Quarterly Update

Carol Schuetz, editor



Steven M. Miller, Jr., editor

Message from the Chair:

Hello RSS Readers,

I’m happy to report that the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Three Committees completed their work and submitted their recommendations. This Committee was asked to review the Committee on Multilingual Library Services, the Services for Job Seeking Patrons Committee, and the Health and Medical Reference Committee. They did an exceptional job looking at the committees’ charges, the past activities of each committee, talking to previous committee chairs, and considering the current needs of the profession. The RSS Executive Committee agrees with their recommendations and will officially disband the Committee on Multilingual Library Services and the Services for Job Seeking Patrons Committee. We will also investigate creating a Health and Medical Reference Interest Group. The Services for Job Seeking Patrons Committee prompted the most discussion among the RSS Board. There is a clear awareness that many libraries continue to provide assistance and programming around this topic. Please know that if there is a groundswell from the membership that this Committee should be reinstated, your RSS leadership will listen.

I want to thank the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Three Committees for their excellent work: Lise Dyckman, Ann Glusker, Rhonda Marker (chair), and Suzanne Odom. The Committee’s charge and their final report is available on ALA Connect – https://tinyurl.com/yxjabgaf.

In other news, RSS will soon be launching an ad hoc committee to consider the role of the RSS Archivist and how to manage the RSS Archives. We also hope to organize another ad hoc committee that will focus on how RSS can improve its strategies to attract and retain members. Please stay tuned for more information about these two committees and their ideas throughout the upcoming year.

I am looking forward to greeting old RSS friends while meeting new and continuing RSS members at the Annual Conference in D.C. this June. It’s exciting to know that there are numerous opportunities to expand our horizons in thinking about reference services, as well as many venues to meet like-minded colleagues. In addition to the two RSS programs at Annual, the RSS Open House and Breakfast on Sunday (celebrating the Reference Research Forum’s 25th anniversary!) and Monday’s “Sound Bites” discussion group, we will also continue the tradition of holding an ETS/RSS Social. Details will be posted in our social media channels and list-serv.

Not attending ALA, or unable to make the All-Committee meeting? Just email Janet O’Keefe, RSS Vice-chair (jokeefe@fpl.info) or fill out the RUSA Volunteer Form: http://www.ala.org/rusa/members/volunteer.

Cynthia Johnson
RSS Chair 2018-2019

RSS News & Updates

Education & Professional Development of Reference Committee Begins Reviewing Recent Survey

The Education & Professional Development of Reference Committee created a survey to help determine the content of continuing education, identify disconnects between reference training and local needs, and discover the preferred delivery mode for professional development. The questionnaire was conducted during the month of April, and was widely circulated throughout ALA list-servs, ALA Connect and RSS social media.

There were over 350 complete surveys, most of which were from academic librarians (73 percent). Other participants included public librarians (15 percent), “other” librarians (5 percent), and school librarians (4 percent). Demographics show that respondents were evenly distributed regarding the amount of time they have worked in reference services, with 33 percent coming from each of these three categories: fewer than 6 years, 6 to 15 years, and 16 years or more.

“We were encouraged that most of the questions elicited the information that we were seeking,” said Rebecca Graff, Education & Professional Development of Reference Committee Chair.

Answers to the question, “How much library training was spent on interviewing techniques?” demonstrate how survey responses will help shape RSS and RUSA’s future professional development offerings. While 42 percent felt that they had received “about the right amount” of training, it is noteworthy that nearly half of the respondents (49 percent) indicated they did not get enough training as they had either checked off “slightly too little” or “far too little.”

“Since research interaction is at the heart of reference services, this seems to indicate a need for more training in this area,” said Graff.

RSS To Hold Open House & Breakfast at ALA Annual

Come to the RSS All-Committee meeting, on Sunday, June 23 from 8:30 AM to 10 AM, Room 202B at the Washington Convention Center. We will be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Research Reference Forum, and be joined by special guest, Marie Radford. All past presenters of the Reference Research Forum are also invited to attend our gathering.

