RUSA Update Winter 2010

RUSA Update, Winter 2010

Emily Ford & Elizabeth Stephan, Editors

fordemily [at] gmail [dot] com; elizabeth [dot] stephan [at] wwu [dot] edu


Update from RUSA President

Susan J. Beck, RUSA President

Greetings All RUSA Members and Visitors to our Website

Well as it turns out, this is my first appearance in the RUSA Update this year. So I wanted to welcome you all, a little late. This column will fill you in on what’s been going on at the RUSA Division Level. I am adapting this column from my Midwinter Report, so it may seem a little bit familiar to some of you. Like they say in listserv-land—my apologies for cross postings.

This has been a very busy year for me as the RUSA President, and I just wanted to share with you some of the highlights.

I am sure you all know by now, but it bears repeating—we have a new Executive Director! Susan Hornung joined ALA as the RUSA Executive Director at the end of July 2009. It is a pleasure to work with Susan, as I am sure you have discovered by now. She brings such positive energy to the position, and willingness to get things done, and get them done right. Just what RUSA needed!

This has been a year for planning and creating new strategic directions for both RUSA and ALA. The RUSA leadership has been engaged in the ALA Strategic Planning Process in addition to creating new initiates for RUSA.
Please take the time to read our new strategic initiatives. You can view our strategic plan here.

For those of you who have not read it here are some of the highlights:

  • Survey membership to determine member needs/wants with a goal to make RUSA membership highly valued.
  • Encourage each section to host one or more hot topic chats this calendar year.
  • Improve RUSA website to make it a current and valuable resource for members and the profession.

“Five things a new librarian should know about” Initiative

As a means to develop a more valuable web presence for our members, I created this initiative to encourage RUSA committees to develop individual webpages that will provide basic information for new librarians relating to the concerns of the committee and the web page would be called: “Five things a new librarian should know about….”

The first step would be for the committee to create very basic information to share. It can be an overview of the main focus. For example discussion groups could list the top five hot topics this year as related to their group and list five websites people could reference for additional information on that topic. Other committees may want to identify the hot topics related to their committee’s work.

The idea is really to think about what a new librarian would need to know about a specific topic. I want this to be simple task. It is clearly something that can be accomplished quickly and virtually.

New RUSA Guidelines Approved

The Board approved the following new guidelines as of March 5, 2010. I thank and congratulate each committee member for their hard work and dedication in completing these guidelines.

  • Guidelines for the Preparation of a Bibliography, July 2009 (CODES Bibliography Committee)
  • Guidelines for Liaison Work in Managing Collections and Services, January 2010 (CODES the Liaison with Users Committee)
  • Guidelines: Virtual Reference Services, January 2010 (MARS/RSS Virtual Reference Committee, 2009)

The 2010 President’s Program

Just in case you haven’t heard, my president’s program is called For the Love of Reference. I picked this topic because I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the job that I love. I also picked this topic because one day I overheard a long-time RUSA members say: “When did they take Reference out of RUSA?” I want to bring “Reference” back to RUSA!

I hope you will take part in the program even before we get to Washington, D.C. Here’s how you can help—join the For the Love of Reference Facebook Page. This page allows members from all over the world contribute to our discussions about reference, reference books, and readers’ advisory services. It has been tremendously successful and just plain fun to read. One of my favorite quotes is from RUSA member, Nicolette Warisse Sosulski “When I was a little girl I wanted to be Nancy Drew. Now I get to find clues all day.” This quote so influenced me that I gave my grandniece Lily her first three Nancy Drew books. My great aunt had been the one to introduce me to Nancy Drew so I thought I needed to pass on the tradition!

There are currently 740 members on that page—won’t you help us make it to 1,000 before the conference? It is really easy to join in—click on the discussion tab to add your comments for the program!

At Midwinter, members of my President’s Program Planning Committee created a video montage that gave members an opportunity to tell us why they were passionate about reference services which will be part of the President’s Program as well. Special thanks go out to committee members Alec Sonsteby, Lisa Horowitz, Harriett Green, Mary Mintz, and Christy Donaldson who solicited volunteers in the convention center!

And if you come—please remember to bring your web devices—there will be a special part of the program for the whole audience to participate…

The Program, For the Love of Reference, will be Monday, June 28, 2010 from 1:30-3:30. I want to see you all there!

Midwinter Musings

Edward Garcia, RUSA Emerging Leader

Welcome to my first column for RUSA Update. I have been named to the ALA Emerging Leaders 2010 program, and I am honored to be sponsored by Reference and Users Services Association as the RUSA Emerging Leader. I will be writing this column about my experiences in the Emerging Leaders program. A little about myself: I graduated in 2008 with my MLIS from the University of Rhode Island and am currently an Information Access Librarian at Cranston Public Library in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Our first Emerging Leaders gathering was at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Boston. The one-day meeting was a very informative session with leadership training lead by Maureen Sullivan and several ALA staffers. I have been assigned to a tremendous group of librarians with diverse backgrounds and a wide range of skills. The members of my group are Arianne Hartsell-Gundy (Miami University), Jennifer Walker (Mississippi Library Commission), Jessica Hernandez (currently relocating to the east coast) and JP Porcaro (New Jersey City University).

Our project is revising a grant proposal for ASCLA to be submitted to the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program in December 2010. The original proposal was to create scholarships for prospective MLS students with disabilities. Our group has some strong ideas on how to improve upon the original proposal after reading the reviewer comments. We are currently doing research on librarians with disabilities and trying to collect data with surveys of LIS students and ALA-accredited library programs.

One of the other things I was looking forward to exploring during the conference was the Espresso Book Machine at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. The Espresso Book Machine is a partnership between Google and On Demand Books, LLC to make three million public domain works available as print-on-demand titles. The Harvard Book Store, an independent bookseller not affiliated with Harvard University, is one of thirteen locations nationwide that currently has an Espresso Book Machine. The publicity information states that the machine creates a library-quality, perfect bound, acid-free 300-page paperback book in roughly four minutes for $8. This was something I wanted to see in person. So a librarian friend from the University of Rhode Island and I took the “T” to Harvard Square to investigate; and then had some Ethiopian cuisine for dinner.

Before arriving I searched for a title to test the machine with. I chose Dictionary of American-Indian Place and Proper Names in New England by R.A. Douglas-Lithgow originally published in 1909. The machine was amazing! We watched as it printed out, cut to size and bound this book in less than five minutes. The quality is excellent although the paper used to print the covers has a slightly off-putting tactile feel. When we visited, the store had a long list pending orders for professors from the university, and by 7:00 in the evening a line of four customers in the store waiting to print on demand books. This service could be a boon for both students and libraries that can print out-of-print materials for study or use in reference collections.

