President’s Note

It is nearly spring. That time between ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual conference when RUSA is busy offering webinars and online courses, working on revising guidelines and planning discussion groups and programs for this year and beyond. It is also a time for refreshing and renewing, so it is when committee appointments will be made. If you have questions about the volunteer process, take a look at my column in the Winter issue of RUSQ for guidance. You can also drop in during my Office Hours and talk to me or President-Elect Joe Thompson. Office Hours are also a good time for discussing your ideas about RUSA and the library profession and there is always a RUSA Executive Board member available to answer questions or just talk.

One significant change is a new face in the RUSA Office. I’d like to welcome Marianne Braverman to the role of Marketing and Programs Manager. Marianne started with RUSA at the beginning of February and brings with her years of experience in association marketing and member services. If your group is in need of marketing and publicity or support for a conference program or event, Marianne is here to help.

RUSA is launching two new initiatives in spring 2014: sponsored student memberships and the RUSA Free School. Both initiatives are focused on library school students and making connections with new professionals. Through the sponsored student memberships, you can donate $25 to cover the cost of a student membership for one year, making the first year of membership free for the student. We will be working on ways to connect the sponsored students to mentoring opportunities and ways to be involved in RUSA. If you are interested in this or have ideas, email me at or Joe Thompson at or drop in during Office Hours.

The RUSA Free School will provide students the opportunity to present short online-presentations about topics in reference and user services. They can bring their perspectives to RUSA members through these free programs as well as gaining practical experience in presenting to a professional audience and building their portfolios. RUSA Professional Development will be working on a process to review proposals and connect the student presenters with the appropriate RUSA Sections and mentors. We plan to announce the first Free School presentations this spring as a ramp-up to Annual Conference.

Speaking of Annual Conference, if you are still making your travel and attendance plans, RUSA has a three preconferences on Friday from services to entrepreneurs, to the reference interview, to genealogical research: RUSA is a welcoming division; we want to get to know you and give you opportunities to get to know each other. Many of the Sections have social events at Annual conference. In addition, RUSA has several events where members can mingle as well learn and celebrate: the Andrew Carnegie Award Ceremony, RUSA 101, and the RUSA Awards. The schedule for Annual is full of programs of interest to RUSA members and organized by your RUSA colleagues, but more about that in the next RUSA Update!

This year’s RUSA President’s Program will address the big issue of library values. As a profession we have core values and concerns which form the foundation of our services. But do we all agree on these values? From where did these valued develop and how have they changed over time? Do our patrons value the same things about libraries as librarians? Join us for a lively, thought-provoking program with Wayne Wiegand, noted library historian, educator, and author of numerous books including Main Street Public Library: Community Places and Reading Spaces in the Rural Heartland, 1876-1956; Wayne Bivens-Tatum academic librarian and author of Libraries and the Enlightenment; consultant Lisa Carlucci Thomas; and Jeanne Goodrich, executive director of the Las Vegas Public Library and the 2013 Nevada Library Association’s Librarian of the Year.

Thank you!
RUSA President, 2013-14

RUSA News/Announcements

2014 Achievement Award winners announced

The 2014 RUSA Achievement Awards have been announced. For full details on the award winners, please see the announcement at ALA News. Winners will be recognized at the RUSA Achievement Awards Ceremony and Reception at ALA Annual on Sunday June 29 from 5:00-6:30 PM Sunday, June 29. Additional event details will be available on the RUSA website in April.

Achievement Award winners

Travel and Research Grant Recipients

RUSA Book and Media Awards
The following awards were announced at the RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony at the 2014 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

Dr. Grace Jackson-Brown from the Duane G. Meyer Library at Missouri State University is the 2014 winner of the Zora Neale Hurston Award, which recognizes an individual that has demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. Selected for her work with the Springfield African American Read-In and Dream Big programs, has exposed diverse audiences to authors, workshops, live readings and celebrations that incorporate African-American authors. Sponsored by Harper Perennial, the award consists of $1,250 to attend the ALA Annual Conference, tickets to the FOLUSA Author tea, and a set of the Zora Neale Hurston books published by Harper Perennial at the time the award is made.

Francine Graf, former Editorial Director of Choice has been named as the 2014 winner of the Louis Shores Award, which honors an individual reviewer, group or editor for their book reviewing excellence for libraries. Graf, retired as of early 2014, was chosen for her outstanding contributions to reviewing for resources for academic audiences. Graf will receive a citation at the ALA Annual Conference.

Mammals of Africa (Bloomsbury), edited by Jonathan Kingdon, David Happold, Mike Hoffmann, Tom Butynski, Meredith Happold and Jan Kalina, was selected as the winner of the Dartmouth Medal, honoring a significant reference publication. This amazing source covers every recognized mammalian species in Africa. This resource will serve as a primary source of information and as a baseline for preserving the biodiversity of this great continent. A medal will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference.

Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation (HarperCollins) by Yossi Klein Halevi was named the winner of the 2014 Sophie Brody Award. The award encourages, recognizes and commends outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. A medal will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference.

