RUSA Committee Reports

RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee
Proposals for programs and pre-conferences at ALA Annual 2017 in Atlanta and for pre-conference institutes at ALA-Midwinter 2017 in Chicago are due to CPCC by the end of the day on May 16, 2016. Section chairs and chairs of RUSA-level committees have access to the proposal form. Individuals who are planning programs for those conferences and who have received formal approval from a RUSA-level section or RUSA-level committee need to submit the proposal form by attaching it to an e-mail addressed to Jason Coleman, CPCC’s chair, at

CPCC and RUSA’s Office had initially planned to release the program submission form to leaders of RUSA’s sections and leaders of RUSA-level committees in early March. They had advertised a submission deadline of May 1, 2016. Unfortunately, ALA’s Conference Services encountered difficulties with the conference software they use to create the submission forms. This has resulted in a delay in their release of the draft version of RUSA’s program submission form to RUSA’s staff. As a consequence of these delays, CPCC extended the submission deadline to May 16, 2016 and worked with RUSA’s Executive Director, Susan Hornung, to develop a MS Word version of the form. RUSA’s President, Anne Houston, distributed the form to chairs of RUSA’s sections and to chairs of RUSA-level committees.

Early this year RUSA CPCC developed an extensive list of suggested modifications to the conference program submission form that was used last year. RUSA’s Office had planned to implement as many of those requested changes as the software used for the form would allow. Given the delay in the creation of the form, RUSA’s Office and RUSA CPCC have agreed to wait until next year to implement the majority of these modifications.

Jason Coleman
RUSA CPCC Chair, 2015-201

RUSA Publications and Communications Committee
The RUSA Publications and Communication Committee is currently accepting volunteer applications from RUSA members to lead the transition and future directions of the RUSA Voices ( ).
The focus of the RUSA Voices will be for contributors to share, discuss, and
promote current trends in reference and user services. The Blog will be written
by a team of columnists with a publishing schedule facilitated by a coordinator.

We are currently looking for:
●       A blog coordinator
●       A blog website coordinator
●       columnists to contribute to the blog

should be submitted no later than
June 17, 2016.  Apply online:

Available Positions:
RUSA Blog Coordinator:

●      Coordinator is responsible for recruiting and selecting
four or more columnists with a variety of perspectives and sets
publication schedule to ensure regular postings that represent a broad
spectrum of ideas relevant to RUSA members and potential members. The
coordinator establishes columnist recruitment plan, to be shared with RUSA
Publications and Communications Committee.
●      Edit articles for content, style, format and correct
grammatical usage.
●      Accepts, solicits, and selects requests for guest posts
as needed
●      Collaborates with Blog Website Coordinator,
Publications and Communications Committee, and RUSA staff to ensure Blog
meets RUSA branding standards.
●      Serves ex-officio on RUSA Publications and
Communications Committee
●      Works with RUSA Publications and Communications
Committee to create marketing plan for blog, to promote blog to readers
within RUSA and also to a general professional audience.

RUSA Blog Website Coordinator:
●      Website Coordinator is responsible for maintaining,
updating, and securing WordPress blog.
●      Provides technical support to Blog Coordinator and
●      Solicits improvements and plugin suggestions from RUSA
members for RUSA Voices
●      Coordinates with RUSA Webmaster on the technical
specifications and the integration of the RUSA Blog with RUSA News, RUSA
Website, and social media.
●      Collaborates with Blog Coordinator, Publications and
Communications Committee, and RUSA staff to ensure Blog meets RUSA
branding standards.
●      Serves ex-officio on RUSA Publications and
Communications Committee

●      Writes and posts 6+ articles per year
●      Serves as peer reviewer for other columnists as needed
●      RUSA Member

Recruitment  Process:
The committee will accept applications from RUSA members for all positions thru June 17,
2016. The committee will conduct interviews for the RUSA Blog and Website Coordinators.
Once the Blog Coordinator is selected, that individual will lead the selection
process for columnists.

