Quarterly Update

Carol Schuetz, editor



Denise Wetzel, Editor                                

Message from the Chair:

Greetings, RSSers and RSS friends.  Many of us are getting ready to celebrate various holidays and I wish all of you a happy new year.

Do you want to play a more active role in RSS? Volunteer for a committee! Committee appointments will take place in the spring. If you have any questions, please contact Cynthia Johnson, Vice-Chair of RSS, at cynthiaj@uci.edu.

Work has been moving forward on the updated RSS Handbook. By the time this article is published, the new Handbook should be up and ready to go. Committee chairs are setting up online meetings with their committee members and work is moving forward in the Section.  We are setting up a Task Force to create a policy for archiving section documents (meeting minutes, guidelines, etc.) to ensure the history of the section is retained and that new committee chairs have necessary documentation to continue their committees’ work.

We’re also gearing up for ALA Midwinter in Denver (brrrrr…). Although there are no formal meetings of the section, there is a tradition of members getting together for a pancake breakfast! It’s held in a restaurant in the conference city, usually on Saturday morning at 8:30 am. Once the breakfast is set up, we’ll share the details on the RSS listserv and on the RSS Facebook page. Look for information on other RUSA and RSS events, such as discussion forums, as the ALA Midwinter conference dates approach.

Unlike Midwinter, ALA Annual Conference 2018 in New Orleans will include several RSS events, including the Annual Reference Research Forum.  Stay tuned for more information in the months to come.

The RUSA satisfaction survey preliminary results has been distributed to section chairs.  Some of the comments are relevant to RSS.  These comments help guide the section and we appreciate all the people who participated in the survey.

RSS Board will be meeting, virtually, in January.  These meetings are open, so look for upcoming announcements about the meeting and attend!

If you have any questions about the Section activities, or want to become involved in RSS, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I look forward to a great 2018 for all of you, and for ALA, RUSA, and RSS.


Rebecca Jackson
RSS Chair 2017-2018

RSS Honor Roll

It’s that time of year! We want to recognize you and your contributions to RSS!

The RSS Honor Roll gives recognition to active RSS members who have served the section in three different capacities since its inception.

If you have been a member of three or more committees or discussion groups since RSS was established in 2004 and have not previously been added to the honor roll, please send your name and a list of the three ways you have served RSS to Ellen Keith at keith@chicagohistory.org.

Not only will you become a member of this esteemed group, you will also be recognized at ALA Annual in New Orleans!

Join the RSS Honor Roll today!

RSS Committee Reports

Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need Committee

The Communication and Teaching at the Point of Need Committee anticipates sponsoring a Discussion Forum at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. Though our planning for this meeting is just at the starting point, our topic will likely continue our recent trend of focusing on the uses of various forms of social media, both generally but also in a reference context. The Committee also plans to continue to update its online bibliography (available as a link within our Connect Space).

Shannon Richie, sgr1@psu.edu
Patricia Greenstein, southard@gwu.edu
Co-Chairs, 2017-2018

Communications Committee

The RSS Communication Committee held its first meeting for 2017/18 on October 24th.

Discussion during the meeting included the committee’s charge and goals for the year.

  • The committee’s charge, which was not formalized last year, was modeled on the RUSA History Section’s Communication Committee’s charge. It now reads as:
    • The RSS Communication Committee manages RSS’s media outlets (including the web site, listserv, social media, and contributions to RUSA Update), promotes the Section’s activities, events and initiatives, and advises on other communication-related issues.
  • Goals for the year:
    • Draft and send a survey to RSS Committee chairs to solicit their ideas for communicating their information to the Communication Committee for distribution and posting on web pages, Facebook, etc.
    • Continue to develop a system by which RSS Committee chairs can get their updates to us, possibly by individual members of the Communication Committee attending the meetings of other committees.
    • Work with the RSS web master to update committee web pages.
    • Possibly ask other RSS members to take photos at RSS events at which none of the Communication Committee members will be in attendance.

Members of the Communications Committee are posting regularly to the RSS Facebook page, so feel free to send your committee news and activities to the Facebook contacts, Denise Wetzel (dwetzel@library.msstate.edu) or Manda Sexton (asexto14@utk.edu) for posting!

Laura Friesen, lflynn@umflint.edu
Chair, 2017-2018

Evaluation of Reference & User Services Committee

The Evaluation of Reference & User Services Committee is analyzing the data you submitted for our “How are reference data collected and used in 2016?” survey. We’ve been working as several smaller groups to assess particular sections and meeting as a whole monthly. Don’t wait with bated breath (because it will take us a while); yet, the results promise to be informative.

Rebecca Graff, regraff@mail.smu.edu
Chair, 2017-2018

Health and Medical Reference Committee

Chair Ann Glusker presented a webinar on September 20th, through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), titled “Health Reference and You: ALA Guidelines, Best Practices, and Training Resources.”  It focused on using the recently-revised Health and Medical Reference Guidelines as a support for training staff to be more comfortable with health-related reference questions, and offered 1 hour of CE from the Medical Library Association. She also presented the same material on November 1, for the GeauxConsumerLA Health Initiative Class for library staff in Louisiana: http://guides.lsuhsc.edu/geauxconsumerla.