More about the progress of our grant project next time! Please feel free to contact me at edprism [at] gmail [dot] com

RUSA Section Reports


Carol E. Smith, Editor

Message from the Chair

Hello BRASS fans! Thanks are due to all of you for making our “Virtual Midwinter” experiment a success (or “wicked successful,” as they say in Boston). Even without a physical presence in Boston, BRASS committees are getting lots of great work done. We’re still reviewing and assessing how it all went, but all signs are pointing to BRASS being a trendsetter and leading the way for other RUSA sections to follow suit for future Midwinters… stay tuned.

BRASS will be back in full force for ALA Annual in Washington, D.C. this June. Read on for more information about the great programs and other events we have planned for you and we’ll see you in D.C.!

Celia Ross
BRASS Chair, 2009-2010

Your BRASS Committee Members

Your current BRASS Executive Committee members and committee chairs are:

BRASS Executive Committee 2009-2010

  • Celia Ross, Chair
  • Mark Andersen, Vice Chair
  • Christy Donaldsen, Secretary
  • Rita Moss, Past Chair
  • Suzanne Sweene, Member-At-Large
  • Chris LeBeau, Member-At-Large
  • Susan Neilson, Member-At-Large

BRASS Committees & Chairpersons 2009-2010

  • Membership: Louise Feldman
  • Business Reference in Academic Libraries: Lydia LaFaro
  • Business Reference in Public Libraries: Tera Moon
  • Discussion Group: Donna Daniels
  • Business Reference Sources: Nathan Rupp
  • Education: Paul Brothers
  • Nominating: Ryan Womack
  • Program Planning 2010: Andy Spackman
  • Publications: Van Houlson
  • Excellence in Business Librarianship: Todd Hines
  • Student Travel Award: Diana Wu
  • Emerald Research Award: Jennifer Boettcher
  • Outstanding Service to Minority Business Communities: Karen Chapman
  • Public Librarian Support Award: Terry Zarsky
  • Vendor Relations: Judith Faust
  • Section Review (Ad Hoc): Michael Oppenheim


Morning Star Public Librarian Support Award Winner!

Ed Rossman; Winner of the Morning Star Public Librarian Support AwardEd Rossman, Adult Services Librarian from Shaker Heights Public Library and author of Castles against Ignorance: How to Make Libraries Great Educational Environments (2006) has been chosen as the Morningstar Public Librarian Support Award winner.

Rossman was chosen for the work he has done with SCORE in his community to help start up and support struggling local businesses. In September of 2009 they reached the 300th consultation of helping businesses to start or grow in business. This direct assistance to those that provide the economic base for the community is a great example of library-led programs that have a positive impact in their communities.

Rossman has also worked on developing partnerships for a series of programs committed to improving business conditions in 2010. He recruited SCORE, Society of Human Resources Management Association and WECO (a local Community Development Financial Institution).

Terry Zarsky, Awards Chair

Georgetown University Business Reference Librarian Honored with RUSA Award

Jennifer Boettcher, business reference librarian at Georgetown University, has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the Gale Cengage Learning Award for Excellence in Business Librarianship.

Boettcher has made numerous contributions to the field of business librarianship, including publication of the widely used reference book, Industry Research Using the Economic Census: How to Find It, How to Use It. In addition, she has published on topics concerning NAICS, government sources, and scholarly communications. She is a previous BRASS chair, and is a member of the of the editorial review board of the Journal of Business and Finance Librarianship.

For more information about Boettcher and the Gale Cengage Learning Award in Business Librarianship, please read the RUSA press release.

BRASS Members Publication List Now on ALA Connect

The BRASS Members Publication List was recently migrated to ALA Connect (login not required).

The list is compiled in order to showcase BRASS scholarship activities and serve as a valuable business research resource. The Publications Committee encourages all BRASS members to tell us about your publications! We’d like to gather as many citations as possible, regardless of publication date.

To brag about your publication, just fill out the online submission form on the BRASS Members Publication List page. Together, we can develop this list to become a valuable, core research tool for all business librarians.

Carol Smith, Member Publications List Manager

BRASS Committee Reports

BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee

The BRASS Business Reference in Academic Libraries Committee made a special effort this year to do most of its work virtually, including holding the Midwinter committee meeting online using ALA Connect. At the Midwinter meeting, the committee decided that the topic of the BRASS forum it will present at the ALA Annual conference in Washington, D.C. will be “The New Breed of Entrepreneur: Meeting Their Research Needs.” This forum will address changing strategies and resources needed to serve entrepreneurs without business backgrounds. Such individuals that are increasingly coming to libraries for help, as a result of the cross-curriculum emphasis on entrepreneurship directed towards non-business students at many academic institutions, and as the current high unemployment levels force individuals to look for other ways to earn a living.

The committee is also working on finalizing the next issues of its online newsletter, Academic BRASS, which will feature articles on topics such as: the implementation of tiered business research instruction, open access and scholarly communication in business and management, and the usefulness of an MBA or business background for a career in business librarianship.

Lydia LaFaro, Chair

BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries

Public Libraries Briefcase is the publication of the BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee. The committee would like you to know that it has a great slate of Public Library Briefcases lined up for 2010! In the meantime, feel free to peruse archived issues.

Tera Moon, Chair

BRASS Discussion Group Committee

Join the Discussion Group committee at 2010 Annual in Washington, D.C. on Sunday June 27th at 10:30 for a lively discussion on e-books, promoting collections, and more. The discussion topic will be “Out with the Old, In with the New: Our Changing Collections and Services.”

Donna Daniels, Chair

BRASS Business Reference Sources Committee

The committee has been busy nominating titles for inclusion in its annual Outstanding Business Reference Sources column in the Winter 2010 issue of RUSQ. About forty nominated titles are now under active consideration, with more to come. All nominated titles will be discussed and considered at the committee’s meeting during Annual Conference.

To see last year’s Outstanding Business Reference Sources, please visit the RUSQ website.

The committee is also in the planning stages for its annual Publisher’s Forum. The Forum has traditionally been held during the Midwinter Conference, but is scheduled for the first time to be held at Annual Conference this year in Washington, D.C.

Nathan Rupp, Chair

BRASS Education Committee

The BRASS Education Committee has wonderful news to share. We have received approval and are in the process of transitioning our Best of the Best Business Web Sites (Free Resources) and the Selected Core Resources to an exciting and more manageable format: LibGuides! For the ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston, our committee virtually selected three websites as this year’s winners that were presented at the RUSA Book and Media Awards reception. The winners are UNdata: a World of Information, Business Planet, and Big Charts. We are continuing work in other areas such as Emerging Leaders and RUSA Professional Development projects. Lastly, plans are moving forward for the BRASS Preconference, Business Reference 101, in New Orleans at the 2011 Annual Conference.