In 2013, an Emerging Leader’s project created the blog “Chasing
Reference”. This blog was a great way for members and new librarians to create
content, share their experiences, and highlight trends within the profession.
The Publications and Communications committee began RUSA Voices, and would like
to see the blog continue. Additionally, the current RUSA Blog has been
rebranded as RUSA News with the RUSA office as the content creators which
allows for the opportunity for a member driven blog.

Amy E. Rustic, Chair

RUSA Learning Archive Task Force
The Learning Archive Task Force has completed an environmental scan of sources of information about those webinars, courses, programs, pre-conferences, institutes, and workshops RUSA has offered since 2011. This scan revealed that the combination of reports from RUSA’s Office, RUSA Update, RUSA News, and the conference programs for ALA Annuals and ALA Midwinter Conferences were the most fertile sources of metadata about those learning opportunities. Task Force member Stephanie Atkins has created a spreadsheet summarizing information obtained from RUSA’s Office and from the conference programs. In the near future the Task Force will augment the spreadsheet by culling information from RUSA Update and RUSA News. Once the spreadsheet is complete, they will create a Google Form to serve as the front end of the Learning Archive. They will then work with RUSA Board to develop a mechanism to share the data in the archive and to create a procedure for keeping the archive up-to-date in the future.

Jason Coleman
RUSA Learning Archive Task Force Chair, 2015-2016

RUSA Name Change Task Force
RUSA Members: Are we ready for a name change?

The word Reference is the first word in our association acronym.  For many of us with years working in library public services, the word is both meaningful and identifiable, even comforting.  Yet the very nature of reference service has changed.  In many libraries, units formerly called the “Reference Department” have been renamed, as early as fifteen years ago, “Information Services” or “Research Services.” Also, print collections once labeled “reference” have been stored and replaced by online resources for greater accessibility by all.  As pointed out in a recent article by RUSA President Anne Houston, “What’s in a Name?” (Reference and User Services Quarterly, Spring 2016) reference may be only a small part of what we do on a daily basis.  Perhaps the word is not a part of our job assignment at all. Yet, RUSA is our home within a very large national association.

In February, the RUSA Name Change Taskforce was assembled with members representing a wide variety of roles within our profession.  The crux of the charge is to both to “determine name change possibilities” and, consider “larger issues of rebranding within RUSA and library public services.”  The guidance in the charge counsels us to recognize that “reference is changing radically” and that we should think deeply about ALA’s Libraries Transform campaign as we envision transformations within RUSA itself.  Moreover, we need to re-envision a name which speaks to not only current members but to potential members whose job titles we cannot yet imagine.  In short, a new name should be relatable and recognizable, encompass the very large scope of our activities and service, and defines us among other ALA divisions.   The feedback we collect from members and non-members and a short list of name change possibilities are due to the RUSA board by the end of this year.

As our annual conference in Orlando approaches, the task force is planning to use social media (Hashtag namerusa#), flyers, email blasts, an online survey, and other onsite venues to gather as much feedback as possible before and during the conference.

How do you relate to the RUSA name and brand?  Does ‘reference’ represent what you do?  What about the word ‘service’ and ‘users’?  Should the name be a pronounceable acronym? What collection of words would speak to potential new members?  How do we represent RUSA values in a name?

Responses to these questions and more, in addition to informal conference discussions will guide the task force toward the creation of a list of name possibilities and brand issues for consideration by the RUSA board.

What do you think?  Are you ready for a name change?

Nancy Cunningham
Co-chair,RUSA Name Change Taskforce

RUSA Committee Reports

Emerging Leader

An Update from RUSA’s Emerging Leader

It has been a privilege to serve as RUSA’s Emerging Leader over the past year. Although the Emerging Leader program only runs from January through June, my experience as an “emerged” leader is ongoing. Here are a few updates:

  • RUSA’s Emerging Leader team presented our project about library publishing services at ALA Annual. (Read our report here) With the support of the RUSA board, we are developing plans for a program about publishing services in libraries for ALA Annual 2016. Many thanks to RSS for sponsoring this program! We also hope to develop a publication for RUSQ or another appropriate venue, ensuring that the insights from our research are available and discoverable in the future.
  • I have been bitten by the leadership bug! One of the biggest takeaways of my time as an Emerging Leader is the understanding that leadership is an option for everyone, whether or not you have an official administrative role in an organization. Applying leadership principles to my own career and life has helped me become a better librarian and a more satisfied, purposeful person. My research and reading about leadership in libraries and in business led to a recent publication called “How to Lead Your Library (When You’re Not In Charge)” in College and Undergraduate Libraries, and I had the opportunity to share these insights at a regional conference as well. I look forward to researching (and implementing) more insights about leadership in the future.
  • An important part of the Emerging Leaders program is helping early-career librarians find a niche in ALA. My niche is right here in RUSA! I love this organization and what we accomplish together – fostering excellent public services in every library. This year I have the opportunity to support our mission as a part of RUSA’s Professional Development Committee. Keep your eye out for some amazing webinars and courses this year! I’m also serving on ETS committees for professional development and planning, and I’m looking forward to running for office on next year’s ETS ballot.

Once again I’d like to thank the RUSA board for their sponsorship and the entire RUSA community for your support of my year as an Emerging Leader. I look forward to serving alongside you for years to come. The 2016 class of Emerging Leaders has just been announced, and I’m excited to see that RUSA will be sponsoring Catherine Damiani! Look for updates from Catherine here in RUSA Update next year.

Beth Boatright

RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee
RUSA’s Conference Program Coordinating Committee (CPCC) held an open online meeting on Oct. 28, 2015. During the meeting, the committee established four goals for the 2015-2016 year:

  1. Work with RUSA staff to revise the program submission form to ensure it: (1) provides the committee with the information it needs to make its selection decisions; and (2) provides individuals filling out the form with the information they need to bolster the chance that their submission will be approved.

Update: The committee has developed a mock-up of the previously used form. By Nov. 30, each member will provide recommended changes.

  1. Work with RUSA staff and RUSA Board to make sure the submission and approval process is clear to RUSA members and to RUSA’s sections. Pursue this by communicating clearly with RUSA Board and RUSA sections, by clarifying the call for proposals and by adding information to the proposal form itself.
  2. Work with RUSA’s Professional Development Committee and RUSA’s staff to develop a database of RUSA Learning Opportunities.

Update: RUSA’s Learning Archive Task Force has been created to meet this goal.

  1. Carefully evaluate program submissions and, when necessary, work with submitters to     improve the quality of the submissions.

Jason Coleman
RUSA CPCC Chair, 2015-2016

RUSA Membership Committee
RUSA 101 and 201 are starting up again!

  • RUSA 101 is an orientation to RUSA, it’s sections, and the work done across the division.
  • RUSA 201 provides more in-depth content for RUSA members about what is done at the division level and opportunities to get involved.

Join us for RUSA 201 on Wednesday, November 18, and RUSA 101 on Wednesday, December 16. All will be helded at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central/2pm Mountain/1pm Pacific/12pm Alaska/11am Hawaii.

If you or your committee are interested in being featured, please drop me a line at


Ann Brown, chair

RUSA Learning Archive Task Force
In October, 2015 RUSA created a Learning Archive Task Force and charged it with creation of an archive of performance data about RUSA’s face-to-face and online learning-related programming. The task force held its first meeting on November 11, 2015 and set a tentative goal of presenting RUSA’s Board with a detailed proposal before the end of January, 2016 and completing the archive by the end of May, 2016.

Jason Coleman
RUSA Learning Archive Task Force Chair, 2015-2016

RUSA Committee Reports

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

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


Ann Brown, chair

RUSA Committee Reports

Just Ask Task Force
Just Ask started in 2012 as a group to develop, among other things, advocacy tools for reference librarian. The charge of the Task Force has changed from its inception, but the one thing that remained was the desire to promote and advocate for reference librarians. After three years, the Just Ask Task Force is being discontinued. Just Ask will be meeting at ALA Annual (details below), but we wanted to highlight a few of the Task Force’s high points.

Just Ask Discussion Group, Midwinter 2013
This discussion group was interesting and informative. During the group, attendees were asked what they wanted from the Just Ask Task Force. A theme of tools to help reference librarians do their jobs, but also manage change and advocate for themselves both inside and outside of their libraries emerged. From that Discussion Group, three things emerged: Two webinars and a pilot marketing campaign. Notes and feedback from the discussion group can be found on ALA Connect.


