Quarterly Update

Carol Schuetz, editor



Elizabeth Malafi, Editor

From the BRASS Chair

BRASS Events at ALA Annual
We are working with BRASS committees to deliver solid programming to our members virtually and at ALA Annual Conference in Chicago in June. Follow the announcements of brass-L and ALA Connect BRASS for discussion groups, publishers’ forum and lightning talks.

If you are planning your trip to Chicago, keep these dates in mind:

  • Friday, June 26 – all day preconference; Let’s Get Down to Business: Using Business Research Competencies and the ACRL Framework to (Re)design Business Information Literacy Instruction [Contact: Jordan Nielson]
  • Friday, June 26, evening – BRASS member reception
  • All Committees Meeting (TBD, Saturday(??), June 27t)
  • Sunday, June 28 4:00- 5:30 pm – BRASS Program Follow the money: Help watchdogs, whistleblowers, and our communities find and understand financial trails and organizational relationships [Contact: Katharine Macy]
  • BRASS Discussion Group and Awards (TBD, Sunday(??), June 28th)
  • New Business Librarians Discussion Group (TBD, Sunday(??), June 28th)
  • Monday, June 29th, BRASS Executive Meeting with optional BRASS Leadership Council Attendance
  • Monday, June 29, evening – BRASS dinner (not on ALA schedule)

Call for BRASS Volunteers
Julia Martin BRASS Chair Elect will send a call for volunteers for the next term starting on July 1st, 2020. If you are new to BRASS or your term on a BRASS committee expires in June, please
consider volunteering. Fill out > ALA Volunteer Form > Select RUSA, then RUSA-BRASS as your section.

BRASS Committee Reports

Academic Committee
In the Fall, the BRASS Academic committee held a successful online symposium this last Fall with upwards of 70 attendees for the first session and 53 attendees for the second session at its peak. We also published our Fall newsletter.

Over the course of the Spring, we have reorganized the committee into two major segments: Paid Conference Exploration, and Brainstorming/Project development. This structure will allow us to make use of all of our members’ talents and will be replicable for the next Chair.

The paid conference exploration group is researching the possibilities for holding a paid version of the semesterly symposium and will create documentation that can be used in the next cycle if the demand for such an event is present. The brainstorming/project development group is designed to come up with interesting project ideas and then to bud off members in twos and threes to implement them. Currently, we are creating best practices guides for online presenting and instruction, lists of good conferences and papers to respectively present at or publish in, and new member orientation materials. Our goal is to create documentation for this structure so that it can be used to provide reliable professional development opportunities for every member in our group over the coming years.

Alan Witt, Chair

Business Information Sources Committee (formally the Business Reference Sources Committee)
At Annual in June 2019, issues were raised regarding the challenges of choosing titles within the scope of reference because it was limited within the committee’s parameters. The committee met in July 2019 and subsequently submitted the request for changes to BRASS Executive Committee. The committee name change was approved and is now the Business Information Sources Committee. Our guidelines for title inclusion in our annual column are now for business information and not limited to reference titles; we also removed the requirement that they be recommended for both medium-large academic and public libraries. Instead, we will list the type(s) of recommended libraries in the upcoming reviews, so that we can include more titles. We are also including database recommendations, which were previously part of the group’s scope.

The committee met at ALA Annual in Washington and selected this year’s titles. They will appear in the Winter 2020 edition of RUSQ. The committee is currently preparing for the nominations process for this year’s list.
Committee members Kendra Spahr, Stephen Fadel, Emily Mross, and Ben Hall worked on the online Fall Publisher’s Forum. We had a few suggestions submitted for topics and based on a
recurring request, chose to have the Fall Forum about Advertising and Marketing Resources on Friday, November 8, 2019. There were 56 attendees.

There will be another online Publisher’s Forum held in Spring 2020.

Holly Inglis, Chair

Business Reference Discussion Group Steering Committee
We had about 15 people attend the in-person discussion at Midwinter. Committee met once in the fall and again most recently on February 3, 2020 to discuss the committee’s progress and hear any suggestions from group members on improvements that can be made by the group. During that meeting, Ilana requested additional 30 minutes for award ceremony for Annual so that it can be separate from in-person discussion time

Attendance at virtual discussions this fall averaged between 25-35 participants. We’ve added the poll during the first 10 minutes or so of each meeting, so we have an idea of group make-up. Group consensus is that this is good and has enhanced discussion. Group agreed that 1.5 hours for virtual discussions is good so we don’t need to rush and anyone who needs to slip out early can easily do that. We will begin soliciting feedback from committee members about potential topics for each discussion in advance of meeting (these will go out to committee membership and we are hoping for good feedback).

Kara Van Abel, Chair

Business Reference in Public Libraries Committee
During the past year our group met via Zoom meeting four times. In this term, we had some changes in leadership. Patty Smolin resigned from her position as committee co-chair. We welcomed three new members to our group, and they continue to offer renewed energy and show a commitment to business librarianship and the charge of this sub-committee.

We also saw renewed interest in the writing and submitting of articles written by business librarians working in public libraries. With that new energy, we were able to re-establish our relationship with editors at Public Libraries Online; our partnership gives authors a direct line to online publication. There is a clear and documented path for this process with succession in mind.

Ashley Johnson, committee chair worked to create documentation, process, and organizational best practices for this sub-committee. Documents can be found on the BRASS Business Reference in Public Libraries Group in the Library section on ALA Connect. Documents include a new member orientation packet, a group statement of purpose, and all past meeting agendas.

Our next committee call is scheduled for March 12, 2020.

Ashley Johnson, Chair

Conference Program Planning Committee
The conference program has been accepted for the 2020 ALA Annual Conference. Follow the money: Help watchdogs, whistleblowers, and our communities find and understand financial trails and organizational relationships is on Sunday, June 28 from 4:30-6pm. It is co-sponsored with GODORT and ACRL PPIRS. Kelley Janousek will be discussing her project on developing a database about funders to California ballot initiatives. S&P Global will discuss how their resources can be used to research relationships. The third speaker, an investigative journalist, will discuss their research strategies and navigating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). S&P Global is graciously providing refreshments with a sponsorship gift. The committee is in the process of developing communications and a LibGuide to support the program.

Katharine V. Macy, Chair

Education Committee
We have completed the fall updates of the BRASS Business guides and plan a spring update. We completed the “Best of the Best” business websites selection for our 2020 theme “Following the Money” in alignment with the BRASS program at annual. Our 2020 preconference at ALA Annual in Chicago will be “Let’s Get Down to Business: Using Research Competencies and the ACRL Framework to ReDesign Business Information Literacy Instruction.”

LuMarie Guth, Co-chair

Membership Committee
We are working with Steve Laird and Krista Barton of Infogroup on the ALA Annual reception this year — budget is $5,000. We are still in need of a local contact for Chicago. The business where we held the reception last time in Chicago has since closed, so we will be identifying new possible locations and requesting bids.

We are reviewing survey questions and will repeat the dropped member survey this spring, getting contact information for dropped BRASS members from Bill Ladewski of RUSA.

Ruth D. Terry and Nicole Webber, Co-Chair

Student Travel Award Committee
We have sent nomination information to the BRASS and BUS-LIB listservs, had a blurb in RUSA Update, had RUSA provide social media marketing, and Celia Ross put a blurb on her Making Sense of Business Reference Facebook page. We also divided up the ALA-accredited MLIS program list among the committee members and sent nomination info to each of the contacts on the list. We have one nomination as of Feb 10.

Carmen Cole, Chair