From the President

Every year is a great year for RUSA but I have to say I am really impressed with everything going on in the five short months since Annual Conference and what we have planned for the future. Go RUSA!

Some highlights:

  • IAmRUSA: An interactive member-of-the-week launched in September. A big thanks to Kirk MacLeod, RUSA Spectrum Scholar, and Sarah Hammill for showing what two dedicated and enthusiastic people can do in rolling this out.
  • RUSA President’s Office hours: Bring your questions and ideas!
  • BRASS Harvard Business Review 500 statement has been picked up by news outlets and library bloggers.
  • Several webinars and online courses were offered this fall and more are planned for the spring. Register now! Some, like Managing Changes to Reference Services have sold out.

The Midwinter meeting in Philadelphia is nearly here. While many committees do not meet face-to-face at Midwinter, RUSA has a full slate of activities: discussion groups, RUSA Social, RUSA Awards, a preconference institute, etc. See the RUSA News and Section Reports for more information on RUSA activities for Midwinter.

You are what makes RUSA great! Without you we would have no one to work for and no one to prepare webinars, plan programs, write guidelines, select awards, etc. Committee appointments will be done in the spring (link) and the volunteer form is very important to fill out, even if you have been on committees before. My president’s column in the Winter issue of RUSQ has hints on an effective volunteer form and more details about the appointment process.

I really enjoying my year as president, although it has certainly kept me busy. There are more exciting things yet to come, including RUSA event at the Annual Conference and several projects which are in the works, but are not yet ready announce. So,to keep up with what RUSA is doing for you, subscribe to rusa-l or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you!
RUSA President, 2013-14

Emerging Leader Report

I’m a reference and instruction librarian at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Prior to my current position I worked at Sarah Lawrence College as a social sciences reference librarian. My research interests include games based library instruction, the organization of information, and community outreach, and recent publications include articles in Reference Services Review and Public Services Quarterly. I’m currently pursuing a graduate degree in psychology at LIU Brooklyn. I’m very excited to serve as an Emerging Leader, and look forward to representing RUSA.

Kate Angel
RUSA Emerging leader, 2014


RUSA Nominees for 2014 ALA Elections
ALA elections may not be until Spring of 2014, but RUSA already have a full slate.


  • Liane Luckman Taylor
  • Anne Beaubien


  • Danise Hoover
  • Stephanie Atkins
  • William McHugh
  • Janalyn L. Moss

For more information about ALA elections, please see ALA Election Information.

Confessions of a reference librarian: IAmRUSA launches interview series
Ever wonder exactly what kind of work members of RUSA do, or maybe which courses they would recommend for students looking for a career in reference or user services?

Each week IAmRUSA will feature a different interviewee for participants to ask questions about their professional careers, their passions and anything else involving librarianship. Hosted by ALA Connect, anyone interested may join the IAmRUSA community; participants do not need to be RUSA members.

If you are interested in participating as an interviewee, contact Kirk MacLeod or Sarah Hammill for more information.

Accepting Nominations for 2014 RUSA Achievement Awards

RUSA and RUSA sections are now accepting nominations for the following grants and awards. Please be aware of deadlines as some of them may have passed by the publication of RUSA Update.

Andrew Carnegie medal finalist named MacArthur Genius
Fiction writer, Karen Russell was named as one of 24 MacArthur “genius” fellows. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awards this annual grant to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.”
Russell was a finalist for the 2012 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for her first novel, Swamplandia!.

Call for RUSA Volunteers
March 1, 2014 is the planned closing date to volunteer for our RUSA, BRASS, CODES, History, MARS, RSS, and STARS committees. There’s no reason to put it off, though—volunteer today! Keep in mind that attendance at ALA Midwinter may not be required for some committees and sections. Feel free to contact the committee chair, section chair, or me if you have any questions about attendance. Links to RUSA division-level and section committees can be found here. Access the volunteer form using the same URL provided above. The menu to select section-level committees is located at the bottom of RUSA Committee Volunteer Form (requires sign-in).

Read the latest issue of RUSQ!
Reference and User Services Quarterly, Volume 53, Issue 1 is available and can be found on the RUSQsite.

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers at President Kathleen Kern’s Office Hours
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers at President Kathleen Kern’s Office Hours

Already a RUSA member but not sure where you fit in? Want to get involved? Just curious? Have a question about working with your committee and getting things down? We’ve got all the answers and more. President’s Office hours are also a good place to bring your ideas and enthusiasm.

RUSA President Kathleen Kern will hold virtual office hours via Adobe Connect every Tuesday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. CST.