Paul Brothers, Chair

BRASS Membership Committee

For the Midwinter meeting, the membership committee met virtually via ALA Connect chat. They discussed the New Members’ Reception at Annual in D.C. and various ways to “market” BRASS to new and potential members, including exploring ways to reach-out to student ALA chapter members. The committee is glad to report that after a brief hiatus due to logistical issues, we will resume sending welcome letters to new members this spring, continuing this fabulous outreach effort begun several years ago. Plans for the reception are moving along and are being finalized. Details forthcoming later this spring.

Louise Feldman, Chair

BRASS Nominating Committee

The committee is pleased to announce BRASS Candidates for the March 2010 elections:

For Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect (2010/2011 as Vice-Chair, 2011/2012 as Chair)

  • Gene Hayworth
  • Chris LeBeau

For Member at Large (2010/2013 term)

  • Kevin Harwell
  • Todd Hines

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

Ryan Womack, Chair

BRASS Conference Program Planning Committee

The 2010 BRASS Program Planning Committee (Washington, D.C. conference) has put together a compelling slate of speakers on a topic of growing interest: “Clean, Green, and not so Mean: Can Business Help Save the World?”:

    Dr. Timothy Fort, Executive Director of the Institute for Corporate Responsibility at the George Washington University School of Business, whose recent publications have focused on the concept of peace through commerce
    Shari Berenbach, CEO of the Calvert Foundation, which funnels investment capital to social enterprises
    David Deal, CEO and Founder of Community IT Innovators, which provides Green IT and other IT consulting to social mission organizations
    Karen Anello, Business Research Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School

Andy Spackman, Chair

BRASS Publications Committee

As noted in Announcements, above, the committee has transitioned the BRASS Member Publications directory to ALA Connect (login not required). Please consider submitting your recent articles in newsletters, magazines, journals, or books via the online submission form.

While the move to ALA Connect gives BRASS members easy access to the Member Publications Directory, the Committee is uncertain if this bibliography is currently useful for BRASS members. The lack of participation and growth of alternatives for professional communication seems to have made our directory less strategic. We intend to explore closer efforts with Membership Committee to gather information about member publications, expertise, and other professional interests more effectively via social networking tools. The committee will be recommending changes to BRASS Executive regarding the responsibilities for both the Publications Directory and the Membership Directory. In other news, due to changes in the way section brochures and other RUSA materials are overseen, the Committee is currently re-examining its charge.

Similarly, due to changes in the way RUSA now produces section brochures, Publications Committee has re-evaluated our charge and will be making recommendations to BRASS Executive at Annual.

Please feel free to send comments to me so that I can share with our committee members.

Van Houlsen, Chair

BRASS Gale/Cengage Student Travel Award Committee

The Student Travel Award Committee extended its nomination deadline and will have a selection made in Mid-March. Stay tuned!

Diana Wu, Chair

BRASS Outstanding Service to Minority Business Communities Committee

Due to lack of sponsorship, it was decided not to present an award this year. The committee is using this downtime to make sure there is good documentation for next year’s committee, e.g., a timeline of activities and a list of suggested places to advertise.

Karen Chapman, Chair


RUSA Update from CODES

Daniel Mack, Editor

Dartmouth Medal Committee

2010 winner: Encyclopedia of Human Rights (Oxford University Press)
Honorable Mention: The Encyclopedia of Modern China (Gale) and The Encyclopedia of Journalism (Sage)

Winner of 2010 RUSA Award Announced

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced its selection for the 2010 Reading List.

The Reading List annually recognizes the best books in eight genres: adrenaline (which includes suspense, thriller, and adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, and women’s fiction. This year’s list includes novels that will please die-hard fans as well as introduce new readers to the pleasures of genre fiction.

The winning titles were selected by the Reading List Council, whose members include:

  • Joyce Saricks, Chair, Downers Grove, IL
  • Jennifer Baker, Seattle Public Library
  • Kathleen Collins, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle
  • Mari Miller-Lamb, Long Island University, Brooklyn
  • Jacqueline Sasaki, Vice-Chair, Ann Arbor District Library
  • Sharron Smith, Kitchener Public Library
  • Tapley Trudell, San Antonio Public Library
  • Kimberly Wells, Denton Public Library
  • Neal Wyatt, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
  • Alan Ziebarth, Chicago Public Library

The 2010 winners are:


Gone TomorrowGone Tomorrow by Lee Child, Delacorte Press, 9780385340571
Lone wolf Jack Reacher takes on terrorism and Homeland Security as he stumbles onto the tail end of an Al Qaeda sting. Crossing politics, police departments, and an alphabet soup of federal agencies, Reacher cleans house. The non-stop tension, atmosphere of menace, and Reacher’s matter-of-fact narration create an immediate and believable thriller.

The John Rain series by Barry Eisler
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Below Zero by C. J. Box

Short List:
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell, Little, Brown, 9780316032223
The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner, Bantam, 9780553807233
Shatter by Michael Robotham, Doubleday, 9780385517911
The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, Minotaur, 9780312369729



Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind
Acacia. Book One, The War With the Mein by David Anthony Durham

Short List:
The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V. S. Redick, Del Rey, 9780345508836
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher, Roc, 9780451462565
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, Tom Doherty, 9780765320308
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett, Del Rey, 9780345503800

Historical Fiction

AgincourtAgincourt by Bernard Cornwell, Harper, 9780061578915

Sophie Brody Award Committee

The Sophie Brody Award is funded by Arthur Brody and the Brodart Foundation and is given to encourage, recognize, and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible for the award.

The winner and three honor books were selected by the Sophie Brody Medal Committee, whose members include:

  • Sarah Barbara Watstein, Chair, UCLA
  • Richard Bleiler, Member, University of Connecticut
  • Carol Gladstein, Member, McMinnville Public Library
  • Jack Forman, Member, San Diego Mesa College
  • Amy Harmon, Member, Cleveland Heights University
  • Ellen Loughran, Member, Hunter College and Pratt Institute
  • Teresa Portilla Omidsalar, Member, CSU Los Angeles
  • Katharine J. Phenix, Member, Rangeview Library
  • Kaite Mediatore Stover, Member, the Kansas City Public Library
  • Pauline Swartz, Member, Mount San Antonio College
  • Barry Trott, Member, Williamsburg Regional Library
  • Miriam Tuliao, Member, New York Public Library.

The 2010 winners are:

Jonathon Keats. The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-Six. Random House. Keat’s engaging book opens with a fictional scholar’s quest to understand the meaning behind a list of names found during the excavation of a German synagogue. The names are based on a group of thirty-six virtuous people who justify human existence before God. These finely crafted tales pay homage to the rich tradition of Jewish folklore.

