, you may be eligible for the RSS Honor Roll.

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

If you have been a member of three or more committees or discussion groups since RSS was established in 2004 and have not previously been added to the honor roll, please send your name and a list of the three ways you have served RSS to Susan Ware at saw4@psu.edu or Virginia Cole vac11@cornell.edu

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

If you want to find out which honored colleagues you will be joining, see the list of RSS Honor Roll Members.

Virginia Cole, Chair 2012-2013

Research and Statistics Committee
In January, the RSS Research and Statistics Committee selected three presenters for the 19th Annual Reference Research Forum; the program will include the following:

  • Research Guides Usability Study, by Angela Pashia, Instructional Services Outreach Librarian, University of West Georgia and Andrew Walsh, Information Literacy Fellow, University of West Georgia
  • Two Birds, One Stone: Using a Mixed Methods Approach to Measure Service Process and Identify Usability Pain Points in Virtual Reference, by Christine Tobias, User Experience and Reference Librarian, Michigan State University Libraries
  • Query Clarification in Chat Reference: A Visual Transcript Analysis, by Alexa Pearce, Librarian for Journalism, Media, Culture & Communication, New York University Libraries

Lynda Duke, Chair 2012-2013

Virtual Reference Services (MARS/RSS)
The RSS/MARS Virtual Reference Services Committee has a new MARS Co-chair, Alisa Gonzalez, Social Sciences Librarian and Reference Coordinator at New Mexico State University Library.

The committee will be partnering with the RSS Marketing and Public Relations Committee on a webinar in late-May and related discussion forum for ALA Annual. The topic will be active advocacy and promotion of virtual reference services, and the speaker will be Bill Pardue (of “Slam the Boards!” fame).

Investigation of hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at ALA Annual is also in the works. After an informal meeting in the Networking Uncommons at Midwinter, the event has taken on some new and exciting possibilities. These will be being discussed within the committee and with attendees at the Midwinter get-together.

The committee is also in the beginning stages of partnering with the RSS Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee (ERUS) on a survey to ascertain the current state of virtual reference. Don Boozer (RSS Co-chair) attended a meeting of ERUS in January, and plans are moving ahead on forming an ad hoc team to construct and administer the survey.

More details on each of these initiatives will be forthcoming, so stay tuned to the committee’s ALA Connect space.

Don Boozer, Chair 2012-2013

Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee
The subcommittee continues to meet monthly and works in subgroups between meetings. Our virtual Midwinter meeting took place on February 5. We are finishing up the Training, Interview Skills, and Core Competencies modules and will work on additional modules as we look forward to ALA Annual.

Jared Hoppenfeld, Chair 2012-2013
Jennifer Lau-Bond, Chair 2011-2013

Young Adult Reference Services

We hope to schedule our midyear committee meeting imminently, to discuss the guideline mandate of the committee and directions we are going including perhaps issues such as:

  1. Optimal handling of the “class bomb” and other youth-related quirks in VR
  2. Balancing cooperating with existing media specialist staff/compensating for losses in Media Center staffing and collection budgets while still reinforcing the necessity of each
  3. Publics’ Balancing Act: working with faculty while not impinging on the role of the Media Specialist
  4. Outreach cooperation with Just Ask
  5. Possible cooperation with BRASS/RSS Jobseeker Committee on teen financial fitness/jobs/entrepreneurship

We are also progressing through RSS leadership on the move to becoming a joint YALSA committee.

The committee sponsored a discussion forum at Midwinter entitled “Reference Services to Young Adults: Why Common Core Standards Matter.” Adopted by forty-five of the fifty states and several territories, the Common Core State Standards are impacting the way that students are being taught and information literacy is being judged. The ripple effect from that hits libraries and library services immediately in ways we are trying to evaluate.

The discussion forum, led by Amanda Ellington, Rose Luna, and Margaux DelGuidice, drew an interested crowd of 78 librarians from all types of libraries, from school to public to academic to state libraries. The session received coverage in Publishers Weekly. Meanwhile, the session has a useful wiki.

We hope to see what topics might be useful to those serving young adults for a discussion forum at Annual.

Nicolette Warisse Sosulski, Chair 2012-2013

RSS Review is the newsletter of the Reference Services Section of Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association. Please send suggestions for future issues to Amy Rustic (aer123@psu.edu), editor.

Message from the Chair


Kerry Keegan, Editor

STARS enjoyed a productive time in Seattle. Our section produced a free interlibrary loan workshop, hosted by the University of Washington, conducted a variety of business meetings, and organized informative and lively interlibrary and hot topics discussions. Seattle gives STARS momentum along several fronts.