Meet RUSA Board members:
From flight attendant to librarian: Q&A with Louise Feldmann, RUSA Director-at-Large

RUSA Membership Social and Trivia Contest at Midwinter!
Saturday, January 25, 5:30-7:00 PM, Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel-Liberty Ballroom B

Kick off the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting in style with the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Membership Social—an opportunity to eat, drink, network, win door prizes, and learn more about RUSA. The social open to all current RUSA members, friends of RUSA and those meeting attendees interested in learning more about the association and networking with peers. All attendees will have the opportunity to play trivia to win fantastic door prizes!

RUSA Book and Media Awards Ceremony and Reception at Midwinter!
Sunday, January 26, 5:00-6:30 PM, Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel-Liberty Ballroom A

We’ll unveil the winners of the The Reading List, Notable Books and Listen List selections—lists that are used by readers advisory librarians nationwide—as well as the winners of the Dartmouth Medal for reference, the Sophie Brody Medal for Jewish literature, the Zora Neale Hurston Award for achievement in promoting African-American literature and the Louis Shores Award for book reviewing. All ALA Midwinter Meeting participants are invited to this celebration on-site in Philadelphia. Can’t attend? Track the announcements on Twitter with the hashtag #literarytastes.

Midwinter RUSA Board Meeting I, Town Hall Chat
Saturday, January 24, 1:30-3:30 PM
Midwinter RUSA Board Meeting II, Town Hall chat room, Monday, January 27, 2:00-4:00 PM, Pennsylvania Convention Center-118 A

Not able to attend Midwinter? You can still participate in RUSA planning. At the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, join the RUSA Board either in person or online to participate in the annual Town Hall meeting on Saturday, January 25, at the beginning of the RUSA board meeting which begins 1:30-3:30pm. Visit these ALA Connect chat rooms on January 25 to participate online (you may be asked to login or register to comment):

Chat Room 1:
Chat Room 2:
Chat Room 3:

Here are some questions to think about:

  • What keeps you involved in RUSA?
  • What encourages you to attend RUSA meetings?
  • What additional topics would you like to see in RUSA professional development activities?
  • What affinity areas would you like to see in RUSA (such as interest groups on particular topics that cross section levels)?

RUSA Committees

Just Ask Task Force
The Just Ask Task Force has been planning two upcoming free webinars. “Managing Changes to Reference Services” featuring Gail Griffith was held on December 4. The webinar was full, so for those not able to attend, a recording will be available. The second webinar titled, “Got a minute?: How to Prepare Your Parking Lot Speech,” time and date to be determined later.

Elizabeth Stephan
Diana Shonrock



Carol L. Schuetz, Editor


Message from the BRASS Chair
Hello BRASS members! It’s been an eventful fall for BRASS, as shown by the reports from committee chairs below.

We are excited about the $25,000 IMLS Sparks! Grant received by RUSA to create guidelines and best practices in financial literacy education in libraries. Kit Keller has been selected as project director, with a working team consisting of BRASS members Chris Le Beau, Andy Spackman, and Elizabeth Malafi, and an advisory panel with membership from a variety of organizations involved in financial literacy education. The grant will result in guidelines, a white paper, and webinars, and is an excellent opportunity for BRASS to make a difference in a growing area of library service.

In August the Harvard Business Review removed the ability to print, link, or download for 500 of its most used articles on the EBSCO platform. To regain this level of access libraries must now pay a significant premium. Concerned about this loss of access and its implications for the information ecology, BRASS formed a task force to study the situation and make recommendations. Ann Fiegen, Past Chair, led the group, which also included Annette Buckley, Glen McGuigan, Heidi Senior, Linda Hauck, and Lisa Ancelet. The resulting document passed through additional revisions and was approved by a vote of both the BRASS and RUSA executive committees. The RUSA/BRASS Statement on Harvard Business Review Pricing & Access will be announced through an ALA press release, distributed through multiple listservs, and is available on the BRASS website.

The HBR 500 statement will by no means be our last word on the matter. Rather, it should be the beginning of discussion, both within BRASS and between business librarians, their institutions, and publishers. BRASS has a role to play in advocating for access to information, and the strength of our members’ contributions will help us lead the way.

Andy Spackman
BRASS Chair, 2013-2014

BRASS Committee Reports

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee
The Business Reference in Academic Libraries committee is busy planning its forum at 2014 ALA Annual. Several submissions have been received for potential speakers and a subcommittee is busy evaluating a lot of interesting and innovative proposals. If you think you would like to submit an idea and be part of the three to four speakers, please do so!