RUSA Committee Reports

Just Ask Task Force
At ALA Midwinter, the Just Ask Task Force met to discuss the follow-up to the Managing Changes to Reference Services delivered by Gail Griffith on December 4th, 2013 and the next steps. The registration went smoothly for the first webinar, and the 100 spaces were filled in less than a day. Sixty-seven people actually attended and registrants were from all types of libraries; mainly academic, but including twelve public librarians and nine special librarians as well as two students. The committee members and guests gathered agreed that we should work to increase the number of people from the smaller groups. Webinar attendees indicated a strong interest in having RUSA do more of these Webinars and suggested a variety of topics. Those most often listed include: a series of webinars on change management, a webinar on planning marketing and outreach, a webinar of case studies of innovative changes in reference in libraries other than their own, and a webinar on how to best show the value of the things they do.

The second of two Just Ask-sponsored webinars, “Got a Minute?: How to Prepare your Parking Lot Speech,” was on February 12. It sold out and attendance was strong; a recording to the webinar can be found here.

The Midwinter discussion followed on how to move forward with this information and create new programming that advances the charge of this task force.

  • Create a RUSA vision of the reference/ information professionals and the services they provide
  • Communicate that vision by advocating for reference librarians
  • Provide access and creative resources for librarians to engage in that advocacy

Several ideas were discussed by the members and guests present at the meeting, and the following three areas were seen as areas for the task force to move within the current charge which is somewhat broad.

  1. Clarify the charge of the Task Force to assure we are on course.
  2. Determine the feasibility of creating a National Reference Services Week or a Virtual Reference Day possibly in September.
  3. Create a RUSA online course that builds on the suggestions from the free webinars; and the data from the PEW report “How Americans Value Libraries in their Communities” The Committee will do a conference call this spring to flesh this out completely.
  4. Continue to develop the Ask Campaign based on the Maryland pilot project – discussion included creating posters kits like the READ Campaign only having the poster split diagonally and have a community member on one half and a reference librarian on the other half with a question and answer.
  5. The Online access to the two webinars already presented are available:

A meeting of the Just Ask Task Force at ALA Annual has been scheduled for Sunday June 29 from 1:00-2:30 PM, location TBD.

Diana Shonrock and Elizabeth Stephan
Just Ask Co-chairs

Emerging Leader

Last month I attended my first ever ALA Midwinter Meeting and it was an amazing experience! Although I’ve attended several ALA Annual conferences this was my first opportunity to check out Midwinter. As RUSA’s Emerging Leader (EL), it was a pleasure to meet many RUSA members and to attend one of the RUSA Board of Directors meetings. My first full day at Midwinter was spent at an EL orientation, where I met the fifty-five other ELs from around the country and was introduced to my project team. It was really inspiring to hear the wisdom and advice of numerous people involved in ALA leadership, including ALA Past-President Maureen Sullivan and current ALA President Barbara Stripling.

Upon returning home to Brooklyn after Midwinter my EL project group and I began to discuss our group project. We were selected to design a virtual collaboratory for the members of ACRL’s Science & Technology Section (STS). In brief, we will design an online meeting space where STS members can meet to collaborate on scholarly projects and share research ideas. We will be creating a poster explaining the project which we’ll present at ALA Annual in Vegas. Stay tuned for more!

Katelyn Angell
RUSA Emerging leader


Carol L. Schuetz, Editor

Message from the BRASS Chair

Hello BRASS Members!

Even though official BRASS meetings are conducted online for Midwinter, some of us can’t seem to stay away from the conference and it was a pleasure to see many of you in Philadelphia. I caught up with some friends while eating delicious (and sometimes peculiar) food, took care of some business during chance meetings in the convention center halls, and was enlightened and entertained by the conversation at the BRASS Discussion Group, as always.

At the RUSA Book & Media Awards Ceremony in Philadelphia, BRASS recognized the Outstanding Business Reference Sources for 2013, selected by the Sources Committee, and the Best of the Best Business Websites for 2013, selected by the Education Committee. The annual BRASS individual awards and research grants are being finalized now. Keep an eye out for the official announcement of winners from RUSA.

BRASS elections are coming up—look for the official ALA emails. We have a fine slate of candidates:

  • Vice-Chair: Paul Brothers and Julia Martin
  • Member-at-Large: Jason Dewland and Patricia Kenly
  • Secretary: Natasha Arguello and Adele Barsh

As you can see from the committee reports that follow, vendor support for BRASS remains strong. We appreciate our vendors for their sponsorship and for their eagerness for our input on their products, services, and practices. Work also continues on the IMLS grant for financial literacy education in libraries, with solid BRASS representation. Expect to see guidelines issued later this year.

Upcoming programming from BRASS includes:

  • Two more virtual discussion groups before Annual Conference (TBA)
  • The four-part MBA in a Day webinar series (
    • Marketing: Andy Spackman, Thursday, March 20, 12:00-1:30 PM (Central Time)
    • Management: Elisabeth Leonard, Friday, April 4, 11:00-12:30 PM (Central Time)
    • Accounting: Todd Hines, Thursday, May 1, 2:00-3:30 PM (Central Time)
    • Finance: Shikha Sharma, Thursday, May 15, 2:00-3:30 (Central Time)
  • At Annual in Las Vegas:
    • Preconference: How Business Librarians Support Entrepreneurs
    • Academic Libraries Forum: Business Information Literacy Instruction: Scalability, Assessment, and Philosophy
    • Publishers Forum: Hitting the Jackpot: Sources for Local and Regional Business Information
    • Traditional BRASS Discussion Group
    • The BRASS Annual Program: Mad Men: The Business of Advertising
    • And don’t forget our Friday night members’ reception and Monday night dinner!

