Quarterly Update

Carol Schuetz, editor



Steven M. Miller, Jr., editor

Message from the Chair:

Hello RSS Members,

RSS is a wonderful organization full of dedicated members. I’m proud to be helping lead it in 2019-2020. Under Cynthia Johnson’s leadership last year, the RSS Executive Committee continued the work of streamlining RSS to be more responsive and useful for our members. As part of that, we voted to eliminate three committees that were on hiatus, at the recommendation of our ad hoc team. Those three are: Committee on Multilingual Services, Services to Job Seeking Patrons, and Health and Medical Reference. Also, at the recommendation of the team, we are looking into recreating Health and Medical Reference as an interest group.

In addition to our existing committees, we will also have several working groups in the coming year, so there will be many opportunities to become involved in RSS. We are looking into creating a working group on Membership and Member Engagement, and we have been approached by REFORMA to create a joint task force to update the Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users. If you are interested in serving on either of these, please contact me.

If you are interested in joining any of our standing committees, there is always room for more enthusiastic librarians. We are particularly looking for a few more volunteers for the Education and Professional Development for Reference, and the Research and Statistics committees. Please email our RSS Vice-Chair, Rebecca Graff, regraff@mail.smu.edu or me at jokeefe@fpl.info and we will be pleased to make it happen.

As you will see further in this update, RSS sponsored several successful programs at Annual, as well as an extremely popular webinar. The Library Services to an Aging Population program had 170 people in attendance, and their webinar in July had 94, one short of capacity. The Reference Research Forum had a standing room only crowd of 150. The Sound Bites discussion group had a lively and engaged crowd of 52, not bad for late Monday afternoon. Thanks to everyone who worked hard to make these programs a success.

If you want to bring a program to Annual next year, the submission form is open here: https://bit.ly/2OLXIXS and the deadline is September 10th. If you do plan to submit as an RSS program, please let us know. You can always contact me with any questions you have about potential programs, or the submission process and I will be happy to help.

Let’s have a great year together!

Janet T. O’Keefe
RSS Chair 2019-2020


RSS Program Reports from ALA Annual

Library Services to an Aging Population Committee
The Library Services to an Aging Population Committee held a program at ALA Annual Conference on Saturday, June 22nd. The program, was titled, “The New Frontier: Hot Topics Engaging Older Adults.” It focused on presenting design concepts for inclusive library programming based on emerging and relevant hot topics for seniors. The panel of librarians offered a multifaceted perspective on pertinent issues while offering practical strategies to jumpstart library efforts in reaching the elderly population.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Johnson

A standing-room only audience of 170 were educated and entertained by the panelists: Taina Evans, Coordinator of Older Adults Services at the Brooklyn Public Library; Fatima Perkins, Director of Community Outreach and Advocacy at the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging; Allan Kleinman, Library Director of Montville Township Public Library; Janet Tom, Reference Librarian at the San Francisco Public Library; and Joseph Egan, President of RMRT.

On Tuesday, July 16, members of the Committee also presented a webinar titled, “The New Frontier-Training Older Adults for the Latest Gadgets,” which was part of RUSA’s Professional Development training catalog. 94 registrants enjoyed a one-hour session which framed various approaches to working with older adults and available technology. The panelists included Evans, Kleiman, Perkins, and Lyle Ishida, from the FCC, who provided additional funding and program information to assist libraries in providing services to their older community members. The committee anticipates presenting this webinar again in the Fall.

Mr. Allan Martin Kleiman is officially the new chair of the Library Services to an Aging Population Committee and looks forward to welcoming future committee members.

Submitted by Taina Evans, Library Services to an Aging Population Chair 2018-2019


Managing, Marketing & Measuring Reference Committee
The Managing, Marketing & Measuring Reference Committee facilitated a lively discussion group on Monday, June 24 titled: “Sound Bites: Current Conversations About Reference.” 52 attendees were split into three groups and were encouraged to circulate among the discussions, so that they could attend all the discussions that were of interest to them.

Sarah Baker, Co-Chair of the Committee, led the discussion on “Managing Reference Services: What are Your Concerns?” Some key points from that conversation included who staffs reference desks, the READ Scale used to triage questions, methods on offering asynchronous training to part time staff and students, and how reference hours are scheduled.

Committee member Robin Brown guided the group discussion titled “Marketing Reference Services: What Works?” Some marketing topics covered included: word of mouth, videos, making sure LibGuides are findable through Google, asking for time on staff meeting agendas, open houses with food, and links to reference services in the syllabus.

Co-Chair Adele Dobry conducted the discussion about “Measuring Reference: What Do We Measure and Why?” Various topics discussed included how online reference is measured, how impact and outcomes are measured, the lack of a READ Scale variation for public libraries, identifying true reference service, and how to measure success in patron interactions.

At the conclusion of the session, attendees remarked at how helpful the discussions were, with one commentator even stating that it was the best program they attended at the conference. The Managing, Marketing & Managing Reference Committee looks forward to expanding on the ideas shared by providing future opportunities for programming and research.

Submitted by Sarah Baker & Adele Dobry, Managing, Marketing & Managing Reference

Committee Co-Chair’s 2018-2019


Research & Statistics Committee
The 25th Annual Reference Research Forum was quite successful with a standing-room only crowd of over 150 attendees on Monday, June 24. This year’s presentations were:

Perceptions of Reference Services at the University of Southern California, Melissa Miller, Head, Hoose Library of Philosophy and Faculty Librarian for the Humanities University of Southern California, speaker. Co-researchers: Melanee Vicedo, Head of Education and Social Work Library Services, Elizabeth Galoozis, Head of Information Literacy, University of Southern California

How May I Teach You?: Rethinking Virtual Reference with the Framework, Julie Hunter, Student Success Librarian, Western Connecticut State University; Samantha Kannegiser, Student Success Librarian, Rutgers University-Camden; Jessica Kiebler, Library Director, Berkeley College-White Plains; Dina Meky, Research/Instruction Librarian, Berkeley College-Woodbridge, speakers.

The call for proposals for next year’s forum will go out in the Fall.

Submitted by Qiana Johnson & Joseph Yue, Research & Statistics Committee Co-Chair’s 2018-