The committee is also gathering responses to Celia Ross’s call for all BRASS committees to respond to a series of self-evaluation questions on how each committee fulfills the BRASS mission statement. The Business Reference in Academic Libraries committee contributes significantly to academic business education outreach and leadership and we’re looking forward to sharing our insights with Celia.

This committee is planning to hold a virtual meeting during ALA midwinter.

Charles Allan, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee
The committee has added a report to the Public Libraries briefcase. The report is Google Drive or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Online Forms by Sal DiVincenzo. This report can be found by going to the BRASS website and clicking on the MORE link by the Public Libraries Briefcase. The committee also discussed topics for ALA Annual in San Francisco in 2015. The committee has liaised with the RSS/Job and Career Services committee on resources for specialized entrance and certification exams.

Ed Rossman, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Program Planning Committee
Mark your calendars for …..BRASS 2014 ALA Annual Program

Monday, June 30, 2014, 8:0010:00 AM

Mad Men: The Business of Advertising
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).

The other speaker will focus on an advertising campaign, or advertising expenditures by a large “ad spender.”

Patricia Kenly, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee
The Business Reference Sources Committee is off to a good start, with several business reference titles nominated so far, but we could always use some more. Please let Jordan Nielsen or Mark Siciliano know if you run across any new good business reference titles, as they are coordinating the Business Reference nominations process for the committee. We are also starting to work on putting together the Publisher’s Forum for ALA next summer. If there are topics or vendors you’d like to see us present, please contact the Janis Tyhurst or Penny Scott, the Publisher’s Forum coordinators for this year. We are also wrapping up our section review and will turn in our self-study responses to the Section review Committee by the end of Sept.

Susan Hurst, 2012-2014 Chair

BRASS Discussion Group Committee
The BRASS Discussion group hosted an online discussion in August and had a truncated discussion in October due to technical difficulties.

The August discussion was an open forum, the free flowing conversation focused on collection development and smaller institutions as well as trends in business reference. The meeting concluded with an update of the BRASS reaction to the Harvard Business Review’s new access policies. Emily Treptow, Michigan State University, and Jason Dewland, University of Arizona, served as moderators, thirty individuals participated.

The second online discussion was organized by Stephanie Tulley, UC Santa Barbara, and Jason Dewland and was to feature a business librarian from the Boston Public Library. Due to technical difficulties in Boston, that portion of the discussion had to be cancelled. A brief overview of working with entrepreneurs at academic institutions and a review of the data management tool DataZoa concluded the meeting. Approximately twenty-five people were present.

Jason Dewland will reach out to the creators of DataZoa to have them sponsor an online webinar about their product (unaffiliated with BRASS). Watch for more on this event via the BRASS-L listserv.

Jason Dewland, 2012-2014 Chair

BRASS Education Committee
Lots of exciting events are happening in the BRASS Education Committee:

  • Our first BRASS-sponsored free webinar “Industry Research Using the Economic Census and Other Government Sources” presented by Jennifer Boettcher from Georgetown University is scheduled for December 11, Wednesday, 2:00-3:30 PM EST, with the follow-up in one week, on December 18, Wednesday, 2:00-3:00 PM EST. You can register here.
  • The preparation for the 2014 RUSA BRASS preconference is also under way. The preconference working group, including Natasha Arguello, Tom Ottaviano, Hiromi Kubo, and Christina Sheley, will coordinate the event. We are venturing out into a new topic which will be of interest to many librarians, “How Business Librarians Support Entrepreneurs.” This full-day preconference will focus on market research for entrepreneurs for both Main Street and technology start-ups. The preconference will address common questions on how to help entrepreneurs locate information about their market, industry, competitors and customers and which free or premium resources to use. Speakers will discuss existing best practices of supporting small business along with examples of collaboration with entrepreneurship faculty. Attendees will also learn about licensing business resources relevant to entrepreneurs and avoiding material breaches.
  • The committee members are working on creating updated BRASS Business Guides which will combine Best of the Best Business Websites and Selected Core Resources guides for each topic. We expect to have drafts ready by Midwinter.
  • Another traditional October activity for our committee is nominating and voting for three Best of the Best Business Websites which will be announced at the RUSA Book and Media Award Ceremony at the ALA Midwinter. Our theme this year is Entrepreneurship. Voting should be completed in the first week of November. To see the previous winners, please see the RUSA Awards site.

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

BRASS Membership Committee
Did you see BRASS’ own Chris LeBeau lead the week long IAmRUSA interview session with members? This forum led by RUSA gives ALA members the opportunity to ask RUSA members about their professional careers, their passions, and anything else involving librarianship. Chris had a video interview and answered questions about business librarianship. If you did not see her posts the last week in October, go to ALA Connectto read more about Ms. LeBeau!