Ask Campaign Pilot
In addition to the webinars, Cathay Keough and Julie Strange put together the Ask Campaign pilot as a way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Maryland AskUsNow!. The pilot featured patrons of the library holding up questions asked by patrons online (via Twitter, chat, etc.) as a way to highlight the kinds of questions reference librarians can ask For more information about their Campaign, please see their post on ALA Connect.

Just Ask will be meeting at Annual on Saturday June 28 from 1:30-3:00 in the Conference Center in room 226(S). We will use this meeting to wrap up and loose ends and to begin planning the final report the co-chairs will submit to RUSA.

On a personal note, we would like to thank current and past members of the Just Ask Task Force, Susan Hornung and the current and past presidents of RUSA (Mary Popp, Kathleen Kern, and Joe Thompson), for their support. We would also like to thank Liz Markel, Andrea Hill, Marianne Braverman, and Leighann Wood for their help and support; they were invaluable. And thank you to everyone who participated in our discussion groups, webinars, or who attended the meetings.

Diana Shonrock
Elizabeth Stephan

Co-chairs, Just Ask Task Force

AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups
A name change for the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups was approved by committee members and the RUSA Executive Committee. The committee will now be known as the AFL-CIO/ALA Labor Committee.

Aliqae Geraci
Co-chair, AFL-CIO/ALA Labor Committee

RUSA Membership
Our Virtual RUSA 101’s have been an unqualified success! If you are interested in publicizing your group or would like to be a special guest, just let Ann Brown ( know. Or if you are interested in a more focused audience, sign up for a RUSA 201.

But please join us for our in-person RUSA 101: Network, Get Oriented, Get Involved!

Friday, June 26, 3-4pm Westin St. Francis, Tower Salon A & B

If you’re new to RUSA or a longtime member looking for an opportunity to connect with other members and ways to get involved, make sure to put RUSA 101 on your calendar! Sponsored by all RUSA Sections.

Ann Brown, chair

RUSA Publications and Communications Committee
Launch of RUSA Voices – Call for Bloggers!

RUSA Voices (, the official blog for RUSA, is an virtual forum for the reference and user services community. It is an opportunity to not only raise awareness of and explore practices, technology, and issues in reference and user services, but also to voice and share a diverse set of perspectives that represents the diverse community of RUSA.

If you have something to say, we want to hear it. We want to know what challenges you have faced so that we might feel like we’re not alone as librarians. We want to hear what works and what doesn’t work. We want to know about people who have made a difference not only for their patrons, but also for the profession. Write and share what you know, what you have experienced. This blog is about YOUR voice! Give breath to your hopes for the future of reference and user services. Blogging is simple, just write. Put your thoughts down in a document. Share your Voice and improve not only your own understanding, but the understanding of the rest of the profession.

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis. Please email editor David Midyette ( for questions or submissions.

RUSA Committee Reports

Just Ask Task Force

The Just Ask Task Force has continued to meet have been discussing its future goals. The Task Force is developing social media tools that reference staff can use to highlight what they do, including a #JustAsk social media campaign. Reference staff would be encouraged to Tweet some of their most interesting questions using the #JustAsk hashtag. We are hoping to compile these as a way to highlight the variety of questions we receive. Said another way, it’s a way to tell our story. Stay tuned for more details.

Just Ask co-sponsored the Midwinter RUSA Discussion Forum as a lead-in to the upcoming President’s Program. Although the attendance was only about 20 the discussion was lively.

Just Ask met on Saturday, January 31st at Midwinter in Chicago and determined to focus in the following areas:

  1. Creating a the prototype of “librarians are” posters working with the RUSA Office marketing staff, and work with “Librarian Wardrobe” blog to get photographs for the posters.
  2. Plan a free webinar for late spring related to President’s program and our committee goals of marketing reference librarians and use of social media in reference or privacy and censorship—how do we adjust reference to meet the real needs of new types of searchers?
  3. Writing an “Emerging Leaders” proposal to get an emerging leader group to work on the marketing campaign.
  4. Further define how to market what a “reference librarian” is; please feel free to share your ideas with us.