Andy Spackman
BRASS Chair, 2013-2014

Committee Reports

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee
The BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee recently met virtually. The committee’s main task for the year 2014 is organizing the forum at ALA Annual. The committee members have been hard at work. After soliciting submissions for the forum, we conducted a poll and selected the following speakers: Ilana Barnes, Jason Sokoloff, and Lisa O’Connor. Barnes is writing a paper about her experiences teaching a required information literacy course to a large number of students (and the problem of scalability), Sokoloff is covering concerns associated with assessment, and O’Connor is doing something really fascinating: discussing the internal psychological motivations of why people seek knowledge or think that would be effective behavior.

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee
The BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee recently met virtually. The committee’s main task for the year 2014 is organizing the forum at ALA Annual. The committee members have been hard at work. After soliciting submissions for the forum, we conducted a poll and selected the following speakers: Ilana Barnes, Jason Sokoloff, and Lisa O’Connor. Barnes is writing a paper about her experiences teaching a required information literacy course to a large number of students (and the problem of scalability), Sokoloff is covering concerns associated with assessment, and O’Connor is doing something really fascinating: discussing the internal psychological motivations of why people seek knowledge or think that would be effective behavior.

The committee also started to divide up supporting logistical work for organizing the forum.

Charles Allan, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee
We have added a new Public Librarian’s Briefcase article, No. 29, 1st Quarter 2014, “What’s in a name? Naming Rights as Revenue Generators.” In addition to the ALA URL, we have created a tinyurl: The 2nd Quarter’s topic for the Public Librarian’s Briefcase is a case study: the grant process and program elements for a major grant on Financial Literacy received by Melissa Jeter and The Toledo Public Library.

We are still kicking ideas around for our 2015 Annual program.

Ed Rossman, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Program Planning Committee
BRASS 2014 Program: Mad Men: The Business of Advertising
Monday, June 30, 2014, 8:00-10:00am

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

The session kicks off with breakfast, 8:00am-8:30am, sponsored by S&P Capital IQ.


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

Patricia Kenly, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee
The RUSQ column on “Outstanding Business Reference Sources 2013” was published in December 2013 issue. Becky Smith was the selections editor.

Suzanne Sweeney presented the list of winning Business Reference titles at the RUSA Book and Media Awards Reception at Midwinter.

We currently have twenty-one business reference titles nominated for the coming year. We hope to get several more nominated before the spring, when we will meet again online to begin the review process. Jordan Nielsen and Mark Siciliano are co-coordinators of the nominations process this year.

The Publishers Forum this year is being co-coordinated by Janis Tyhurst and Penny Scott, with assistance from Brittany Geissinger and me.

The forum will be titled “Hitting the Jackpot: Sources for Local and Regional Business Information.” The discussion will focus on the various types of local business information that are available through a variety of sources. We have contacted the following vendors and they have agreed to demonstrate their products specifically concerning the types of data they have for Las Vegas and Nevada in general.

  • Euromonitor Passport Cities (localized city economic profiles and analysis on consumers)
  • Demographics Now (US Census data)
  • Data Planet (U S States statistical datasets)
  • ProQuest ABI Inform Dateline product (local and regional business journals)

Ed Hahn has created a LibGuide for Business Reference Sources Committee (BRSC): Outstanding Business Reference Sources: Yearly Selection of Recent Titles which we hope to link to from our BRSC page.

Susan Hurst, 2012-2014 Chair

BRASS Discussion Group Committee
The BRASS Discussion Group moderated the all BRASS meeting at the ALA Mid-winter in Philadelphia in January. The meeting kicked-off with President Andy Spackman covering official business, approval of notes, and reviewing current plans for BRASS at ALA Annual in Las Vegas. The discussion portion of the meeting’s topics varied from the very restrictive policies of the Harvard Business Review, an update of the maker lab at Chicago Public Library, and other topics.

The Discussion Group plans on having two online discussions prior to the annual conference in June/July, monitor BRASS-L for dates, times, and topics.

Jason Dewland, 2012-2014 Chair

BRASS Education Committee
The BRASS Education Committee is happy to report that our first BRASS-sponsored free webinar “Industry Research Using the Economic Census and Other Government Sources” presented by Jennifer Boettcher from Georgetown University and moderated by our member Peter McKay from the University of Florida was a huge success. The recording is available for here.

The registration for the 2014 2014 RUSA BRASS preconference “How Business Librarians Support Entrepreneurs” is now open:

The winners of the Best of the Best Business Websiteswere announced by Louise Feldman at the RUSA Book and Media Award Ceremony at ALA Midwinter. This year we focused on the websites indispensable to entrepreneurs. The 2014 winners are:


To see the list of recipients, please visit the RUSA Awards Page.

At the virtual midwinter meeting the committee members discussed style guidelines for updating the BRASS Business Guides. The target deadline to complete the transition to topical guides is June 20, 2014.