A mini-reminder since BRASS just does not have enough friends. Become a “friend” of BRASS Facebook page. See pictures and events. You can LIKE US at Facebook.

If you did not get to attend the 25th Anniversary Celebration, you can see all the smiling BRASS members and dignitaries who attended here.

Kelly Janousek, 2012-2014 Chair

BRASS Vendor Relations Committee
The Committee has been communicating with the award vendors and RUSA to get the awards lined up for the New Year. The Committee has also been actively working on the Harvard Business Review issue, and we have received approval for the S&P Breakfast for our Annual Program.

Chris LeBeau, 2013-2015 Chair

BRASS Publications and Communications Committee
The Publications and Communications Committee has been in a bit of transition this year.

  • John Gottfried stepped down as committee chair this year. His work is greatly appreciated by the committee members and BRASS.
  • Several new members have joined the committee.
  • Chad Boeninger is the new Chair of the Publications and Communications Committee and is doing his best to get a lay of the land.
  • Genifer Snipes is the new Social Media Coordinator
  • Katie Emery is the new BRASS-L manager
  • The committee has worked with and completed the section review process with Julia Martin.
  • As a committee we have discussed challenges and issues with the website, including Natasha’s recommendations on how to improve content and navigation of the site.
  • We will look into doing a content audit to figure out what is on the Brass website and how much it is used
  • Genifer Sipes has reached out to BRASS chairs and committees to understand which committees have social media profiles.

Chad Boeninger, 2013-2015 Chair

BRASS Section Review Ad Hoc Committee
As the chair of the BRASS Section Review Ad Hoc Committee, I would like to remind everyone (especially committee chairs), of the due date on the BRASS Section Review. The final report is due to RUSA on Feb. 15, 2014. The committee’s desire is to get a finished review to the BRASS Executive Committee by Midwinter meeting. If you have not been contacted already with your committee’s participation request please contact Paul Brothers, committee chair, ASAP. Brothers can be reached at or by phone at 205-348-1097.

Paul Brother, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award Committee
The committee for the Morningstar Public Librarianship Award is now seeking nominations. The award is $1,250 in travel funds for the 2014 ALA Annual Conference to a public librarian who has performed outstanding business reference service and who requires financial assistance to attend the conference. Find more details on the BRASS website. BRASS members who are public librarians are encouraged to nominate themselves!

Karen Chapman, 2013-2015 Chair

BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Excellence in Business Librarianship Award Committee
This award honors an individual who has made significant contributions in the field business librarianship. The recipient will receive a $3,000 cash award and a citation. Applicants for this award will be evaluated based on their contribution to the field of business librarianship. To submit a nomination, please download and complete the nomination form, and follow the submission instructions therein. The deadline for submissions is December 15. For more information, as well as link to the nomination form, please see the RUSA site. A copy of the nomination form (PDF) can be downloaded here.

Mark Andersen, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award Committee
Sponsored byGale Cengage Learning, this $1,000 monetary prize is given to a student enrolled in anALA accredited master’s degree program to fund travel to and attendance at the ALA Annual Conference and a one-year membership in the Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) of RUSA. Applicants may download the form here: nomination form (PDF format). Deadline for all nominations is January 31, 2014.

Matthew Brower, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Business Expert Press Award Committee
This award presents a citation and $1,250 to an individual new to the field of academic business librarianship in order to support attendance to the ALA Annual Conference. To nominate a deserving candidate, download and complete the nomination form, and follow the submission instructions therein. The deadline for nominations is December 15.

Kaiping Zhang, 2013-2014 Chair

BRASS Emerald Research Award Committee
The Emerald Research Grant Award, sponsored by Emerald Group Publishing Limited offers one award of $2,500 and a citation to an individual or team seeking support to conduct research in business librarianship. Interested candidates should submit a detailed proposal outlining their proposed research project; methodology, scope and timetable; how this project fits into the existing literature; and projected outcomes, including a statement outlining how this research will benefit the library profession. The deadline for submissions is December 15.

Elizabeth Stephan, 2013-2014 Chair


Barry Trott, Editor

The CODES Board will have its 2nd virtual Midwinter Meeting meeting in 2014; CODES is testing the efficacy of virtual CODES Board meetings as part of a two-year pilot project. All are welcome to attend.