Honor Books
Thomas Buergenthal. Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy. Little Brown.
Czechoslovakia-born Buergenthal shares the compelling story of his survival in World War II, revisiting the difficult memories of his early youth spent in a Jewish ghetto, the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, children’s barracks and an orphanage. Asking potent questions about human character, this riveting, poignant and remarkable memoir deserves wide readership.

Melvin Konner. The Jewish Body. Schocken.
Referring often to Jewish literature, history and culture, this succinctly written and imaginative analysis examines the inter-connections between the Jewish view of the physical human body, the Jewish conception of God, Jewish peoplehood, and the reality of a national Jewish homeland. Stylistically rich, this book rewards close reading because there is content in every sentence.

Clara Kramer and Stephen Gantz. Clara’s War: One Girl’s Story of Survival. Ecco.
A teenager when the Nazis invaded her Polish town, Kramer’s moving testimony of survival is based on journals she kept during the eighteen-month period when she and seventeen other Polish Jews secretly hid in a shallow bunker underneath a neighboring couple’s home. Illustrating the harsh truths of survival, Clara’s War is profound and utterly compelling.

Zora Neale Hurston Award Committee

Anthony Loum was selected as the winner of the 2010 Zora Neale Hurston Award. Mr. Loum was selected for his work in planning and ensuring the quality of programs delivered by the Brooklyn Public Library in the 2009 Big Read for which Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God was the chosen work. Mr. Loum coordinated with key partners for the use of performance spaces, performers and the materials used and donated for the book discussions, screenings and craft workshops. These programs were innovative and targeted to a variety of age groups and took place at locations across the city. The programs and events introduced Zora Neale Hurston to a new audience of readers and provided professional development workshops to support the continued reading of Zora Neale Hurston’s works in city schools. For more information, please read the RUSA press release.

Bergis Jules, Chair

CODES Communications Committee

The committee met virtually rather than in person for the ALA 2010 Mid-Winter Meeting. The committee discussed ways to facilitate communications within CODES as well as between CODES and RUSA and its other sections. The committee also collaborated on its part of the CODES Section Review.

Reference Publishing Advisory Committee

Wondering how an online reference product is developed? Want to know when to suggest a product or how you can provide feedback before the product is launched? Please plan to participate in online discussion to be held on major related discussion lists in late March and April that will lead up to the program entitled A-Z of Electronic Reference Product Development at Annual Conference. Reference Publishing Advisory Committee has invited two publishers and two senior product managers to share their insights on product development, from conception to product launch.

The committee welcomes suggestions. Watch out for further announcement on online discussion date and forums.


Messages from MARS: Newsletter of the RUSA Machine-Assisted Reference Services Section

Laura Jordan, Editor

Comments from MARS Chair

Greetings to all!

A major proposal for the future of MARS, new uses of technology to connect members in Boston with those at home, lively discussions, and good fellowship—MARS at Midwinter 2010 in Boston featured them all!

If you love being a “Martian,” but cringe when trying to explain to colleagues the meaning of the increasingly outdated acronym for MARS (Machine-Assisted Reference Section), now is your chance to do something about it. The spring ballot will give MARS members the opportunity to vote on amendments to the MARS Bylaws, which, if approved, would make MARS a branding name, rather than an acronym. Under this proposal, the new name of the Section would be MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Section, and the letters of MARS would no longer represent specific words; rather, the words following MARS would convey the essence of the Section’s focus. Also, on the ballot is a proposal to sharpen the Section’s focus on emerging technologies for reference and align it with the proposed revision of the Section name. For more information on these proposed changes, please see the report from the Planning Committee in this issue of Messages. The full text of the proposed changes and the rationale for them are also available in ALA Connect (login not required) and from the MARS website.

In the spring election, MARS members will also have the difficult task of choosing among an excellent slate of candidates for MARS offices:

  • Member at Large (three-year term): Stephanie Graves; Sam Stormont
  • Secretary (two-year term): Erin Rushton; Jim Langan
  • Vice Chair/Chair Elect (one-year term): Dianna McKellar; Ann Houston

Many, many thanks to each for agreeing to run and thanks to the MARS Nominating Committee, Mary Mintz, Bryna Coonin, and Alesia McManus for selecting such an outstanding group of candidates!

Although it might not have been obvious except to those directly involved, the opportunity for members who cannot travel to conferences to participate virtually in committee meetings took a big step forward at Midwinter thanks to new virtual meeting technologies. Both the Publications Committee and the Chair’s Program Planning Committee used a combination of Skype and Google Talk to enable committee members who were unable to travel to Boston to participate in meeting deliberations from the comfort of home—including two intrepid Californians who signed in at 5:00 A.M. California-time to join their colleagues at the 8:00 A.M. All-Committee meeting. We hope this is just the beginning of increasing opportunities for members to participate virtually with their colleagues when travel is not an option. (And, of course, MARS continues to be committed to offering opportunities for members to participate virtually throughout the year. Two committees, MARS Best Free Reference Web Sites and Public Libraries are doing all of their work virtually, and most others include virtual members.)

For those who could come to Midwinter, MARS offered five discussion forums in Boston, giving attendees numerous opportunities to share ideas with colleagues and hear what others are doing.

Local Systems and Services Committee had an overflow crowd (I know, because I was sitting on the floor!) for its forum, “Discovery Systems: Solutions a User Could Love?” (a look at “next generation discovery tools” that provide access to disparate library collections from a single search box”). Folks crowding about the door who weren’t able get in will be glad to know that the Committee will be offering an encore Discussion Forum at Annual 2010 on the same topic.

Hot Topics also drew a good crowd for its discussion topic, “How libraries are using Google Analytics and other website analysis tools to improve reference delivery.” Products and Services, in its Discussion Forum, led off with an informative presentation by Terri Miller (Head of Reference, Michigan State University) on news services followed by discussion on multimedia products and services; while at the Management of Electronic Resources Forum, engaged attendees considered the topic, “The Human Side of Virtual Reference: When Do You Sleep?” sharing concerns and ideas for extending or maintaining service in a 24/7 environment while dealing with budget realities including staff reductions and reduced hours. Finally, in a forum titled, “The times they are a changin’,” sponsored by the Virtual Reference Discussion Group, Lisa Carlucci Thomas presented a quick overview of virtual reference trends, followed by discussion on topics ranging from evolving virtual reference models, mobile reference, e-reference products to library budgets.