Natasha Arguello, 2012-2014 Chair
University of Texas at San Antonio

BRASS Membership Committee
BRASS Membership Committee will be hosting the BRASS Member Reception, Friday, June 27, 2014 5:30-7:30 PM, location TBA at ALA Annual in Las Vegas. This is a great opportunity for BRASS members and anyone interested in BRASS to meet and network! There will be hors d’oeuvres and beverages for your enjoyment. Sponsored by InfoGroup.

Membership is exploring ways to engage current members and recruit new business librarians to our great section. One is making Facebook more appealing as a place to get some of your BRASS information. Another is to offer ways for BRASS members to connect locally for more day-to-day operational support.

Kelly Janousek, 2012-2014 Chair

BRASS Vendor Relations Committee

  • We were successful at getting increased funding for the Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award and Gale Student Travel award.
  • BRASS also has a commitment from InfoGroup for the Member Reception in Las Vegas.
  • S&P Capital IQ has committed to supporting our Monday Program breakfast.

Chris LeBeau, 2013-2015 Chair

BRASS Publications and Communications Committee

  • Kelly Evans has updated the BRASS publications list
  • Chad Boeninger has sent several reminders to the BRASS-L list, and to individuals, regarding the list guidelines.
  • Genifer Snipes reports since ALA Annual in Chicago, we have added thirty followers (or “Likes”) to our Facebook page and have been seeing increased interaction with posts.
  • Annette Buckley has made significant updates to the BRASS web pages and roster.
  • Pauly Iheanacho: Update from BRASS Representative to RUSA Publication and Communications Committee.

Chad Boeninger, 2013-2015 Chair

BRASS Section Review Ad Hoc Committee
The BRASS Section Review Ad Hoc Committee would like to thank everyone for making the review successful. Thanks to all who contributed in giving thought and time to making our section more efficient, engaging and enjoyable for all BRASS members.

Paul Brother, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award Committee
We regret to announce that the Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award will not be given this year. The committee received no nominations. We strongly encourage BRASS members to consider which of their public librarian colleagues might have benefited from this excellent opportunity to be recognized and receive travel funds for the next annual conference, generously sponsored by our friends at Morningstar. Please plan to nominate deserving colleagues next fall!

Karen Chapman, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Business Expert Press Award Committee
The BRASS Business Expert Press Award has received seven nominations. The committee reviewed the files of the nominees and made the selection of the recipient.

Desirae Zingarelli-Sweet, the Business Librarian of James Madison University of Virginia, is the recipient of the 2014 BRASS Business Expert Press Award. Ms. Zingarelli-Sweet has done an outstanding job in library instruction and collaboration with business faculty. She has been working with 1,500 business students helping them with their research projects via library instruction sessions and individual consultations. She has updated business research web pages adding new resources and has worked together with the Library Director to create a Graduate Student’s position to help with the demanding business research requests. Committee members believe that Ms. Zingarelli-Sweet will make a strong contribution to the profession of business librarianship and to BRASS.

Kaiping Zhang, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Emerald Research Award Committee
The BRASS Emerald Research Award Committee received six applications. The committee is happy to announce Ilana Barnes, Business Information Specialist and Tao Zhang, Digital User Experience Specialist, at Purdue University, as this year’s recipients of the BRASS Emerald Research Award. Barnes and Zhang are assessing how students engage with CrowdAsk, a crowdsourced business library help system in a business information context and is a paradigm shift from the traditional library reference help model. Barnes and Zhang will look at the return on investment for business libraries interested in implementing the system or others like it. The committee was impressed with Barnes and Zhang’s proposal in terms of providing valuable insights into innovative reference service models. This research has the potential to study a new type of reference model, crowd-sourcing, while providing insights into user engagement opportunities within the scope of undergraduate business information literacy.

Elizabeth Stephan, 2013-2014 chair



Barry Trott, Editor

Message from the Chair
During the CODES Board Midwinter Virtual Meeting, several actions were taken. The Listen List Manual was updated to reflect some important changes. The Board also approved a new charge for the Collection Development, Planning, Education and Assessment, which is now available on the committee’s webpage. Deb Abston (vice-chair) is hard at work on committee appointments. If you know anyone interested in serving feel free to contact her. The Board has decided to look into the possibility of offering a webinar with the $1500 allotted for recruitment and development of members. Overall everyone is looking forward to Annual 2014. CODES would love to see more attendance at the Association of American University Press’ (AAUP) “The Best of the Best from University Presses: Books You Should Know About,” program on Sunday June 29 at 1:00 PM. It’s a great opportunity to win some great books and be on C-SPAN.

Asia Gross

Committee Updates

Sophie Brody Award

The Sophie Brody Medal Committee met on Friday January 24 during Midwinter. We had a very efficient and productive meeting to choose a winner and two honor books. The winner is Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation (HarperCollins). The honor books are Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land: The Triumoh and Tragedy of Israel (Spiegel & Grau) and Jeremy Dauber’s The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye (Schocken).

