Quarterly Update

Carol Schuetz, editor



Steven M. Miller, Jr., Editor

Message from the Chair

Hello RSS Members,

It has been quite a time in which to chair RSS. Despite the pandemic, we’ve had a successful year. I hope to meet you virtually during ALA Annual this year and in reality, in coming years.
Current Committee Activities:

  • Communications Committee, chaired by Steven Miller, Jr. & Joan Petit, continues to promote RSS related events and news updates via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Library Services to an Aging Population, chaired by Allan Kleiman, is presenting a program at ALA Annual.
  • Managing, Marketing, & Measuring Reference Service, chaired by Robin Brown, is working on putting together a panel on marketing library user services during the pandemic.
  • Research and Statistics Committee, chaired by Qiana Johnson, is hosting the 27th Annual Reference Research Forum at ALA Annual. Also, the committee is working on a bibliography regarding EDI issues. The three subcategories are collections, the profession, and services to different populations.
  • Research Help in Academic Libraries, chaired by Liz Kocevar-Weidinger, is conducting a survey of what our colleagues are most interested in. You can read more about this below.
  • User Services in Public Libraries, chaired by Taina Evans, is meeting to determine future projects.
  • Virtual Reference Services, chaired by Melissa Del Castillo, led “From a New Normal to a New Future,” an eForum on Trends in Virtual Reference & Emerging Technology this past March.

We’re in the homestretch of the Definition of Reference revision. Look for the RUSA Professional Resources Committee’s feedback request info.
Want to contribute to and help direct our efforts? We’re in committee appointment season! Our Vice-Chair, Fatima Perkins, will match volunteers with the many terrific committee options. Use the volunteer form, http://bit.ly/38uAlHC, to join. Find descriptions of the committees at http://bit.ly/3bta9PN. Email with any questions!


Rebecca Eve Graff, RSS Chair

News & Updates

Chasen and O’Keefe Named to RSS Executive Board
Elections for RSS Executive Board positions were held this past April. Paul Chasen was chosen as the Vice Chair/Chair Elect while Janet O’Keefe was picked to serve as the RSS Member At Large.
Former 2018-19 RSS Chair Cynthia Johnson was also selected our next RUSA Vice President/President Elect.

Committee Reports

Library Services to An Aging Population Committee
Committee Chair Allan M. Kleiman and RSS Vice Chair Fatima Perkins will present a program during June’s 2021 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition (Virtual) titled: “Library Services and Programs for Older Adults: The Top 10 Ways!” It will be an on-demand session for conference registrants.

Both presenters will share decades of combined experience working in the field of library services to older adults as practitioners, consultants, authors, and trainers. Topics discussed will include: What are the best models of services and programs that you can replicate at your library if you are just starting out or have had a program for many years? How can you tailor these ideas to changing demographics in your community? How can you utilize technology to reach a wider and more diverse audience? How do you get the 50+ community involved in your programming efforts? How can you make this happen?

Kleiman recently presented at the Connecticut Library Association, “Stories Told, Lessons Learned: Libraries, Older Adults, and COVID-19,” updating a chapter that he and Perkins wrote for the recently released ALA Edition book: “Pivoting During the Pandemic.” Kleiman and committee member Janet Tom will also be speaking at the New Jersey Library Association on June 3. Kleiman’s presentation features a talk on “Who Isn’t Aging? Are you in?” Tom’s discussion is titled “Talking About Death and Dying @ Your Library,” a program she developed at the San Francisco Public Library.

Allan Kleiman, Committee Chair, 2020-21

Research and Statistics Committee
This year’s 27th Annual Reference Research Forum will take place during June’s 2021 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition (Virtual) as an on-demand session for registrants. The forum, which will be moderated by Research & Statistics Committee Chair Qiana Johnson, will include one presentation. Samantha Kannegiser of Rutgers University Camden and Julie Hunter of Western Connecticut State University, will discuss their research project titled: “Sexual Harassment Occurs in Chat Reference: Its Impact on Librarians and the Role of Institutions.”

Sexual harassment in physical workplaces, including libraries, is well documented. But what happens when the harassment moves online? Researchers investigated the prevalence of sexual harassment in chat, its impact on service providers, and how organizational support, or lack thereof, affected chat reference providers responses to harassment. Using a survey inspired by the Sexual Experience Questionnaire, more than 60 percent of respondents experienced some form of harassment on chat. This presentation will also discuss the prevalence of harassment in chat, the impact of harassment on chat providers, and the role administrators and organizations play in supporting employees providing chat reference.

Our committee has also been hard at work on researching published literature with regards to topics related to equity, diversity, and inclusion over the last five years. We are placing special emphasis on collection development, trends within the LIS profession, and services to different populations. Our goal is to share this research in a bibliography and post it on the RSS website upon completion of this project.

Qiana Johnson, Committee Chair, 2020-21

Research Help in Academic Libraries Committee
The Research Help in Academic Libraries Committee has designed a needs assessment survey to determine how we can best serve the academic library community. Whether we call it information, research, or reference services, our committee would like to know how to connect and engage interested colleagues on this crucial element of academic libraries.

To this end, please consider taking our quick 5-10 minute anonymous survey at this link – https://bit.ly/3eVDWEt. It will remain open until Monday, June 14.

Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger, Committee Chair, 2020-21

Virtual Reference Services Committee
The Virtual Reference Services Committee has moved our Virtual Reference & Emerging Technology eForum to a new home in ALA Connect! Login and join the “Virtual Reference & Emerging Technology eForum” group. You can find the group here – https://bit.ly/3a7d01P and click the “Join Community” button.

As we move into the summer, our committee wanted to share several self-care and work-life balance tips from our colleagues:

  • Get outside and take a walk, preferably where there are shady trees or near nature, if you can. Practice mindfulness to others and for yourself.
  • Take advantage of your institution’s employee assistance program(s) for counseling, if needed, during this stressful time.
  • Reset your eyes and follow the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, focus on something far away (not your screen) for 20 seconds, then blink 20 times.
  • If you have a “night setting” on your computer, use it to avoid blue light that irritates the eyes and disturbs the nervous system.
  • Carve out some time for yourself during the day, even if it is just a short walk or self-care. Also try to nap, walk, and take 15-minute screen breaks.
  • Setting boundaries is important. Try to keep your “real life” apart from work. Working remotely can invade one’s life with Zoom meetings and reference questions at all hours as it can be very taxing.
  • If working from home, set up a separate space dedicated to work and then “go home” at the end of the day by leaving that space. Set up a space designed as your “remote
    office,” then go take the short commute to your couch or the kitchen to “leave work.”
  • When you are working remotely, set a work schedule and stick to it avoiding “after hours.” Close your laptop or turn off your computer at a set time.

To find out more about our committee, you can click here – https://bit.ly/3wkuDnd.

Melissa Del Castillo, Committee Chair, 2020-21