ALA seeks candidates for 2014 Google Policy Summer Fellowship!

For the seventh consecutive year, the American Library Association is pleased to participate in the Google Policy Fellows program for 2014. The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy began its participation at the program’s founding.

For the summer of 2014, the selected fellow will spend 10 weeks in residence at the ALA Washington Office to learn about national policy and complete a major project. Google provides the $7,500 stipend for the summer, but the work agenda is determined by the ALA and the selected fellow. The Google Washington office provides an educational program for all of the fellows, such as lunchtime talks and interactions with Google Washington staff.

The fellows work in diverse areas of information policy that may include digital copyright, e-book licenses and access, future of reading, international copyright policy, broadband deployment, telecommunications policy (including e-rate and network neutrality), digital divide, access to information, free expression, digital literacy, online privacy, the future of libraries generally, and many other topics.

Jamie Schleser, a doctoral student at American University, served as the ALA 2013 Google Policy Fellow. Schleser worked with OITP to apply her dissertation research regarding online-specific digital libraries to articulate visions and strategies for the future of libraries.

Further information about the program and host organizations is available at the Google Public Policy Fellowship website. Applications are due by Monday, April 14, 2014. ALA encourages all interested graduate students to apply and, of course, especially those in library and information science-related academic programs. Here’s a link to the application:

RUSA seeks webinar proposals for 2014

E-books, library programming, outreach, reference services, collection development and readers’ advisory are just some of the webinar topics sought by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) for spring 2014; proposals can be submitted online through January 15, 2014.

RUSA webinars are an opportunity for librarians, library support staff and LIS professionals to conveniently and affordably participate in professional development opportunities covering emerging trends in the profession. Webinars will take place throughout the 2014 calendar year and will cover topics relevant to a broad range of library and information professionals.

Ideal proposals will:

  • Show plans for presentations that are 60-75 minutes in length;
  • Identify clear learning outcomes for the session;
  • Show how the presentation addresses a topic either of interest to RUSA members, or represents an area of RUSA’s expertise that benefits other types of librarians.

The following potential webinar topics are of great value and interest, though RUSA welcomes submissions presenting on a number of others as well:

  • reference basics;
  • reference for special populations;
  • research, trends and hot topics in readers advisory;
  • information literacy;
  • community partnerships;
  • library programming and outreach;
  • government data and related resources;
  • library spaces and design;
  • copyright in the digital age;
  • collection development;
  • special collections;
  • standards and guidelines;
  • genealogy;
  • business reference;
  • fundraising;
  • marketing;
  • job searching and related resources;
  • book reviewing;
  • interlibrary loan;
  • e-books;
  • technology trends;
  • resource sharing;
  • disaster preparedness and relief; and more!

Proposals may be submitted using the online proposal form. Proposals are accepted and evaluated on an ongoing basis until January 15. 2014. Review RUSA’s current online learning offerings, including webinars and courses.

Presenters for accepted proposals will receive compensation for their time and will also receive training for Adobe Connect, RUSA’s online presentation software. Questions about RUSA’s webinar offerings and proposals can be sent to Andrea Hill, RUSA web manager and online learning liaison at

Never read Harry Potter and other confessions from RUSA Director-at-Large

Over the next several weeks we will be highlighting members of RUSA’s Board of Directors. Take a minute and get to know our fantastic leaders!

Meet Celia,  RUSA Director-at-Large.  She’s a fun, business-loving, Michigander librarian with lots to share! Want to connect with Celia? You may reach her at her email address listed at the end of this post.

Celia Ross
Business Reference Librarian
University of Michigan
Ross School of Business

Celia Ross
Celia Ross

What are you currently reading or listening to?
I’m kind of addicted to mysteries and I tend to have at least one each of audio and print book going at a time.  I just started listening to The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (recently revealed to be a pen name of J. K. Rowling [by the way, I live in constant fear that my librarian license will be revoked as I have never read any of the Harry Potter series–oops, did I just admit that in front of all of ALA?!]) and I just finished a great French noir debut called Summertime, All The Cats Are Bored by Philippe Georget as well as Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.  Non-mystery audiobooks I have listened to relatively recently include Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed and Rob Lowe’s memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends (glad I went with the audiobook here as Lowe does the narrating himself–so good!).