Barbara Bibel, Chair

Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Committee

The Readers’ Advisory (RA) Research and Trends Committee will be presenting the RA Forum at ALA Annual. This year the forum will address RA marketing and features the award-winning marketing expert from Edmonton Public Library, Tina Thomas, and Duncan Smith of Novelist. Here is the program description:


Turning Books into a Cool New Tool: RA Marketing in the Age of Maker Spaces

Maker spaces and 3D printers are hip and libraries are using them to ensure that they remain relevant and are perceived as keeping up with the latest trends. One of the trends that hasn’t gotten much attention, however, is the fact that books are still our brand and reading is the main reason citizens view the library as valuable and continue to support it. Does the key to public library success lie in adopting new technologies or in revitalizing the one that has been at the heart of our services for more than 100 years? Join library marketing expert Tina Thomas of Edmonton Public Library and Duncan Smith of NoveList and find out at this program which argues that the key to our future is contained in our past.

This fall the RA committee partnered with Library Journal and NoveList to map the state of RA practice. The survey that we helped create has recently been complied. The survey can be found and downloaded at

Several times a year the RA committee hosts a CODES Conversation, a free, email-based conversation on an RA topic. Anyone can join in and participate or lurk as they desire. The last conversation was on RA training. Over 500 people signed up for the two-day event. The committee will host another conversation in early Spring. Look for details on CODES-L.

Neal Wyatt, Co-chair

Louis Shores Award

The Louis Shores Award Committee (Emily Hamstra, Barry Trott, and Ed Kownslar) met virtually on Tuesday, January 14 to select the 2014 award recipient. We had many outstanding nominations for the award this year. The committee chose Fran Graf, managing editor at Choice, as the 2014 Louis Shores Award recipient. Graf was announced as a recipient of the award at the RUSA Book and Media Awards at ALA Midwinter.

Emily Hamstra, Chair

CODES Reference Publishing Advisory Committee

The CODES Reference Publishing Advisory Committee hosted a discussion forum at the Philadelphia Midwinter jointly with the Reference Publishers Group. The forum gave reference publishers and reference librarians a chance to discuss common concerns. Discussion topics included the use and barriers to use of reference sources, the difficulty of locating reference sources spread among a number of different vendor sites, and the need for reference publisher to consider their target audience, whether it is to make information more accessible or at the other spectrum, more specialized and in-depth. Despite all of the issues surrounding the rapidly changing world of Reference Publishing, most present did affirm the continuing value of this material. The committee is planning a similar forum at the Las Vegas Annual Conference.

Bill McHugh, Chair

Listen List Council

The Listen List Council, Jen Baker, Reader Services Librarian, Seattle Public Library; Di Herald, Program & Outreach Manager, Delta County Libraries (Colorado); Joyce Saricks, Readers’ Advisory Consultant, Downers Grove, Illinois (chair); Neal Wyatt, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia; and Renee Young, NoveList audiobook project team lead, Durham, North Carolina, selected outstanding audiobook titles for 2014, and will be publishing a Reader’s Shelf column in Library Journals’ March 1 issue.

Renee Young, council member

Conference Program Coordinating Committee

The Conference Program Coordinating Committee will be focusing on the following items for the coming year: Working with the RUSA board to continue formalizing a new process for selecting and approving programs for presentation at ALA Annual; explore possibility of partnering with the Learning Round Table to improve ALA programming; consideration of planning an “unconference” for RUSA.

Kaite Mediatore-Stover, CODES Rep.


Laura Hibbler, Editor

Genealogy Preconference Planning
An audience of about eighty librarians and archivists filled the conference room at the Free Library of Philadelphia for the RUSA History/Genealogy section ALA Midwinter preconference event. Sponsor ProQuest provided refreshments and a delightful lunch. Fourteen top ranking speakers addressed popular topics including free genealogical online resources, future and current directions for NARA, producing genealogical webinars, Quaker sources, and government documents. Guest speaker Curt Witcher, Allen County Library Senior Manager for Special Collections addressed “Making the Financial Case for Genealogical Librarianship.” His dynamic presentation was taped and will be made available later this year. We look forward to another cutting edge event at Las Vegas on Friday, June 27.

Melinde Lutz Byrne, Chair

History Librarians Discussion Group
The RUSA History Librarians Discussion Group met on Jan. 26, 2014 from 1:00-2:30 PM. We had an excellent panel presentation on the roles of humanities librarians in Digital Humanities! The three speakers for the event were Sarah How, the European Studies Librarian from Cornell University Library; Nick Okrent, History Librarian, University of Pennsylvania Libraries; and Virginia Cole, the History and Medieval Studies Librarian from Cornell University Library. They discussed their participation in digital humanities related initiatives on their campuses. The presentation was followed by a very lively discussion. We had more than sixty attendees who participated and it was a successful event! The PowerPoint presentation from Sarah How and Nick Okrent can be accessed on ALA Connect. We welcome comments or feedback about the discussion. Please e-mail them to

Chella Vaidyanathan, Chair

Please check out the Information Literacy Guidelines and Competencies for Undergraduate History Students. These guidelines and competencies were developed by the History Sections’ Instruction and Research Services Committee and were approved by the RUSA Board of Directors last year.

Interested in updates from the History Section and keeping with news that is of interest to History Section members? Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for the history-l listserv!