The committee has been working to increase usage of the MedRef@ALA list-serv, by publicizing it in a variety of professional avenues and on listserv.  Traffic is up!  In addition, committee members who are already serving as list moderators will soon be owners of the listserv, allowing them to respond directly to user requests.

The committee continues to work on its other specified goals, including enhancements to and maintenance of the guidelines and committee web pages.

Ann Glusker, glusker@uw.edu
Chair, 2017-2018

Library Services to an Aging-Population Committee

The Library Services to an Aging Population met on Tuesday, October 24th at 3 p.m. Other announcements from the Committee are as follows.

  • RUSA Board approved the Guidelines for Library Services with 60+ Audiences. On Wednesday, September 13th the committee received notice from RUSA Standards & Guidelines Chair, Elizabeth Stephen, that the RUSA Board approved the Guidelines for Library Services with 60+ audiences.
  • The committee’s ALA Annual 2018 program submission has been approved. The proposed program – The New Frontier: Training Older Adults for the Latest Gadgets will focus on older adults and technology and positioning libraries for this opportunity. If other committees are interested in partnering on this program with us, please let Chair Fatima Perkins know at fperkins@psa10a.org.
  • The FCC Digital Divide Project. The committee worked with Carrie Russell, Director of the OITP Program on Public Access to Information ALA Washington Office, and Roger Goldblatt, a Bureau Chief at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Libraries will be involved in a project to raise awareness about and promote digital literacy. This project came from a conversation with committee members at the ALA 2017 Annual. Getting older adults online is a special interest of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Since ALA worked with the FCC several years ago on the transition to digital television, we were approached again.
  •  The Terra Nova Films – Coming of Age toolkit/documentary/film. The committee members dialogued and provided suggestions to Terra Nova Films which has received a grant from the Retirement Research Foundation to support development of a toolkit for libraries that will focus on hosting film screenings and discussion events that explore issues related to aging. The programming centerpiece of the toolkit will be the documentary Coming of Age in an Aging America. The initiative is designed to help support a new national report on how it has become necessary with the age boom to redefine and re-frame individual and societal perceptions of aging. Terra Nova will provide a toolkit for librarians to use as a road-map in building their events and bringing in inter-generational audiences. Each library will become something of a public square in hosting an event in Spring 2018. They will work with Terra Nova following the events in an evaluation process designed to gauge success and impact in making people more aware of the challenges and opportunities presented by our ever-increasing life span.

Fatima Perkins, FPerkins@psa10a.org
Chair, 2017-2018

Nominating Committee

The RSS Nominating Committee has completed their work for the year. The 2018 RSS slate has been submitted and will be announced during the winter by RUSA. Thank you to all of those who have volunteered to run for office. The chair is thankful to those who served on the committee.

Amy E. Rustic, aer123@psu.edu
Chair, 2017-2018

Service Achievement Award Committee

RSS colleagues, this is your opportunity to nominate an RSS member who has made either a sustained contribution towards attaining the goals of the Reference Services Section or a single significant contribution that has resulted in a positive impact upon the work of the section. Nominations are due by January 5, 2018. Please use the nomination form and return it to Ellen Keith at keith@chicagohistory.org

Ellen Keith, keith@chicagohistory.org
Chair, 2017-2018

Services for Job Seeking Patrons Committee

Services for Job Seeking Patrons will be meeting virtually for Midwinter. The committee proposed a webinar idea to the RUSA Update group on Outreach and Community Partnerships to Improve Career/Job Services, but have not heard back on whether it was accepted.

Rachel Minkin, minkinr@mail.lib.msu.edu
Chair, 2017-2018

ETS/RSS Virtual Reference Services Committee

The members of the RSS Virtual Reference Committee continue the work to transition from a co-sponsored ETS/RSS committee to one organizationally aligned just with RSS. One of the last products completed by the combined ETS/RSS committee this year was a timely update to the Guidelines for Implementing and Maintaining Virtual Reference Services.  While all website instances of the Guidelines document have not been updated yet, you can find the current and correct version here.

With the change in committee structure and affiliation, the RSS Virtual Reference Committee also has a revised charge: “To provide timely information resources and programming related to the creation, management, improvement, and other aspects of virtual reference services.”

With that charge in mind, the committee will focus on a few goals this year, including updating the content on the committee web page, determining the future disposition of the Virtual Reference Companion, and planning and facilitating a discussion at ALA Annual in 2018. While we’re in the early stages of planning, we would love to hear our colleagues’ ideas for a discussion topic. Please share your topic ideas by emailing our committee chair, Karen Reiman-Sendi (karsendi@umich.edu) before the end of December 2017.

And, finally, the committee will not be gathering at ALA Midwinter 2017 in Denver. However we will be meeting frequently online between now and ALA Annual. If RUSA colleagues are considering volunteering for this committee and would like to participate in an online meeting before ALA Annual, please contact the chair for meeting details.

Karen Reiman-Sendi, karsendl@umich.edu
Chair, 2017-2018