Please join us for this event and free breakfast sponsored by EBSCO.

RSS Committee Reports

Library Service to an Aging Population Committee

Former Library Service to an Aging Population Committee Chair Fatima Perkins is currently teaching a four-week RUSA course titled, “Libraries and Aging 101: Educate, Engage, and Empower Mature Adults.” Perkins, a librarian and gerontologist, shares her knowledge of data-driven strategies to aid participants in assessing the needs of elders in their populations within the community while creating impactful programs and services. She started teaching this program (https://bit.ly/2XUcL1m) on Monday, May 6.

Committee members will also be presenting a program titled, “The New Frontier: Hot Topics Engaging Older Adults,” at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference. It focuses on design concepts for inclusive library programming based on emerging and relevant themes to strengthen engagement with seniors. The presentation features a panel of librarians who will offer multiple perspectives on important issues and practical strategies to engage older adults. The program will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 10 AM, Room 145B at the Washington Convention Center.

Additionally, members of the Library Service to an Aging Population Committee will help present a webinar on Tuesday, July 16 at 1 PM (EST), titled, “The New Frontier – Training Older Adults for the Latest Gadgets.” In this 60-minute presentation, you’ll learn how you can increase opportunities for older adults to learn the latest gadgets, obtain government resources and services, develop personal awareness and actively participate with accessible gaming equipment. For more information, you can visit this website – https://bit.ly/309ZXWJ.

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


Managing, Marketing & Measuring Reference Committee

The Managing, Marketing & Measuring Reference Committee will be facilitating a discussion group called, “Sound Bites: Current Conversations About Reference.” It will take place on Monday, June 24 from 4 to 5 PM, Room 102B at the Washington Convention Center.

Several different focus groups will bring together librarians in public, school, academic and special libraries who will share their experiences, expertise and challenges. Join the conversation to explore one of three current reference issues:

  • Managing Reference Services – What are your concerns?
  • Marketing Reference Services – What works?
  • Measuring Reference – What do we measure and why?

Brainstorming is encouraged! You can select one of these topics to discuss in-depth, or you can circulate to find out trends in each area. Let’s learn from each other’s successes!Submitted by

Sarah Baker & Adele Dobry, Managing, Marketing & Measuring Reference Co-Chair’s 2018-2019


Research and Statistics Committee

This year’s 25th Annual Research Reference Forum will feature two presentations. The first is titled, “What are undergraduate and graduate students’ habits, attitudes, and needs related to research help,” with research by Melissa Miller, Melanee Vicedo, and Elizabeth Galoozis, of the University of Southern California.

The second is entitled, “How may I teach you? Rethinking virtual reference with the Framework,” is a cross-institutional study by Samantha Kannegiser of Rutgers University-Camden, Julie Hunter of Western Connecticut State University, Jessica Kiebler of Berkley College – White Plains, and Dina Meky of Berkley College – Woodbridge. For more information about each of these presentations, you can use this link – https://bit.ly/2TXGXX0.

The forum will take place on Monday, June 24 from 1 to 2 PM in Room 149 A-B at the Washington Convention Center. Plan to come to the forum and be inspired by the investigation of your colleagues’ research and creativity!

Submitted by Qiana Johnson & Joseph Yue, Reference and Statistics Co-Chair’s 2018-2019


Virtual Reference Services Committee

RUSA’s ETS Managing Emerging Technology and RSS Virtual Reference Services Committees collaborated to hold an e-forum on the past, present and future states of virtual reference and new technologies on February 26-27, 2019. Questions were posed periodically across the two days inviting comments from the VRC e-forum list subscribers. Summaries of the discussions (https://bit.ly/2UTAtZO) were provided for both days along with results of a survey indicating demographics of participants. The assessment survey highlighted the value of learning about practices at other institutions and potential steps to improve the e-forum format. Thanks to all who participated in our e-forum.

Submitted by Judith Emde & Paul Chasen, Virtual Reference Services Co-Chair’s 2018-2019