MARS: Update from the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section

Cathy Larson, Editor
Join the discussion at

Message from the Chair


Annual Conference time is coming up soon, and I hope to see many of you in Las Vegas! I know I’m certainly looking forward to some warmer weather! The Emerging Technologies in Reference Group (MARS) has three discussion forums and one program planned as well as several committee meetings and a Happy Hour, so mark your calendars and we hope to see you often.

In addition, RUSA has a President’s program as well as an orientation, so there are lots of ways to get involved, learn more, and network with your colleagues. If you haven’t tried out the ALA Scheduler, I recommend it. ALA will keep this service up-to-date to reflect last minute room changes, and they monitor the site and may add seats to events where they see high advance demand.

On Saturday morning, June 29, from 8:30-10:00 AM, join us for our all-committee meeting. If you’re on a committee already, this is your primary meeting time. If you’re a member who can volunteer to help with the work of the section, this is a chance to stop by, talk with the committee chairs and members in one location, and find a committee that fits your interests.

Next up, our Management of Electronic Resources Committee is sponsoring a discussion forum. Please join us from 10:30-11:30 AM and keep an eye on your email for further details.

Saturday afternoon from 1:00-2:30 PM will be the MARS Chair’s Program. We will begin by honoring Anne Houston, this year’s recipient of the MARS Achievement Recognition Award. Then we have three great speakers lined up who will address the topic of Data Visualization.

Our Virtual Reference Discussion Group forum will also be held later Saturday afternoon, with the exact time to be finalized soon.

Capping off Saturday, from 4:00-5:30 PM, will be the RUSA President’s Program.

On Sunday, June 30, the Planning Committee will meet from 8:30-10:00 AM and on Sunday afternoon, from 1:00-2:30 PM, our Hot Topics Discussion Forum will be held.

Please join us late Sunday afternoon for the RUSA Awards Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party from 5:00-6:30 PM.

On Monday, if you’re still in town, plan to stop by our MARS Executive Committee Meeting from 8:30-11:30 AM. The meeting is where MARS Committee and Discussion Forum chairs, as well as MARS representatives to RUSA level committees share their activities of the last six months and their upcoming plans. We are meeting jointly with the RSS Executive Committee for the last hour to coordinate activities of our two sections.

Locations for all events will be finalized and available next month.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to volunteer, please go to, or contact Stephanie Graves, Vice Chair, Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) at

For those of you who have already volunteered, thank you for all your contributions to MARS and MARS members this year. You are making a difference.

Sam Stormont
MARS Chair, 2012-2013

Committee Updates

Hot Topics in Electronic Reference Discussion Group
The RUSA MARS Hot Topics in Emerging Technologies Discussion Group held a roundtable discussion on Sunday, January 26, 1:00-2:30 pm. Approximately thirty-five people came for the discussion. The discussion centered on technology challenges and solutions, training staff and new technology initiatives and projects. A few of the resources shared include:

We are also planning a discussion forum for ALA Annual on MakerSpaces. More details will be available later.

Chanitra Bishop
Chair, Hot Topics in Electronic Reference Discussion Group 2013-2014

RSS Review

RSS logo



Message from the Chair:

Hello Everyone!

Who knew that we had such a big winter in store? I’m counting on seeing more hints of spring shortly, as the robins are descending once again on the DC Metro Area.

RSS had a great ALA Midwinter, with five well-attended Discussion Groups and an amazing Fourth Annual Pancake Breakfast. But the overall high achiever was our MARS co-hosted workshop, “Collaboration: Spaces & Services,” with a whopping ninety attendees! Way to go RSS & MARS Education and Professional Development.

As March begins to fade away, don’t forget that this is the time to sign-up for Committees! Our Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, Qiana Johnson, is looking for a few good volunteers. To get involved, please complete the RUSA Volunteer form. If you have questions or would like to learn more about RSS and its committees, please feel free to contact me at or Qiana at

I look forward to hearing from you all as we begin the race to Annual and Las Vegas. And keep your eyes peeled for the first signs of spring!

Ann Brown
RSS Chair, 2013-2014

Get Involved with RSS!

The Reference Services Section (RSS) of RUSA represents the interests of librarians and library support staff engaged in all aspects of reference and information services including the delivery, management, and evaluation of reference and user services in all kinds of libraries. We represent and support library staff providing frontline reference service in libraries of all types.

We are currently inviting new and not-so-new members of RSS to volunteer to lead and serve on committees. The list and information about these committees can be found here. We are also looking for members to serve as RSS representatives to RUSA-level committees.

Serving on an RSS and/or a RUSA committee is a great way to give back to the profession, grow professionally, and network. To get involved, please complete the RUSA volunteer form.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about RSS and its committees, please feel free to contact me at

Qiana Johnson
RSS Vice-Chair

Committee Reports

Catalog Use Committee/Discover Services Committee

The RSS Board recently approved a name change to the Discovery Services Committee with this revised charge:

The RSS Discovery Services Committee focuses on the use of catalogs and other discovery tools in reference service, including such aspects as communicating, evaluating, improving, studying, and teaching the use of such tools; monitors and communicates significant continuities and changes in the use of such tools; identifies and examines critical issues and problems in the use of such tools; provides opportunities for librarians to propose and discuss innovative solutions to discovery problems; joins with librarians in other specialties to produce improvements in library service.