The fall is the busy time for many of the CODES awards committees. The book award committees are deep into reading titles and narrowing down the hundreds of possibilities to shortlists for consideration at Midwinter. The service award committees are issuing calls for nominations, and reviewing nominations, in preparation for making selections by Midwinter. RUSA members should be sure to keep their calendar open for the RUSA Book and Media Awards event at Midwinter when the work of these committees is announced.



Laura O’Neill Hibbler, Editor

Midwinter Institute: Genealogy Resources for Librarians Institute
Sponsored by ProQuest Friday

January 24, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
Philadelphia Free Library conference room, 1901 Vine St., Philadelphia, PA 19103

This all-day institute addresses issues of importance to library staff and administration when serving or partnering with genealogical patrons, volunteer, scholars, or educators. Fourteen panelists and lecturers will present at the midwinter ALA RUSA Midwinter Genealogy Resources for Librarians Preconference Institute, “Future Directions for the National Archives and Records Administration.” Specialists will discuss everything from superb free resources to future directions at NARA to webinar outreach, new online offerings, webinar instruction, government documents, Quaker resources, and making the financial case for genealogical librarianship. Luncheon included.

Register now at the Midwinter Ticketed Events page. You do not need to be registered for the entire conference to participate in the ticketed events.

The History Section Genealogical Publishing Company Award
Established in 1992 and sponsored by Genealogical Publishing Company this award presents a citation and $1,500 cash to a librarian or library in recognition of their professional achievement in historical or genealogical reference, service or research. The recipient shall be selected for exceptional accomplishment in one or more of the following areas: professional association leadership and/or service and training; reference services; publication of recent, important, and highly regarded print or web based reference works; or digital projects that offer important access to genealogical or historical sources. Please visit the Genealogical Publishing Company Award page for more information.


Update from the Emerging Technologies in Reference Section
Join the discussion at

Cathy Larson, Editor


We are fast approaching the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia from January 24-27, 2014. For Midwinter of 2014, MARS will again use a modified system of meetings. Most committees, other than the Executive Committee, will not meet in person during Midwinter. Committees are meeting virtually prior to Midwinter, and submitting a report of committee activities to the Executive Committee by email. The Executive Committee will meet in person during Midwinter and will refer to committee reports to conduct business. The Planning Committee, and members of those groups hosting discussion forums will be present as well. With the continuing challenges many of our members face in finding funding for two conferences per year, we hope this model will meet our needs.

Please let us know how you feel about this change. One issue is that we don’t seem to be able to get as many committee volunteers with the new format. Committee appointments, which typically begin July 1 of each year, are generally made between the Midwinter and Annual meetings and without interested volunteers attending our Midwinter committee meetings, it has been more of a challenge to identify those interested in working with our committees. I welcome your thoughts on ways we can increase our ability to identify willing and interested volunteers.

Watch for details on time and place in the coming weeks regarding the RUSA Membership Social. This event allows RUSA members and prospective members to meet and mingle while learning more about RUSA. I encourage you to attend if you are able to do so. The social is a highlight for RUSA during the Midwinter Meeting and it is a great place to encourage others to join us in MARS and to volunteer to serve on committees.

MARS will also be hosting some very interesting discussion forums during Midwinter. We are also planning a free preconference workshop Look for more specifics later this month. Please show your support by attending these forums if your schedule permits.

Please note that ALA’s new meeting policy, initiate last year, will be in effect. As a result, you will note that two of our discussion forums are shorter; only sixty minutes instead of the usual ninety. This new meeting policy is ALA’s response to feedback from members who requested shorter meeting times. See the Annual Conference 2013: Change Roadmap for more details on the change discussion.

Highlighting some of the work going on between conferences:

The Nominating Committee has been hard at work over the fall and they have prepared a slate for the upcoming elections. Watch your emails in March for the new ballot. And be sure to make your vote count!

The Planning Committee is preparing for Section Review. In conjunction with the members at large, the committee will be meeting virtually and at Midwinter to finalize the report that will be submitted to RUSA. This is a regular task, whereby each of the Sections in RUSA review their activities, structures and plans for the future. The review helps us to formally document where we’ve been, evaluate what changes may be needed, how we relate to other sections and divisions within ALA, to create a roadmap for continual improvement in the section, and to provide information back to our parent division, RUSA.

Finally, help us to select an outstanding section member for the MARS Achievement Recognition Award (My Favorite Martian) this year! See the Call for Nominations for information on award criteria and deadlines for nominations.

See you in Philadelphia!

Sam Stormont
Chair, Emerging Technologies in Reference Section (MARS) 2013-2014

RSS Review

Amy Rustic, Editor





Message from the Chair:

Hello RSS Members!

