NEWS: Reference, technology and adult literature featured in RUSA programs offered at 2013 ALA Annual Conference

2013 ALA Annual Conference Logo

CHICAGO–Seeking conference programming covering reference, reference technologies and the best books for adult readers? Look no further than the program slate for the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA.

This year’s RUSA programs offer groundbreaking ideas and thought-provoking discussions in the areas of librarianship represented by the division: frontline reference, readers advisory, collection development, business reference and other specialized areas of reference, genealogical research, management of local history collections, interlibrary loan and resource sharing, reference and outreach to special populations and emerging technologies in reference.

The highlight of RUSA’s program slate is The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program, 4:00-5:30p.m. on Saturday, June 29, featuring Lee Rainie, director, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Rainie, co-author of the new book “Networked: The New Social Operating System”, and lead researcher on new studies of adults and teens will share the latest data about how Americans are interacting with information technology and electronic books. Program participants will learn more about how Americans think about libraries and information, their use of library services, and what they value–important information that can help libraries improve collections and services.

A follow-up discussion to the program will be held on Sunday, June 30, from 10:30-11:30a.m., where Rainie and library leaders Emily Ford, David Lankes and Marie Radford will discuss how the Pew study data will influence your library’s future. Join the conversation surrounding this topic on Twitter by using the hashtag #rusapres13. The Sunday conversation was selected by Library Journal as a top conference pick.

RUSA programs featuring authors and adult literature, all of which were selected as top conference picks by Library Journal:

  • Beyond Genre: Exploring the Perception, Uses, and Misuses of Genre by Readers, Writers, and Librarians, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Join us at the Readers’ Advisory Research and Trends Forum where we question authors and librarians about the ways genre is used to sell books, the limitations of reading within a genre box, and the challenges “genre” poses for readers’ advisors. Speakers: authors Margaret Dilloway, Laura Lippman and Naomi Novik.

  • Literary Tastes: Celebrating the Best Reading of the Year, Sunday, 8:00-10:00 a.m. Listen to some of the year’s best authors discuss their works and the craft of writing while enjoying the company of other book lovers. This year’s authors are Peter Heller, author of 2013 RUSA Notable Book “The Dog Stars” (Knopf); Jonathan Tropper, author of 2013 RUSA Notable Book “One Last Thing Before I Go” (Dutton); Matti Friedman, author of “The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible” (Algonquin), winner of the 2013 Sophie Brody Medal for achievement in Jewish literature; Lyndsay Faye, author of “The Gods of Gotham” (Putnam), the top pick for The Reading List’s Mystery category in 2013.

  • Reception: Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, Sunday, June 30, 2013, 8:00  – 10:00 p.m. This standing-room only event garnered rave reviews in 2012! The announcement and presentation of the second Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, ALA’s only single-book awards for adult trade fiction and nonfiction, will be followed by a dessert and drinks reception. Separate registration required–purchase your ticket here (Event Code: RUS2).

Business reference programming, hosted by the Business Reference and Services Section of RUSA:

  • “Business Reference 101”, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, June 28. Designed for new business librarians, generalists who have assumed responsibility in business librarianship or librarians who handle business reference-related inquiries in all types of libraries, including academic, public and special libraries. Speakers will cover core resources for business reference, the assessment of business resources and licensing for business products. This preconference requires separate, advance registration. Details here.

  • Smart investing @ your library®: Community Connector, Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Learn how librarians are making new connections with new audiences and expanding their own financial education frontier with outreach programs to seniors, teens and children. This program is part of Smart investing @ your library, a partnership between ALA, RUSA and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Learn more.

  • Investment Success! Building & Managing Your Retirement Portfolio, Monday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. In this program, investment professionals will demystify the process and help us understand essential principles and how to apply them to make better decisions to meet our retirement goals. The presentation will include a discussion of the common mistakes investors make, why we make them, and how to avoid them.

Reference and reference technology programs:

  • 19th Annual Reference Research Forum Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. One of the most popular and valuable programs where attendees can learn about notable projects conducted in the broad area of reference services. This year’s topics are: Research Guides Usability Study, Two Birds, One Stone: Using a Mixed Methods Approach to Measure Service Process and Identify Usability Pain Points in Virtual Reference, and Query Clarification in Chat Reference: A Visual Transcript Analysis.

  • Usability, the User Experience & Interface Design: The Role of Reference  Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. How are we collecting data and observing behavior to improve these interfaces to better meet our user’s needs? How can we learn from what other researchers are studying and use that data to implement change? What is the new relationship between the virtual space, the physical space, and the user experience?

  • Leveraging Open Source Software to Create Library Websites Sunday, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Is your library considering using open source software such as Drupal, WordPress or Omeka to revamp your library’s web site, create a digital archive or a staff intranet? Our speakers will provide an overview of open source software and discuss some of their features and capabilities.

  • Digital History: New Methodologies Facilitated by New Technologies Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Digital History is providing new pathways to traditional historical research methodologies. Panelists will address the opportunities in researching with digital history and the problems they have encountered in using these sources.

Outreach, community engagement and customer service programs:

  • Collection Development & Community Expectations: Managing Collections and Balancing Resources in an Era of Budgetary Constraints, Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. With declining budgets and fewer resources librarians must make difficult decisions to meet their library’s overall mission. Join us to hear a panel of experienced librarians share examples of how they have met the challenges of managing various types of library collections, and how they continue to manage the expectations of their diverse customer groups.

  • Library Engagement in National History Day Activities, Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded academic program focused on history for 6th to 12th grade students. Panelists will share their experiences in working with students on the regional, state, and national levels of the competition.

  • Different Strokes: Serving the Health Information Needs of a Diverse Community, Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Panelists in this program will include librarians with expertise in providing medical information to patrons who are from different cultures, speak different languages, are disabled or have literacy issues. Attendees will learn about health issues facing diverse populations, and resources to assist them in providing reference services.

  • Preserving Labor’s History, Monday, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. This program aims to highlight the ways in which librarians, archivists and others have endeavored to preserve labor’s history, and have worked to educate generations on the important role of labor in American life.

Resource-sharing programs:

In addition to these programs, RUSA hosts many other events throughout the conference, including discussion groups, member socials, networking events like RUSA 101 and our Awards Reception and Volunteer Appreciation Party. Browse the Annual Conference scheduler to find more events and add them to your schedule.

The Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need.  Not a member, but interested in discounted registration rates on conference, preconferences and other events? Join, renew or add RUSA to your ALA membership at www.ala.org/membership. Learn more about the association at www.ala.org/rusa.

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