Just Ask will meet online early in March.

Elizabeth Stephan
Diana Shonrock


RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee

The RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee (CPCC) held two meetings since the last RUSA Update, one virtual and one in-person. The in-person meeting took place in snowy Chicago at ALA Midwinter. Among other topics discussed at each was the request by the RUSA President to work on a database (in collaboration with other RUSA committees and members) of professional development offerings presented by RUSA. The results of this discussion were presented at RUSA Board II and resulted in the formation of a “task force” to investigate and implement this project.

The CPCC chair also presented information to RUSA membership on the process of submitting programs and pre-conferences at the inaugural RUSA 201 webinar in January 2015.

RUSA will be posting the submission form for 2016’s Midwinter pre-conferences and Annual programs in early March. CPCC is looking forward to receiving proposals in early May.

Don Boozer
RUSA CPCC, Chair 2014-15

RUSA Membership

The RUSA Membership Social at ALA Midwinter Chicago was a resounding success with more than 100 attendees!

RUSA 101 and 201 are doing very well, averaging 14 people per session. If you or your group would like to participate in either RUSA 101 or 201, please let Ann Brown ( know. We’re always looking for special guests!

Ann Brown, chair

RUSA Committee Reports

Just Ask Task Force
The Just Ask Task Force has continued to meet since ALA Annual and have been discussing its future goals. The Task Force is developing social media tools that reference staff can use to highlight what they do, including a #JustAsk social media campaign. Reference staff would be encouraged to Tweet some of their most interesting questions using the #JustAsk hashtag. We are hoping to compile these as a way to highlight the variety of questions we receive. Said another way, it’s a way to tell our story. Stay tuned for more details.

Midwinter Meeting:
Task Force Meeting: The Task Force will be meeting on Saturday January 31 from 1:00-2:00 PM, location to be determined. The meeting is open to anyone.

Elizabeth Stephan
Diana Shonrock


Professional Development Committee
The Professional Development Committee (PDC) provides leadership and coordination of learning opportunities beyond the geographic constraints of conference meetings. This year the committee already reviewed proposals for online courses and webinars. Peruse the outstanding new offerings and register for one or more of these great learning opportunities We are excited to announce that RUSA Executive Committee once again agreed to offer each section one free webinar in calendar year 2015. The PDC will review the proposals in spring 2015 but now is the time to start thinking about submitting a proposal. Stay tuned for the call for proposals and deadlines.

Elizabeth Kline, chair

RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee
The RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee (CPCC) will be meeting at ALA Midwinter in Chicago on Sunday, February 1, 1-2:30 pm to discuss logistics, priorities, and projects. However, the “rubber will really hit the road” beginning in May 2015. Be on the lookout for the RUSA announcement for program submissions for ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando, Florida. Once announced, the deadline for submissions will be May 1, 2015! So, it’s never too early for RUSA Sections to begin thinking about program offerings in Orlando. Currently, each section has one slot available for a program offering, but, as additional details become available, we’ll be keeping everyone informed. If any section chairs have questions about 2016 programming, feel free to communicate these to your liaison and we’ll get answers for you. The current CPCC roster is available at

RUSA CPCC will also be having a pre-Midwinter online meeting with a meeting time to be announced to kick off the 2014-15 committee’s activities.

Don Boozer, chair 2014-15

RUSA Membership
In a new initiative, RUSA Membership has been holding monthly sessions of a virtual RUSA 101 on the second Thursday of the month. Not only does Joe Thompson, current RUSA President join, but we’ve also had Tina Baich, Chair of STARS, Qiana Johnson, Chair of RSS; Jenny Presnell, Chair of History; Ed Kownslar for RUSA Awards; Todd Hines, Chair of BRASS; and Stephanie Graves, Chair of MARS. Thank you to all of these amazing volunteers! We’ve averaged 15 people at every session which has been amazing! (And if you’re interested in guest starring–send Ann Brown an email at

We’re going to start RUSA 201 in December. This will be a virtual session aimed at people already in RUSA and on Section Committees. Watch the listservs for an announcement!