I hope all of you are staying warm as we head into winter.

RSS is working on its agility and responsiveness to the changing nature of librarianship. We are currently reviewing the charges of three of our committees to better reflect our membership and its needs. As we finalize those, please check this newsletter for the next update.

If you’re heading to Midwinter, please make a point of stopping by one of our discussion forums, or join us for our Fourth Annual Pancake Breakfast! It’s a great opportunity to network with RSS leadership and make new friends. We are in the last phase of planning, so make sure to check RSS-L for where we’ll be eating the morning of Saturday, January 25.

See you online and (maybe) at Midwinter!


Ann Brown
RSS Chair, 2013-2014

What Makes RSS Great? Tell us why you think RSS is great:

RSS Committee Reports

Catalog Use Committee
The RSS Catalog Use Committee is applying to the Board to change the Committee’s name and to revise its charge. We will not be meeting at Midwinter but will be meeting virtually and will plan a discussion forum for the 2014 Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

Colleen Seale, 2013-2014 Chair

Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need
The Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need committee met on October 23 to review its goals and direction for the future. We decided to continue with our plan to survey relevant communities with the objective of using the data gathered to build a portfolio of best practices and created a timeline for completion. The committee will review the survey at our Midwinter meeting in January and administer it in February 2014.

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

Discussion Forums Coordinating Committee
SKYPE? Face Time? Why Has Face-to-Face Not Been the New Wave in Digital Reference?

Saturday, January 25, 1:00-2:30 PM

Face-to-face communication utilizing mobile devices has become increasingly popular thanks to front-facing cell phone cameras and other technologies, yet literature written about offering video reference services concludes that such services are not heavily utilized. Join with colleagues to share your own experiences with video chat reference, ideas for marketing the services, and whether or not you believe what the literature concludes is true. Facilitator: Benjamin Andrus, Binghamton University

Patron-Centered Reference Librarianship: Using Patrons’ Interests to Motivate Information Literacy Learning
Sunday, January 26, 8:30-10:00 AM, Pennsylvania Convention Center-115 C

Although it is widely acknowledged that library education should be patron-centered, serious discussions of patron-centered reference librarianship are virtually non-existent. Now is your chance to be part of just such a discussion. Gather with colleagues to share best practices and strategies for engaging users in patron-centered learning at the reference desk. What does patron-centered learning mean to you? What strategies do you use to connect with users at the reference desk? How can we motivate authentic learning within the context of reference? Learn from others and share your own strategies for connecting with users as unique individuals, not just information problems to be solved. Facilitator: Kevin Michael Klipfel, California State University, Chico

Crystal Lentz, 2013-2014 Chair

Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee
A team made up of members from Evaluation of Reference and User Services Committee (ERUS) and Virtual Reference Services (VR) Committee, created a survey to assess the state of the profession in the provision of virtual reference services. The survey was sent out in September, and the analysis of results will begin soon. ERUS is also finalizing the questions for a survey looking at reference service models and evaluation of service. The survey will hopefully be ready to send out to listservs by the end of this year. ERUS will be meeting virtually after the Midwinter Conference.

Jason Kruse, 2013-2014 Chair

Health and Medical Reference Committee
The committee will host a discussion group during the ALA Midwinter Meeting called “Your Experiences with the Affordable Care Act.” The program will take place Monday, January 27 from 8:30-10:00 AM in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in room 105A. Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment goes through March 31, 2014. Come to this forum to discuss your library’s experiences: what has worked, what hasn’t worked, complaints, successes, surprises (both good and bad), and any other things about this process. A subgroup to rewrite guidelines for medical reference has met monthly to prepare a draft of the Guidelines. The committee will meet at ALA Midwinter to discuss the guidelines and other committee business on Sunday January 26 from 3:00-4:00 PM.

Karen Vargas, 2012-2014 Chair

Job and Career Reference Committee
The RSS Job & Career Committee held it’s first free webinar on Thursday, November 21: “Partnerships in Career Services @ Your Library: A Case Study at St. Paul Public Library”,

Description: Join the ALA RSS Job & Career Reference Committee for a presentation and discussion on the work of St. Paul Public Library surrounding their Mobile WORKplace, community partnerships, and other initiatives to assist their patrons with digital literacy and employment after a strategic planning process.

New Listserv
We are also launching a subject-specific reference listserv:

RSS Job and Career Reference Listserv. This is a subject-specific listserv that addresses Job and Career reference/public service delivery within a library setting (public, academic, corporate or special). Appropriate content includes relevant workshop offerings, reference questions & resource reviews. No vendor surveys.