For more details about the Local Systems and Services, Hot Topics, and Virtual Reference Discussion Forums at Midwinter, please see the excellent reports from those groups in this issue of Messages. Don’t miss the heads-up from the Publications Committee, which will be seeking volunteer interns this Spring for the MARS-L/Messages from MARS Editor and the MARS Web Coordinator positions for 2010-2011. Interns selected will assume these positions for three-year terms starting in July 2011. If you or a colleague might be interested, watch your MARS-L email in the coming weeks for further information or check with the Publications Committee Chair, Missy Clapp (shoop [at] ufl [dot] edu).

Also check out the many exciting plans for Annual 2010 in this issue, starting with the MARS Happy Hour featuring complimentary food thanks to the generosity Alexander Street Press. Other planned highlights include the Chair’s Program, “Smart Reference Technologies for Tough Economic Times,” along with a separate first-ever hands-on poster session offering attendees the opportunity to try out a few of these free tools. Also in the works, a program on screen-casting offered by the Education, Training and Support Committee.

If you’d like to get involved in these or similar activities, Vice Chair Matt Bejune will be appointing MARS committees for 2010-2011 over the next few months. Just go to the RUSA website and fill out the RUSA form (opportunities to volunteer for MARS Committees appear at the end of the form). He is looking forwarding to hearing from you! If you encounter problems with the form please contact Matt (mmbejune [at] yahoo [dot] com) or me (clar [at] loc [dot] gov) directly.)

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, if you have ideas about MARS and what we should be doing, let us know! Want to suggest a program idea or a publication? We want to hear from you! E-mail Matt or me or call me at (202) 707-6242.

Carolyn Larson
MARS Chair, 2009-2010
clar [at] loc [dot] gov

Executive Committee Summary

Summary of Executive Committee Actions

The Executive Committee approved for referral to the membership two ballot initiatives to amend the Section Bylaws. The first would make the official name of the Section MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Section rather than an acronym for Machine Assisted Reference Section. The second would update the Section objectives to reflect the Section’s focus on emerging technologies for reference, and align it with the proposed revision of the Section name. See the report from Planning in this issue of Messages for more details. The full text of the proposed changes and the rationale are also available on the MARS website and ALA Connect.

The Executive Committee also charged all MARS committees and discussion groups with reviewing their names, charges, and relationship with other ALA units. By March 15, 2010, committee and discussion group chairs are to report back to the Executive Committee answers to the following questions:

How can your committee or discussion group align itself with the newly articulated MARS mission? Review and revise, if necessary, both your change and your name as needed as you deliberate on this question.

Who are your logical working partners in ALA? These could be other sections or divisions, and the relationships could vary from maintaining awareness to close collaboration.

For the spring ballot, the Executive Committee also unanimously approved the slate for the next election (see Chair’s message above for full slate).

In other actions, the Committee approved several changes in meeting times. In order to avoid conflict with the first RUSA Board meeting, at Midwinter meetings, beginning with Midwinter 2011, the first Executive Committee meeting will be scheduled from 10:30 A.M.-12:00 P.M. on Saturday, and Hot Topics will move from 10:30am – 12:00pm to 1:30-3:30. Note that the first Executive Committee meeting at Annual Conferences will continue to be on Friday afternoon. A motion was also approved to omit the third Executive Committee meeting at the Annual Conference. A decision to omit the third Executive Committee meeting at the Midwinter meeting was approved at Annual 2009.

Carolyn Larson, MARS Chair, 2009-2010
clar [at] loc [dot] gov

Midwinter Committee Reports

Planning Committee

What’s in a Name? MARS Ballot Questions
There will be two very important questions on the MARS ballot this spring regarding changes in the name and mission of the section. These questions represent the culmination of a years-long process that has involved discussions in a variety of venues by scores of MARS members.

The MARS Futures Subcommittee (a subcommittee of the MARS Planning Committee) was formed in 2008 after the far-reaching MARS Continuing Education Task Force report had been endorsed by the Executive Committee, the five-year Section Review had been submitted to the RUSA Board, and a SWOT exercise at an all-committee meeting of MARS had yielded data on perceptions of MARS’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The charge to the Subcommittee was twofold: 1) to follow up on key recommendations of the Continuing Education Task Force report; and 2) make recommendations on MARS’ mission and name, taking into consideration the Task Force Report, the Section Review, and the SWOT.

Mission: As the Subcommittee did its work over the course of a year, a consensus developed that emerging technologies in reference services describes MARS’ contemporary focus for serving expressed needs of members, and, at the same time, differentiates MARS from other ALA groups such as LITA and the Reference Services Section (RSS) of RUSA. LITA’s focus is on library and information technology of all kinds, while MARS looks at technologies relevant to reference service, with emphasis on a service perspective. RSS encompasses reference services as a whole, including services to special groups. While technology is pervasive in reference work today, and certainly technology is of interest to RSS, the portfolio of RSS is broad. New technologies and new uses of technologies in reference surface at a rate that can be overwhelming to busy reference librarians. Responses to a national survey carried out by the MARS Continuing Education Task Force told us that large numbers of librarians are eager to learn about new technologies and their applications in reference services. This is where MARS fills a need as the ALA unit with emerging technologies in reference as its core interest. The Planning Committee and the MARS Executive Committee agreed with this new articulation of the MARS mission, positioning emerging technologies as the focal point.

Name: The out-dated name of the section, Machine-Assisted Reference Section, has been a topic of conversation for MARS members over many years, and the Executive Committee has taken up the topic of a new name or new words to match the acronym on several occasions. At the 2010 Midwinter meeting, in conjunction with a new mission statement, the Executive Committee approved a proposal for a section name change. The proposal would retain “MARS,” but as a branding name, rather than an acronym—the letters would no longer represent individual words. We have seen this work with other organizations, most notably, OCLC. The full title of the section would be: MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference Section. Retaining MARS as part of the section’s name assures that the positive associations with the section and its name over the years will not be lost, and the section can still use the popular spin-offs of the name: Messages from MARS, “MARS Best Free Reference Web Sites,” and “My Favorite Martian.” Yet the new name makes a clear statement about the focus of the section in the 21st century.

Now all MARS members will have a chance to express their opinions on the spring ballot by voting on these proposals for changing the MARS Name and Objectives (mission) in the Bylaws.

The full text of the proposed changes and the rationale for them are available at ALA Connect (no login required) and from the MARS web site.

Doris Ann Sweet, Chair
dasweet [at] assumption [dot] edu

Hot Topics Discussion Group

The MARS Hot Topics Discussion Group held a discussion at ALA Midwinter in Boston titled, “Analytics and Statistics: Improving Library services through Google Analytics and Other Tools.” The discussion focused on the use of web analytics tools for gathering statistics on traffic to the library’s website and online resources and how to use these statistics to improve library services. Two excellent presentations were given, by Wei Fang, Head of Digital Services, Rutgers University Law Library, and Marshall Breeding, Director for Innovative Technologies and Research, Vanderbilt University Libraries. The presenters’ slides are available on the Hot Topics Committee page. The committee is planning a discussion for ALA Annual in Washington with a tentative topic of mobile technologies, focusing on the latest developments. Suggestions for future Hot Topics are welcome.