Ann Brown, chair

RUSA Committee Reports

Just Ask Task Force

A pared-down Just Ask group met at ALA Annual to discuss the next steps. After several successful ventures during the last year, it was decided that the group would focus on external Reference advocacy efforts. Using Maryland’s AskUsNow pilot of the ASK Campaign, members of Just Ask will develop a marketing plan and working with RUSA marketing to develop a national ASK Campaign featuring promotional items that librarians and libraries could use to promote reference services. Initial thoughts for the campaign were ASK posters featuring real questions asked by library users. The goal is to have a plan and advocacy toolkit ready to present at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference.

Elizabeth Stephan
Diana Shonrock


RUSA Committees

Just Ask Task Force
The Just Ask Task Force will be meeting at Annual to follow up on its meeting at Midwinter. We hope to revisit some of the ideas and plan for some future events and develop some long term planning. To review what was done at Annual, please see the Spring issue of RUSA Update. Guests are welcome to attend.

Meeting Time: Sunday, June 29; 1:00-2:30
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center, room N211

Diana Shonrock and Elizabeth Stephan, Co-chairs

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

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


RUSA Committees

Just Ask

Just Ask met at ALA Annual to review what had been done since Midwinter in Seattle. The Ask Campaign has been piloted by Cathay Crosby and Julie Strange as a way to promote Maryland’s JustAskNow service. The Ask Campaign is a series of posters with library users holding a question asked at the library, similar to the READ posters. We hope that this project will lead to a national campaign. You can read more about Crosby and Strange’s pilot on ALA Connect and on the JustAskNow page. We are also planning at least one free webinar that will be focused on change and how it can specifically be applied to reference services.

Elizabeth Stephan, Co-Chair
Diana Shonrock, Co-Chair

RUSA Committees

RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee
As of this writing, the proposal form for 2014 Midwinter Institutes and 2014 Preconferences and Programs was about to close on May 15. The committee is preparing to review the proposals in advance of its next meeting on Friday, May 24. Recommendations will then be sent on to RUSA Board so that it can approve the slate of programs and budgets when it meets in Chicago during this year’s Annual Conference.

Many thanks go to this year’s CPCC members, who have worked through so many of the questions that followed the release of last year’s ALA Conference Changes Roadmap. It has been a great team effort!

ALA Annual 2013 in Chicago is almost here! See RUSA President Mary Popp’s report for a review of the fifteen fantastic programs organized by RUSA sections and committees, as well as the Business Reference 101 preconference from BRASS on Friday, June 28.

Joe Thompson, Chair

RUSA President’s Program Planning Committee
The committee is putting together the final pieces of this year’s RUSA President’s Program—one of the major events at this year’s ALA Annual Conference. We hope to see you at the program on Saturday, as well as the Sunday morning discussion! See below for details.

Saturday, June 29, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program

Just how well do you know the people who use your library? Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and co-author of Networked: The New Social Operating System, shares the latest data about how our clientele are interacting with information technology. Learn about patron preferences and behaviors during this program. Then, join Rainie and library leaders on Sunday, 10:30-11:30 A.M. to discuss how the data will influence your library’s future. #rusapres13

Sunday, June 30, 10:30-11:30 A.M.

The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The Discussion Continues

The discussion continues following the previous day’s RUSA President’s Program! Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, returns to participate in a discussion with library leaders featuring Emily Ford, David Lankes, Marie Radford, and Joyce Valenza. We will discuss how the Pew data will influence your library’s future. #rusapres13

Joe Thompson and Mary Mintz, co-chairs

RUSA Just Ask
RUSA’s Just Ask Committee has been working on several projects, including an upcoming webinar on how to manage change. Several of our members, Julie Strange and Cathay Crosby, have been working on a pilot Ask Campaign. Strange, Statewide Coordinator or Maryland’s JustAskNow!, and Crosby, Operations Assistant of JustAskNow!, used the tenth anniversary of the service as a starting point. Their Ask Campaign, loosely based on the READ campaign, will feature library patrons holding a sign with a question asked through JustAskNow!. These will be turned into materials used to promote reference service. Crosby posted about their experience in ALA Connect along with some more background info on the JustAskNow! website.