We invite anyone with interest in the topic to join the listserv by sending an email to with SUBSCRIBE rssjcr-l firstname lastname in the subject of the message and leave the rest of the email blank.

For any questions or concerns please contact Kate Oberg.

Midwinter Discussion

RSS Job & Career Reference will be meeting virtually during Midwinter although they have an in-person discussion also planned entitled “Partnerships and Job & Career Reference: RSS Job & Career Reference Committee Discussion Forum.”

Description: There are many organizations involved in assisting job-seekers. How do libraries interact with community partners when offering library services to job seekers? Join the RSS Job & Career Reference Committee for a discussion and sharing of programs, strategies & techniques.

It is tentatively scheduled for: Saturday, January 25 3:00-4:00 pm

Nominations Requested
The Committee is also accepting nominations from ALA members for speakers on job and career reference. If you know a library system or librarian who has accomplished a great deal in job & career reference, that has strong presentation skills, and an interest in sharing with the wider library community, please email us. Send all nominations to committee chair, Kate Oberg.

Kate Oberg, 2013-2014 Chair

Library Service to an Aging Population
The RSS Library Services to an Aging Population continues to work on overhauling the Guidelines for Library Services to Older Adults, for which we are responsible. Right now, we are working on the reference and programming sections, with the goal of having a draft ready for our virtual meeting on January 16.

Abigail Elder, 2013-2014 Chair

Library Services to the Spanish Speaking
The RSS Library Services to the Spanish Speaking Committee, is trying to get the Board to approve a revision to our Committee’s charge so that our focus can be changed to immigrants, not just the Spanish speaking. The proposed revision of the charge reads: “To improve library services to immigrants of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds at the local and national levels.” We are a very small group at present and would really welcome more participation.

For more information about the committee please contact:

Dana M. Lucisano, 2013-2014 Chair

Marketing & Public Relations for Reference
The Marketing and Public Relations Committee met virtually in early October. We are exploring ways that libraries can work to promote the work of librarians in promotion for libraries overall. We will continue our discussion when we meet at Midwinter and are investigating possibilities for hosting a discussion forum at Annual. If you’ve seen any great examples of campaigns promoting the work of librarians or library staff, we’d love to see them. Please send to Jessica Hagman.

Jessica Hagman, 2013-2014 Chair

Recognition Committee
The Recognition Committee is soliciting nominations for the RSS Service Achievement Award.

This annual award is presented to an RSS member who has made either a sustained contribution towards attaining the goals of the Reference Services Section or a single significant contribution that has resulted in a positive impact upon the work of the section.

Anyone who wishes to nominate a Reference Services Section member for the award should do so by December 15. Please send a nomination letter to the award committee chair (Emilie Smart) detailing how the nominee has met either of the above criteria Questions regarding the award or nomination process should be directed to the committee chair.

Emilie Smart, 2013-2014 Chair

Research and Statistics Committee
The Research and Statistics Committee of the Reference Services Section of RUSA invites the submission of research projects for presentation at the 20th Reference Research Forum at the 2014 American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

The Reference Research Forum continues to be one of the most popular and valuable programs during the ALA Annual Conference, where attendees can learn about notable research projects conducted in the broad area of reference services such as user behavior, electronic services, reference effectiveness and assessment, and organizational structure and personnel. All researchers, including reference practitioners from all types of libraries, library school faculty and students, and other interested individuals, are encouraged to submit a proposal.

For examples of projects presented at past Forums, please see the Committee’s website.

The Committee employs a blind review process to select three projects for 20-minute presentations, followed by open discussion. Selected submissions must be presented in person at the Forum in Las Vegas, NV.

Criteria for selection:

  • Quality and creativity of the research design and methodologies;
  • Significance of the study for improving the quality of reference service;
  • Potential for research to fill a gap in reference knowledge or to build on previous studies;
  • Research projects may be in-progress or completed;
  • Previously published research or research accepted for publication will not be accepted.

Proposals are due by Monday, December 30, 2013. Notification of acceptance will be made by Monday, February 10, 2014.

The submission must not exceed two pages. Please include:

  1. A cover sheet including your name(s), title(s), institutional affiliation(s), mailing address(es), fax number(s) and email address(es).
  2. The second page should NOT show your name, any personal information, or the name of your institution. Instead, it must include:
  3. Title of the project;
  4. Explicit statement of the research problem;
  5. Description of the research design and methodologies used, and preliminary findings if any;
  6. Brief discussion of the unique contribution, potential impact, and significance of the research.