Programming: Coming down the pike, be on the look-out for free RUSA professional development webinars. Every section, including STARS, is participating in a pilot program to develop and produce professional webinars. These webinars will be offered at no additional cost to RUSA members. Several STARS committees are developing program ideas and competing for our one slot.

And don’t forget ALA Annual. Along with our ILL and Hot Topic Discussion Groups, STARS will have two terrific programs: “Does Your Data Deliver for Decision Making? New Directions for Resource Sharing Assessment” and “Enhancing Services through Integration of Interlibrary Loan and Acquisitions.”

Assessment: STARS is completing a section review, a critical look back on our organization that informs both our members and RUSA just exactly how are we doing. Our Section Review Committee will soon have a draft report available for all members upon which to review and reflect. Also, STARS’ Program Assessment Working Group is spearheading program evaluation. Its outcome will help to better capture member feedback and lead to more informed decisions for program choices.

In Seattle, the Working Group coordinated the assessment of three section programs: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about ILL” workshop, the STARS ILL Discussion Group, and the STARS Hot Topics Discussion Group. The group will now compile the results and share with the rest of STARS. Lessons learned during Midwinter will help the group form evaluations for future program sessions.

Recruiting: STARS is always recruiting. We have committee service opportunities across the board. It’s our committees that do the work and have the fun. Don’t be left out. Check out opportunities at STARS Committee page and contact your chair-elect Nora Dethloff (ndethloff@uh.edu) for more details.


David P. Atkins

STARS Committee Reports

STARS Membership Committee
The RUSA STARS Membership Committee has been hard at work! Over the past few months, we’ve implemented the “5 Things Every New Resource Sharing Librarian Should Know!” as well as “STARGazing.” The “5 Things…” document provides key resources a new person in the field of Resource Sharing will find most helpful in orienting themselves within the profession. “STARGazing” is an initiative to spotlight STARS members in an effort to grow a sense of community and assist new STARS members in getting to know the names and faces of their colleagues. Hopefully, when attending ALA conferences, the “STARGazer” will provide a few friendly faces in the crowd.

Our first STARGazer was Nora Dethloff and our next STARGazer, Heather Weltin, was interviewed at ALA Midwinter! You can find both “5 Things…” and “STARGazing” on the RUSA STARS website. STARS Membership Committee meets once a month (virtually) and is beginning organized outreach to new members and all members alike.

Micquel Little, Chair

STARS Cooperative Collection Development Committee
The RUSA CODES/STARS Cooperative Collection Development Committee met at Midwinter to discuss planning for our program at Annual 2013, which will take place on Saturday, June 29th from 1:00-2:30 P.M.

The title of our program is: “Enhancing Services through Integration of Interlibrary Loan and Acquisitions”

“This panel will explore the opportunities and challenges that arise from merging interlibrary
loan and acquisitions departments, as well as the administrative aspects of such a partnership.
Through examining the reasons why ILL/Acquisitions mergers may be beneficial, and hearing
from peers engaged in the process, attendees will gain an understanding of how to weigh the
merits of such an arrangement and determine if it is appropriate for their institution, as well as
hear insights on how to move forward. This session is appropriate for all library types.”

Our committee hopes to organize a discussion group for Annual 2014, and submit a program proposal again for Annual 2015.

Sydney Thompson, Co-chair

STARS Education and Training Committee
Sixty people attended the sixth annual “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About ILL” workshop at the University of Washington on January 25. Education and Training continues to coordinate efforts to update shareill.org and will work with ShareILL owners and STARS Executive to transition the wiki to a new platform.

Jennifer Jacobs, Chair

STARS Hot Topics Discussion Group
A successful discussion was held in Seattle at ALA Midwinter 2013, encompassing a variety of relevant topics in the Resource Sharing world. These included CCC’s Get it Now! proposed “time-bomb,” which would restrict access to articles within a specific time frame; universal patron pick-up cards; electronic billing’s effect on paper check processing, along with IFM protocols and the ability to credit, as well as charge; and the recording of services performed by ILL operations and statistical relevance. The Working Group’s survey was distributed and results will be published to STARS members after collection and dissemination.

Troy Christenson, Chair

RUSA STARS / LLAMA SASS: Cooperative and Remote Circulation Committee
This fall we held a virtual meeting, part of which was devoted to a request from the STARS Education and Training Committee to assist them in updating the ShareILL wiki.

The group broke down the responsibilities and used Google docs to collaborate on the update. We were able to fix broken links, remove outdated entries, and add links for consortia and networks that have been established since the last update.

The group has a virtual meeting schedule for February 11 to discuss our plans for ALA Annual and the possibility of submitting a program proposal for 2014.

Peter Collins, Chair