Elizabeth Stephan and Diana Schonrock, co-chairs

RUSA Committees

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

The preliminary RUSA program schedule for Annual 2013 in Chicago:

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

Saturday, June 29

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

Sunday, June 30

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

Monday, July 1

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

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

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

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

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

Many thanks to the committee for their teamwork and cooperation!

-Joe Thompson, chair

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

The discussion was centered around three questions:

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Stephan, co-chair

Committee on Professional Ethics

Chair from Committee on Professional Ethics Wants to Hear from YOU.

Based on recent requests to the committee for assistance in two areas, we’re working on developing two new explanatory statements for the ALA Code of Ethics. These areas are: Ethics and Social Media Conflicts of Interest. These explanatory statements will take the form of a question & answer document. We currently have two in this format on workplace speech (also being updated) and on enforcement of the Code of Ethics. To see these examples, please see the Resources section on our committee’s website. As we are a committee of Council, we are seeking your input on the topics that we should cover in these documents. Examples of the types of questions we could answer are:

  • Under Social Media: What policies should we have in place for our library’s Facebook page? What happens when an employee mentions the library on a personal Twitter account?
  • Under Conflicts of Interest: If I’m on an award committee and know a nominee, should I disclose that information and/or recuse myself? Is it OK to accept a meal from a library vendor?

If you have suggestions for topics that we should cover, please send them to the Committee chair at Our goal is to have both documents ready for public consumption by Annual 2013. Contact the chair if you have any questions, and thanks in advance for your assistance.

Please send your comments to:

Martin Garnar Chair, ALA Committee on Professional Ethics
Reference Services Librarian and Professor of Library Science
Dayton Memorial Library, Regis University
3333 Regis Blvd., Mail Stop D-20
Denver, CO 80221
303.964.5459 (voice)
303.964.5497 (fax)

RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee

In light of the changes described in ALA’s June 2012 Conference Changes Roadmap the RUSA CPCC is working with the RUSA Board to modify our division’s processes for program selection and allocation. The immediate impact of the Roadmap on future conferences is that programs will all take place in the convention center or headquarters hotel, time slots are shortened to 60 and 90 minutes, and the divisions will have fewer programs. The RUSA sections (specifically STARS, RSS, MARS, and BRASS) were extremely helpful this past summer in making quick changes so that we could accommodate the reduced number of program time slots for Annual 2013 in Chicago. We are now working on a new program allocation model for Annual 2014 in Las Vegas, though at this moment we do not yet know how many programs RUSA will have the opportunity to present there.

The committee has been communicating by email and met online on Oct. 26 via RUSA’s Blackboard Collaborate room. We will meet online again on Wednesday, December 5, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM EST. Our meeting at ALA Midwinter 2013 in Seattle is scheduled for Monday, January 28 from 8:30-10:00 AM.

It’s not too soon to start making your plans for next summer! The RUSA sections and committees will be presenting fifteen fantastic programs at Annual Conference 2013 in Chicago and BRASS will be presenting the Business Reference 101 preconference on Friday, June 28. The programs are offered over three days, from Saturday, June 29 through Monday, July 1.

Joe Thompson, chair

RUSA President’s Program Planning Committee

Progress continues on putting together an excellent program for Annual 2013 in Chicago, to be held on Saturday, June 29 from 4:00-5:30 PM. This year’s highly anticipated RUSA President’s Program will provide new perspectives and creative thinking from a prominent non-librarian. The committee has been considering a multitude of possible topics and speakers from a variety of sources including TED talks, PopTech, SXSW Interactive, and the World Future Society. You will not want to miss this major event of the conference. Stay tuned for the announcement of this year’s speaker!

The committee members were able to meet in person while in Anaheim and have been communicating regularly since then via email, phone and RUSA’s Blackboard Collaborate room. Our meeting at ALA Midwinter 2013 in Seattle is scheduled for Sunday, January 27 from 8:30-10:00 AM.

Mary Mintz and Joe Thompson, co-chairs