Please send submissions by email to:
Ava Iuliano, Chair, RUSA RSS Research and Statistics Committee,

Ava Iuliano, 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 Subcommittee meets monthly and works in subgroups between meetings.

The Skills module was completed at the end of August and resources were added to the Resources section of the VRC. The remaining four modules to complete are Assessment, Professional Development, Staffing/Partners, and Information Literacy. The Subcommittee has divided into two subgroups to complete work on the Assessment and Professional Development modules by ALA Midwinter 2014.

The VRC is now live at It is also linked on the RSS Virtual Reference Committee page under the Hot Links section and on the RUSA Resources page under Professional Tools. We have requested to have it linked in the Web Resources section of the ALA Library Fact Sheet 19: Virtual Reference: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. The old resource is still available at

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

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

Young Adult Reference Services Committee
Young Adult Reference Services Committee (YARS) has gone through a busy year of transition. At the ALA Annual in Chicago this summer, the YALSA Board voted to conditionally make YARS a joint committee between YALSA and RUSA RSS, so long as its charge was rewritten to reflect its new joint committee status and approved by both divisions. Not only is the committee rewriting its charge, it is also overhauling RUSA’s Guidelines for Library Services to Teens to better align with YALSA’s Research Agenda. The committee will be holding an in-person meeting at Midwinter on Sunday, January 26 at 8:30 AM, at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Room 402. Following the meeting, YARS will host the discussion forum “The Teen Brain Construction Site: How the Adolescent Work-in-Progress Mind Shapes Information Seeking Behaviors” from 10:30-11:30 on Sunday January 26 at Midwinter; Pennsylvania Convention Center Room 204 C.

Allyson Evans, 2013-2014 Chair

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


STARS Membership Committee
STARS Membership has just posted a new STARGazer! Naomi Chow’s interview can be found on the STARS page. The 5 Things webpage has been revised and updated for this upcoming year and we’re working hard to communicate with committees in an outreach effort through our monthly updates to new and current members.

We’ve also been working with additional members who volunteered for the 10th Anniversary Social Planning Committee to organize a celebratory social in Las Vegas! Lars Leon, Heather Weltin, Megan Gaffney, Shirley Thomas, Denise Forro, Beth Clausen, Deidre Clarkin, and myself are busy busy brainstorming ideas, options etc. We recently sent out a survey to the STARS Members asking for feedback on what folks would like to see. Five quick questions taking less than forty-eight seconds can be found here.

Micquel Little, Chair

STARS Legislation and Licensing Committee
The Licensing and Legislation Committee, would like to make sure that everyone is aware that the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild against Google was dismissed. It’s a big victory for Google. For those who would like to read more about the case, please see the article “Google Books: Court Dismisses Authors’ Lawsuit” from the November 13, 2013 issue of the Wall Street Journal.

The Committee will be meeting remotely in December and at ALA Midwinter.

Shannon O’Grady, Chair

STARS Education and Training Committee
The STARS Education and Training Committee is currently distributing a survey to ILL practitioners asking for their feedback and thoughts on the ShareILL wiki. We are also organizing our free 2014 ALA Midwinter workshop “Everything you always wanted to know about ILL.” The workshop will be held on January 14 at the Library Learning Terrace at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Registration is limited to sixty-five.

Additionally, we are working with the Research & Assessment Committee, headed by Charla Gilbert, on analyzing the survey results for our ILL and genealogy webinar presented last month by Amber Case and Cherie Wieble. We are trying to establish a partnership with the RUSA Genealogy Committee, headed by Michael Hall, for our 2014 ALA Annual presentation also on ILL and genealogy.

Karen Okamoto, Chair

STARS Research and Assessment Committee
The Research and Assessment Committee is working with the Training and Education Committee to input surveys for webinars and upcoming sessions at Midwinter. We are also evaluating said surveys and looking for trends within the surveys. Because we received a new mission this past summer, we are continuing to redefine our purpose and work on policies and processes for the work to be completed.

Becky Ringwelski, Chair

Boucher Award Committee
The Virginia Boucher-OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award committee welcomes nominations in recognition of outstanding professional achievement, leadership, and contributions to interlibrary loan and document delivery. For full award criteria and nomination instructions, visit the awards page. The nomination deadline is December 15.

Megan Gaffney, Chair

STARS-Atlas Systems Mentoring Award Committee
The STARS-Atlas Systems Mentoring Award committee has been promoting this award via various listservs. Deadline for nominations is December 15. Additional promotions are planned. To date, the committee has received one official nomination and several inquiries about eligibility.

Amy R. Paulus, Chair