Anne Houston, Chair
ahouston [at] virginia [dot] edu

Local Systems and Services

On January 17, 2010, MARS Local Systems & Services held a Discussion Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston titled, “Discovery Systems: Solutions a User Could Love?” Four panelists spoke to an audience of over 100 attendees about this new technology, giving special emphasis to the user experience.

Marshall Breeding (Director for Innovative Technology and Research, Vanderbilt University) first gave an overview of discovery systems, focusing on factors that make them an attractive solution for libraries looking for a “single point of entry” to their collections. Next, Cody Hanson (Technology Librarian at the University of Minnesota) discussed the results of the University of Minnesota’s user testing of Primo (Ex Libris). Frances McNamara (Director, Integrated Library Systems and Administrative and Desktop Systems at the University of Chicago) shared user feedback on the University of Chicago’s LENS Discovery System based on AquaBrowser (Serials Solutions), and Barbara DeFelice (Director, Digital Resources Program at Dartmouth College) spoke about Dartmouth’s usability testing of Summon (also Serials Solutions).

The four short presentations were followed by brief table discussions then a general Q & A. Full notes and details can be found at ALA Connect (no login required). A follow-up discussion forum is currently in development for the 2010 ALA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Amy Fry, Committee member
afry [at] bgsu [dot] edu

Publications Committee Report

The Publications Committee members experimented with Skype and Google Talk during the meeting to enable members not physically present to participate in the meeting. We recommend the use of such tools for future meetings.

The major items of discussion were revising the search committee documents as interviews for the MARS-L/Messages from MARS Editor and the Web Coordinator positions will be held at Annual. A call for applications will follow in the coming weeks.

Due to spam, submissions to the MARS-L e-mail list should be e-mailed directly to the MARS-L moderator, Laura Jordan, at laujord [at] uflib [dot] ufl [dot] edu.

Missy Clapp, Chair
shoop [at] ufl [dot] edu

Virtual Reference Discussion Group

The topic of the Virtual Reference Discussion Group’s Midwinter meeting was “The Times They Are a Changin’.” Over thirty enthusiastic attendees met to discuss topics ranging from QR codes to mobile reference to e-books. Lisa Carlucci Thomas from Southern Connecticut State University opened the session by presenting on the future of virtual reference service.

Erin Rushton, Chair
erushton [at] binghamton [dot] edu

Preliminary Annual Conference Plans

Chair’s Program

Based on your feedback (supplied via a survey we sent out in the summer), the Program Planning Committee has been hard at work planning an exciting program for this year’s conference.

Mark your calendars now to join us Sunday, June 27, from 10:30 A.M.-12:00 P.M. for a lively panel discussion with Chad Boeninger, Reference & Instruction Technology Coordinator, Ohio University; Nicole Engard, editor of the book Library Mash-Ups & Director of Open Source Education at Bywater Solutions; and Diane Kresh, Director, Arlington County Public Libraries about the use of free and inexpensive technology tools to enhance reference services. Also, don’t forget we start the program with the awarding of the My Favorite Martian Award for 2010!

Title: Smart Reference Technologies for Tough Economic Times: Using Innovative technologies to enhance service and extend your library’s reach without breaking the budget.

Description: As libraries everywhere face budget cuts, investigating new technologies may not seem like a top priority. However, technology does not need to be expensive; free or low-cost software programs can enhance and extend your library’s services, regardless of your library’s size and budget. If your service goals are colliding with the realities of budget, time, staff, and IT support, come hear librarians working in diverse settings describe how they have used budget-friendly technological solutions to meet such challenges.

We’re also hoping to offer a hand-on poster session off-site on Monday, June 28, from 11:00am – 1:00pm to let folks try a few of these tools. Watch your MARS-L e-mail for further information on this session.

Hope to see many of you in D.C.!

Debbie Bezanson, Chair
bezanson [at] gwu [dot] edu

Education, Training, and Support Committee

The Education, Training and Support committee is sponsoring a program at annual entitled, “The (Screen) Casting Couch: Tips and Tricks to Effectively Use Screencasting Tools for Library Instruction.” The program will be held Saturday, June 26, 10:30am – 12pm.

Screencasting software can be used for a variety of purposes—from standardizing staff development to creating interactive instructional tools for library patrons. Join us for a session exploring best practices and demystifying the options for creating screencasts. We will examine popular screencasting software such as Jing, Elluminate, Captivate, and Camtasia.

Speakers include:

  • Will Breitbach, Pollack Library, CSU Fullerton
    Mr. Breitbach is library instruction coordinator and the subject liaison to the Department of Nursing and the Department of Social Work. He teaches information literacy courses in a variety of subjects, provides reference services, chairs the IM/Text Reference Team, and serves on a variety of teams and committees at the Pollak Library.
  • Maribeth Slebodnik, Purdue University Library, West Lafayette, Indiana
    Ms. Slebodnik is a Biomedical Sciences Information Specialist at Purdue University serving the areas of Nursing, Food Science, Biological Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition. She is the co-author of a column with Catherine Frasier Riehle on “Creating Online Tutorials in Your Libraries” in RUSQ in Fall 2009. (With Laurie Iten and Tim Kerr, she created a series of Captivate tutorials for biology students, which can be found at
  • Nadaleen Tempelman-Kluit, Bobst Library, New York University
    Nadaleen Tempelman-Kluit is the Instructional Design Librarian at New York University’s Bobst Library. She is responsible for user interface design of many of the dynamic systems and tools that make up NYU Libraries’ online presence. She provides instructional design guidance and creates online support and help rooted in learning theory. Nadaleen got her library degree at the University of Western Ontario and recently completed a second masters degree at NYU in Educational Communication and Technology. She was recently granted tenure and is about to embark on a book project about trends in library e-learning resources. See: for her publication and presentation history.

Beth S. Woodard, Chair
bswoodar [at] illinois [dot] edu

Outreach Committee

MARS Happy Hour

Alexander Street Press will sponsor the MARS Happy Hour at 2010 Annual Conference. The gathering will be at Fado Irish Pub, 808 7th St. NW Washington, D.C. 20001, near the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop. Thanks to the generosity of Alexander Street Press, there will be complimentary food, and we will have the Library and Front Cottage rooms to ourselves.

Coming Soon: MARS on Facebook

Outreach Committee members will aim to put a MARS Facebook page in place before Annual Conference. Many other sections and groups are using Facebook successfully, and by doing the same we hope to create a new means of outreach, especially to graduate students who may learn about MARS in that way. The Outreach Committee will be the logical place for the page to be maintained, but content will be provided broadly from Executive Committee, committee chairs, and officers. Also, Publications will provide support where needed. Be on the lookout for MARS on Facebook in the near future!