What is the most interesting “reference” question you’ve ever been asked? (reference in quotes to allow for some flexibility in answering the questions) I once helped a student asking for information on how many schools there were in Chicago.  This was before readily-available data online, so I walked him over to the Education reference area, discussing how we might approach the question and how he would need to define what he meant by schools–did he want to include colleges & universities?  Public schools only?  Private schools?  He smiled and nodded for a while and we were getting some good leads on potential sources of school data when he said, “Actually, I asked ‘How many *squirrels* are in Chicago?”  I think we ended up identifying some animal-related groups in Chicago and discussed how he might need to get some estimates and then extrapolate.

Tell us about your current role at your library, and maybe a little bit about your career path, too.
I am lucky to be able to do what I love to do, which is to help connect people to the information they’re looking for and to sometimes teach them a research trick or two along the way.  I never thought I’d end up as a business reference specialist, but somehow here I am.  I work mostly with MBA students, but also with undergrads and faculty.  The topics tend to be business-focused, but the range of what constitutes “business” varies widely and wildly.  From food trucks to geothermal furnaces to cardiac stents to green consumers to mouth guards to smartphone apps and everything in  between, it’s always something new.

Describe a particularly rewarding experience in your library career.
Being elected Chair of BRASS was an honor.  I have met so many great people through BRASS and it’s a fantastic group to be involved with.  As a Past Chair of BRASS, and Past Past Chair, etc., as the years progress, you get appointed automatically to chair other BRASS committees (Nominating, Vendor Relations, some other ones that I’m forgetting), so we joke that we should get BRASS 4LIFE tattooed on our knuckles as part of our Chair initiation.

Give one fun fact about yourself—can be personal or professional.
I used to work at an all-boys summer camp in New Hampshire.  I started out in the kitchen but one summer they needed someone to take over the leatherworking shack–a former camper showed me how to bevel and stamp and for a brief while I was known as “the Leather Lady.”

Any hobbies?
Running, chia-pet collecting, kid-wrangling (I have two daughters, ages 5 and 2.5).

Why did you join RUSA (and/or sections)?
RUSA was initially my gateway to BRASS and I joined to expand my network of colleagues and to find a way to get involved with ALA.

How has RUSA helped you in your career?
It was through RUSA that I found my ALA home in BRASS.  RUSA also gave me the opportunity to turn what I used to run as a two-hour face-to-face workshop into a 4-week online course called Business Reference 101.  This, in turn, inspired and became the foundation for my ALA Editions-published Making Sense of Business Reference book which I *finally* finished last fall.  BizRef 101 is in its seventh or eighth year now (I’ve lost track) and here’s a shameless plug for Making Sense:

What are some of the RUSA activities you’ve participated in?
Lots and lots of BRASS stuff, RUSA Board, RUSA Membership Reception, RUSA Online Professional Development.

If you’re open to having RUSA members connecting with you directly, provide an e-mail address and/or phone number where they can reach you.
Sure–I’m happy to chat about RUSA with anyone.  Email is best:


Now accepting nominations for 2014 RUSA achievement awards, research and travel grants

‘Tis the season!

The nomination period is now open for the many achievement awards and conference travel and research grants offered by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

RUSA, which represents librarians and information service professionals in reference, collection development, adult readers’ advisory, genealogy, resource sharing and user services, is accepting nominations for the following 2014 awards. The deadline for all nominations is December 15, 2013, with the exception of the BRASS Gale Cengage Learning Student Travel Award, which has a deadline of January 31, 2013. Award criteria, nomination forms and instructions for submissions are available at each of the award’s web pages below.

Professional Achievement Awards for Individuals and Groups

Travel Grants to ALA Annual Conference

Research Grants

More information about these awards, including nominating and submission instructions, can be found at the RUSA Awards Web page. Monetary award amounts are subject to change without notice and are contingent upon donor funding supplied at the time the award is presented. Questions about these awards should be directed to the committee chairperson or to Leighann Wood, RUSA awards program coordinator at

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. Learn more about the association at