The Committee will hold a discussion forum at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 29 from 3:00-4:00 PM, opening with a few brief presentations as discussion starters.

Colleen Seale, Chair 2013-2014

Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need

The Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need committee conducted an online meeting on January 21 to check in on progress members have made with various tasks. One of those tasks is a survey to find areas of need within our community and the resources related to communication and teaching strategies. The survey questions were reviewed and finalized and we determined the venues we plan to send the survey out to initially. We also discussed the length of time the survey should remain open. We are currently working on getting the questions transferred and formatted into the survey software so that we can send it out soon. The results from the survey will be used plan programs, forums for discussions, and professional development opportunities.

Julie Housknecht and Holly Wilson, Co-chairs 2013-2014

Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee

The Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee sponsored two exciting forums at Midwinter. A standing room only crowd of roughly 140 people attended “Skype? FaceTime? Why Has Face-to-Face Not Been the New Wave in Digital Reference?,” which was facilitated by Benjamin Andrus, Binghamton University. The focus of the discussion was on how camera-to-camera reference has been implemented at different institutions. Most use Skype, but other platforms and course management systems were also discussed. The conversation then moved to emerging trends in digital reference and how emerging technology will shape the future of the reference interview. The take home lesson for the group was that all institutions are different and that a one size fits all solution for video based reference service has yet to be found. Many of attendees agreed that there is great value in offering these services, but they are underutilized by patrons. The hope is that as the next generation of library users come of age, they will not be hesitant to use services like Skype or FaceTime that they have grown up using.

Our second forum, “Patron-Centered Reference Librarianship: Using Patrons’ Interests to Motivate Information Literacy Learning,” was facilitated by Kevin Michael Klipfel, California State University, Chico, and it drew over seventy-five attendees. After discussing what is involved in student-centered teaching and agreeing that teachers are more Socratic facilitators than experts telling students what to think, focus shifted to how this would transfer to the reference desk. Attendees discussed the successes and difficulties that may be encountered when one tries to engage in patron-centered reference by tying students’ interests to their schoolwork. They also discussed how the traditional reference interview is not often patron-centric. Strategies for connecting with patrons as people and providing patron-centered reference in the virtual realm were also discussed.

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

Crystal Lentz, Chair 2013-2014

Education and Professional Development for Reference

Education and Professional Development for Reference co-sponsored events, a webinar with CODES Reference Publishing Advisory Committee and the in-person workshop before Midwinter Meeting with MARS Professional Development. The committee is currently engaged in gathering information on assessing the state of reference education. We hope to share our preliminary finding of phase one and two of the study by ALA Annual. Stay tuned for more information. If you are interested in helping us with this study, please contact the committee chair.

Joseph Yue, Chair 2013-2014

Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee

A group made up of members of ERUS and the Virtual Reference Services Committee created a survey to assess the state of the profession in the provision of virtual reference services, and will be moving into the analysis stage. At the end of January 2014, ERUS sent out a survey looking at reference service models and evaluation of service. At the close of the survey, we received a very large number of responses. Analysis of the results, as well as decisions on the best way to disseminate the findings will begin in the next few months. The committee is considering proposing a discussion forum for Midwinter 2015 on the same topic, with the hope that the survey results can be incorporated.

Jason Kruse, Chair, 2013-2014

Library Service to an Aging Population

The committee met virtually in January. Committee member Janet O’Keefe represented us for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at ALA Midwinter.

Continuing our work on the Guidelines for Library Services to Older Adults, we have begun drafting new standards for programming, outreach, and technology. We generally use the phrase “midlife and older adults” to recognize the spectrum of ages and life-stages represented by adults over fifty years of age. We are finalizing speakers and format for our ALA presentation in Las Vegas.

We are an active and enthusiastic group, with participation from librarians from across the country. Please consider joining us!

Abigail Elder, Chair 2013-2014

Marketing and Public Relations for Reference

We met in person at Midwinter and finalized plans for our discussion forum proposal. The discussion forum will begin with a presentation by two librarians who are using a sales framework that helps them ask questions of their patrons and show how the library can help meet their needs. We’re exploring options for hosting a follow up open meeting for discussion forum attendees to discuss whether they have been able to use the framework in their daily work.

We’ve also been in touch with the Just Ask committee to see if there are areas where we could collaborate. We expect more discussion on this in the coming year.

Jessica Hagman, Chair 2013-2014

Virtual Reference Tutorial Subcommittee

The Subcommittee continues to work on the Virtual Reference Companion (VRC) with the goal of completion by ALA Annual 2014. The group meets monthly (including our recent Virtual Midwinter Meeting on January 31st) and works in subgroups between meetings.

To date, five modules have been completed and we are in the finishing stages of the Assessment and Professional Development modules. Once complete with those, we will begin the final two modules: Staffing/Partners and Information Literacy.

The VRC is accessible at this link; it is also linked under the Hot Links section of the RSS Virtual Reference Committee page, and the Professional Tools section of the RUSA Resources page, the VRC is now linked in the Web Resources section of the ALA Library Fact Sheet 19: Virtual Reference: A Selected Annotated Bibliography.