Arlie Sims, Chair
asims [at] colum [dot] edu

To subscribe to MARS-L, see



Cindy Levine, Editor

cindy_levine [at] ncsu [dot] edu

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 Cindy Levine, editor

Message from the Chair

Greetings, all!  For those of you who were able to join us at Midwinter- it was so good to see you.  For those who were not able to attend, please know that you were missed and we hope to see you in Washington, D.C., for Annual 2010.

Our Midwinter meeting was fruitful and some of the meeting highlights have been included in this newsletter.  One major change to the structure of RSS that was approved is the creation of a Discussions Forum Committee that will be seeking proposals for discussion topics to be presented beginning with Midwinter 2011. You will be hearing more about this as the details are worked out.

Another major change, which will be piloted as part of Annual 2010, is a virtual meeting of the RSS Board after ALA utilizing Web conferencing software. This virtual meeting will take the place of the second RSS board meeting that was to be held on Monday, June 28, and will provide board members with opportunities to attend programs at Annual.  We will be able to continue our business after we return and things “sink in.”  As the second RUSA Board meeting will be on Tuesday, June 29, I will also be able to report on what occurred then.

As we continue our RSS work through the rest of winter and into spring and then summer, I once again want to reiterate my goal for RSS that we focus on creating and providing educational offerings in a wide variety of formats.  What kinds of products and services can we offer our membership and the library community at large in regard to reference and user services?

Please also continue brainstorming possibilities of workshops that we can offer to RUSA members as well as the library community at large.  These workshops can be offered for a fee or perhaps shorter workshops and/or chat sessions at no fee to RUSA members.

As always, I am most grateful for all that you do for RUSA/RSS and the profession at large!  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have comments or suggestions to make.

See you in DC!

Barb Mann

Find Your Place in RSS! How to Volunteer

Are you looking for a way to become involved in the Reference Services Section?  It’s easier now than ever before!  RSS is fully embracing e-participation.  Of course we want to see you at least once face-to-face, but this means that the old rules about needing to attend both Midwinter and both Annual Conferences in-person during your two year term no longer apply.  Many of our committees are making great accomplishments by communicating via e-mail, wikis, web conferencing, and other communication methods.

Just log in to the ALA web site, go to the RUSA committee volunteer form, select RUSA, then choose RUSA_RSS from the menu at the very bottom of the next page.  You’ll then be able to choose all of the RSS committees that you have an interest in.  Not sure which committee is for you?  Find out what each does at or feel free to contact me for a recommendation.

Being on an RSS Committee is a great experience and an excellent way to give back to your profession, to meet other librarians who share a common interest, and to grow professionally!

Joe Thompson, RSS Vice-Chair/Incoming-Chair
jthompson [at] washcolibrary [dot] org

RSS Facebook Fan Page

We are retiring our RSS Facebook group and will instead be using the RSS fan page to promote RSS news and events – like online workshops, presentation opportunities, pre-conferences, programs, and discussions.

Want to stay connected? Fan us:

Questions? Contact Liane Luckman via Facebook or email (lluckman [at] txstate [dot] edu)

Join the RSS Honor Roll!

The RSS Honor Roll recognizes members who have served the section in three different roles since the creation of the Reference Services Section.

Current Honor Roll Members are:

2010 Members

Jill Moriarty

Pam Morgan

2009 Members

Larayne Dallas

Cindy Levine

Jessica E. Moyer

Chip Stewart

Judy Solberg

Susan Beck

2008 Members

Lisa Horowitz
Sarah J. Hammill
Dave Tyckoson

Wayne Bivens-Tatum
Brett Lear
Joe Thompson
Barb Mann

To add your name to the list, contact Sarah J. Hammill at hammills [at] fiu [dot] edu.

Activities from 2010 Midwinter Conference in Boston

Management of Reference

“It’s Like Herding Cats! Leading Non-Reports to Excellent Reference Service.”  In this discussion, the participants, who were all academic librarians, talked about managing teams, training non-public service staff, evaluating that staff, and generally maintaining quality service with not sticks OR carrots.  The committee got some good ideas for possible programs from this discussion.

Emilie Smart

Ethical and Legal Issues Discussion Group

“Promoting Information Ethics in a Wikipedia World” was the discussion topic. The group had a wonderful conversation about the various ethical implications of the new information seeking methods that we see every day at a public reference desk.  The group also discussed how the new information sources such as Wikipedia, although controversial, can be useful in teaching the very information literacy goals that we strive to impart to our students.

Nancy Bunker

Cooperative Reference Services Committee

The committee is working toward developing an online educational tool to promote the development, recognition, and use of information reference networks.  This online tool will be short (3-5 minutes) with structured interviews with librarians describing specific cases in which they have used information networks to answer reference questions.  The goal is to produce a series of edited podcasts that will highlight the important role of cooperative reference in librarianship.

Alicia White

Evaluation of Reference and User Services

The committee held a lively discussion on the topic of unobtrusive reference evaluation.  They talked specifically about which elements of reference and user services that can best be evaluated unobtrusively.  Suggestions included customer service, referral procedures, and effectiveness of staff and student training.  Orange County Public Library in Florida has successfully experimented with the “mystery shopping” model.   Mystery shopping evaluation entails employing specially trained evaluators who pose as “customers” or “patrons” to gather first-hand data about customer service, accuracy of information provided, and in general, to evaluate the service.  Every month they look for something very specific to be promoted by their staff.  The Orange County Public Library system employs a company that provides the secret shoppers.  The location/branch that performs best receives money as a prize.  It has worked there because it is a reward system for staff.

Kornelia Tancheva

Hot Topic in Frontline Reference Services

“Evaluation of Reference Services: How Are We Really Doing?”  Eve Wider (University of Pittsburgh) and Jean Alexander (Carnegie Mellon) kicked off the discussion based on a cooperative project in which they participated.  For background on the project, see Miller, Jonathan. “Quick and Easy Reference Evaluation: Gathering Users’ and Providers’ Perspectives,” Reference & User Services Quarterly (V. 47, iss. 3) Spring 2008: 219-222.  A copy of this simple, one-page survey form was distributed.  The survey is designed to provide a quick and easy way to evaluate the quality of the interaction patrons have at the reference desk, and focused on four outcomes:

  1. Did the user get the information needed?
  2. Did the user leave with a better understanding of how to find information?
  3. Did the user leave with a better understanding of how to evaluate information?
  4. Was the user satisfied with the service?

Wider and Alexander talked about of some of the issues that arose in implementing the survey.  A general discussion followed about what others are doing to evaluate their services.

Several comments were made suggesting that we ought to be counting what reference librarians do very differently.  The “Desk stats” are an outdated way of looking at how we serve our patrons.  We should be looking at how we provide assistance more broadly – creating guides, instruction session, online tutorials, etc.  This may be a topic for a future discussion group session.

Suzy Szasz Palmer

RSS Programs at ALA Annual 2010 In Washington, D.C.: A Preview

Coming to Washington, D.C. for the ALA Annual Conference this June? Mark your calendars for these engaging RSS programs and don’t miss out on the many discussions provided by our RSS Discussion Groups!

Reference Evolution: Envisioning the Future, Remembering the Past – Preconference (RSS/MARS)

Friday, June 25, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Come join us for a lively discussion of the current state of reference and user services, looking beyond the hype to see where things are actually headed. Our speakers will offer a “state of the union” on our profession, acknowledging traditional reference tools and skills that remain relevant, and projecting how newer technologies will better serve our patrons.  Scheduled speakers: Stephen Francoeur (Baruch College), Joe Janes (University of Washington), and Amy VanScoy (North Carolina State University)
Tickets: Advance: ALA Member $195; RUSA Member $175; Retired Member $150; Student Member $150; Non-Member $220; Onsite: ALA Member $215; RUSA Member $195; Retired Member $165; Student Member $165; Non-Member $245

Event Code: RUS3

Taking the Library With You: VR Going Mobile (RSS/MARS)

Interested in finding budget friendly ways to expand your library’s virtual reference services to include mobile devices?  Attendees will hear from, and be able to talk to innovative leaders in our profession who will describe how their institutions are offering virtual reference services via mobile devices, including the tools they use and their successes and challenges.  Efforts of individual libraries and cooperatives are represented, as are SMS/texting and other mobile applications.  Facilitator: Marie Radford (Rutgers); Scheduled speakers: Pam Sessoms [LibraryH3lp] (Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); Cathy Sanford (Contra Costa County Library); Lori Bell (Alliance Library System)

16th Annual Reference Research Forum (RSS)

The Research Forum is one of the most popular programs at ALA Annual, where attendees learn about notable research projects in reference service areas such as user behavior, electronic service and reference effectiveness.

This year’s presentations:

Andrew Asher, Lynda M. Duke, Monica Moore, Sue Stroyan, Suzanne Wilson

Illinois Wesleyan University, The Ames Library

Anthropologists in the Library: Helping Librarians Support Student Success

Steven Bell

Temple University

Do LibGuides Make a Difference?: A Quasi-Experimental Investigation Into the Impact of LibGuides

Eric Jennings, Hans Kishel, Jill Markgraf

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Minding the Gap: Generational Differences in Attitudes toward Reference Service in Academic Libraries



Katharine Calhoun, Editor
calhoun [at] gatech [dot] edu

Message from the Chair

The Executive Committee of RUSA STARS met on Monday, January 18, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency during the ALA Midwinter held in Boston. The Committee discussed plans of the RUSA STARS Education and Training Committee to create an online interlibrary loan course for RUSA. The committee has recruited several ILL leaders and practitioners to develop and lead the class sessions. Progress updates will be made available in the future. The STARS Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards Committee will be posting the recently developed “Guidelines for Natural Disasters” document for comment. Once comments have been solicited and any changes made, the document will be forwarded to the RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee for review and possible approval. The Executive Committee examined the possibility of hosting a chat discussion with RUSA STARS members. This will be considered further in future teleconference meetings with the idea that something may be held before ALA Annual.

STARS is sponsoring two programs for ALA Annual Conference 2010. The program “International Interlibrary Lending and Borrowing: Getting Started and Moving Forward,” offered by the STARS International ILL Committee, will be held on Saturday, June 26, 1:30–3:30. The CODES/STARS Cooperative Collection Development Committee is sponsoring the program “How Shared is Shared? Remote Storage and Cooperative Collection Building,” scheduled for Sunday, June 27, 10:30 A.M.–12:00 P.M.

Denise A. Forro, STARS Chair 2009-2010
forro [at] msu [dot] edu

Committee Reports

Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards

The Committee continues work on developing guidelines for “Resource Sharing for Natural & Man-made Disasters.” We will send out a draft of the guidelines via STARS-L to solicit feedback from STARS members. The Committee also continues work on the “ILL Operations Management” guidelines and also expects to send out a draft to STARS-L after ALA Annual.

Michelle Foss, Chair
micfoss [at] uflib [dot] ufl [dot] edu

Education and Training

On January 15, 2010, over eighty people attended the RUSA STARS Education and Training Committee’s “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Interlibrary Loan” workshop, held at the Boston Public Library. This annual half-day event featured presentations on ILL borrowing, lending, copyright, and resources and standards. Evaluations indicate that the workshop was very successful, and planning is underway for a 2011 event in San Diego. Many thanks are due to the event sponsors—Boston Public Library, OCLC, RapidILL, and Lyrasis—whose contributions allowed this workshop to be offered at no charge.

Report submitted by Megan Gaffney
gaffneym [at] udel [dot] edu

Margaret Bean, Chair
mbean [at] uoregon [dot] edu

Research & Statistics

The RUSA STARS Research & Statistics Committee will be presenting the following pre-conference at ALA Annual in Washington, D.C.:

Interlibrary Loan Statistics: What We Gather, How We Use Them, and Who We Provide Them To

Friday, June 25, 8:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M.

This preconference will help attendees to sort through the myriad of ILL statistics available from a variety of sources and how to use these numbers to make decisions about staffing, collection development and other important workplace issues. You’ll gain practical knowledge regarding the creation of reports, manipulation of canned reports supplied by vendors, and how to use this data to provide quality service.

Tickets: Advance: ALA Member $155; Division (RUSA) Member $140; Retired Member $120; Student Member $120; Non-Member $175; Onsite: ALA Member $170; Division (RUSA)

Member $155; Retired Member $135; Student Member $135; Non-Member $190

Event Code: RUS4

Register now at

Johnny Johnson, Chair
johnny [dot] johnson [at] okstate [dot] edu

Rethinking Resource Sharing Policies

RRS Policies Committee is working on finalizing the RRS STARS Checklist which we hope to be able to publicize beginning in May, pending approval from RUSA. Once the Checklist is finalized we expect that libraries will begin to submit responses, and the Committee will need to review library responses and determine who receives the RRS STAR award. The Committee will also begin working on a Resource Sharing “Toolkit” that will eventually complement the Checklist, giving libraries a resource to learn more about how to achieve certain levels of service reflected in the Checklist.

Evan Simpson, Chair
evan [dot] simpson [at] tufts [dot] edu

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.