One section of the VRC has Tips & Best Practices and we continue to seek input from RSS members. If anyone has words of wisdom to share on any topics related to virtual reference, please send them to Jared Hoppenfeld at or Christine Tobias at

Stay tuned to hear about a possible forum where you can hear more about this resource at ALA Annual in Las Vegas.

Jared Hoppenfeld, Chair 2012-2014

Christine Tobias, Chair 2013-2014

Young Adult Reference Services Committee

Young Adult Reference Services Committee (YARS) held a face-to-face committee meeting during Midwinter to finalize its discussion forum that was taking place later that afternoon on how adolescent brain development affects teen information seeking behaviors. The results of that discussion forum will be publicized in the upcoming issue of Young Adult Library Services (YALS). During the meeting, the committee decided that during 2014 ALA Annual, the committee will host a discussion forum on Homework Help in libraries, a controversial topic. Information will gathered on best practices in order to make a recommendation as to what level libraries should expect to offer in-house homework help to their students.

YARS will be meeting in-person at Annual during the RSS All-Committee Meeting.

Allyson Evans, Chair 2013-2014

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


Kerry Keegan, Editor

Message from the Chair

Hello STARS Members and Friends,

I can’t believe my tenure as Chair is halfway over already! As usual, STARS has been an active section with a lot going on. Thank you to everyone whose hard work has helped us to offer webinars, programs, standards, and other practical tools. At our recent meetings in Philadelphia for ALA Midwinter, I was reminded of just how creative, clever, and hard-working STARS members are. It’s the involvement of great resource sharing and access services practitioners that keeps us one of the most interesting and vital sections in ALA—I may be a bit biased.

If you’re not already a member of STARS, please consider joining. Not only is the section doing great work, but its members are some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable folks you’d ever want to network with, and provides great opportunities for making connections, building resumes, and learning from experts in our field. Feel free to contact me ( or 713-743-9747) for more information or answers to burning questions.

If you’re ready to get involved, we’re currently making committee appointments for 2014-2015. Contact STARS Vice-chair Tina Baich, appointment maven extraordinaire, at She’ll be happy to connect you with an opportunity to serve on a committee or as a STARS representative.

All best,

Nora Dethloff
STARS Chair, 2013-2014


Committee Reports

STARS Membership Committee

RUSA STARS Membership Committee has been busy working on the STARS 10th Anniversary Celebration with the extended planning committee. We’ve been exploring venues, themes, time lines, etc.—all based on the feedback we received from our members! Make a note to attend our special 10th Anniversary Social in Las Vegas! Membership also recently revised the Five Things to ensure updated links and resources. We also welcomed Naomi Chow as the newest STARGazer:!

Micquel Little, Chair

Virginia Boucher-OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award Committee

The Virginia Boucher-OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award committee has finished accepting nominations and is in the process of vetting candidates. We look forward to announcing the 2014 winner in the near future. Look for the news in an upcoming STARS section newsletter.

Megan Gaffney, Chair

STARS Education and Training Committee

On Friday January 24, 2014, the RUSA STARS Education and Training Committee held its seventh annual free “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about ILL” workshop at Drexel University’s Library Learning Terrace. Fifty-six attendees learned about the basics of interlibrary loan including borrowing, lending, copyright, assessment, and statistics from speakers Megan Gaffney, Karen Janke, Cindy Kristof, and Collette Mak. Atlas Systems, OCLC, and Drexel Libraries generously sponsored the event.

Karen Okamoto, Chair

STARS Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies Committee

At Midwinter we met to discuss expanding the STAR Checklist and we will have a new and improved version ready soon!

Beth Posner, Chair

Atlas Systems-Mentoring Award Committee

The Atlas Systems-Mentoring Award committee has selected one nomination for this award and is waiting on final approval from the STARS Executive Board. We received seventeen applicants and the committee took a lot of time reviewing and discussing to finally select a winner.

Hopefully we will have a name to share in the very near future!

Amy Paulus, Chair

CODES/STARS Cooperative Collection Development Committee

The CODES/STARS Cooperative Collection Development Committee is busy at work, updating ILL Code documents. We’ll announce when updates are completed in a future STARS section newsletter.

Ryan Litsey, Chair

STARS Research and Assessment Committee

The STARS Research and Assessment Committee met at the ALA Midwinter and discussed the following:

  • We created procedures for survey assessments of workshops for RUSA STARS and are sent them to the Executive Committee for approval.
  • We have analyzed the feedback surveys from three programs, two from Annual 2013 and one from an online workshop. These will be going to be placed on ALA Connect and the chairs of the committees will be notified.
  • We will be doing the same for the Discussion Group and Hot Topics groups at Midwinter 2014.
  • We are also working on a proposal for a program at Annual 2015. We will be proposing a lightning round session of practical examples of assessment tools and outcomes including effects on collection development and marketing. Our working title is ILL Data-Storm: practical assessment.

Bethany B. Sewell, Chair

Vendor Relations Committee

The Vendor Relations Committee is planning its next meeting for ALA Annual in Las Vegas. We look forward to setting goals for increasing vendor communication with STARS members and welcome recommendations from all STARS members. Please feel free to contact Alison DePollo, at with ideas or feedback.

Alison DePollo, Chair