RUSA History Section Executive Committee

2008 Midwinter Meeting - Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Agnes Widder (Chair), Shelley Arlen, Mary E. Bogan (Recorder), Angela Bonnell, Michelle Enke, David L. Langenberg (Webmaster), David Lincove (Vice Chair), Russell Lynch, Susan Malbin, Mary Mannix, Michelle McNabb, Jeannette Pierce, Ann Reinert, Carla Rickerson, Janice Schultz, Jack Simpson, Jennalyn Tellman, Stephen Young

  1. Approval of Agenda

    The members of the History Section Executive Committee approved the agenda.

  2. Approval of Minutes

    The minutes of the June 23, 2007 and June 27, 2007 meetings were approved with corrections of the spelling of some names.

  3. History Section Dinner

    Agnes Widder made announcements about the History Section Dinner, which would be held at the City Tavern, 138 South 2nd Street on Sunday, January 13 at 6:30 p.m. and which was being subsidized by ProQuest. Twenty-four people registered for the dinner.

  4. David Tyckoson, RUSA President

    David Tyckoson, RUSA President, met with every section. He reported that RUSA is in a healthy state. It is the largest division of ALA which is not a type of library division. There was an increase in RUSA membership in spite of the increase in dues.

    David stated that he wants RUSA to work on three projects:

    • He wants to provide benefits for members who don’t come to ALA conferences. David thinks that the free genealogy workshop on January 10 was great. He reported that there will be an online event in April. David would like to see RUSA sections take programming and share it. He asked to be informed when this is done.
    • David said that there would be a two year experiment in RUSA providing $2000 in funding to help librarians do research in the field of reference which could be presented at a research forum. This would encourage members of RUSA to take a leadership role in the area of research about reference.
    • He wants to pursue how RUSA could work with state and regional library associations.

    David announced that committees can ask for up to $50 for expenses including printing and mailing costs.

    The annual RUSA awards ceremony is being revamped to make it more prestigious.

    He said that he wants the RUSA Board of Directors to be more effective. David wants sections to submit written reports. The agenda of the Board of Directors will be to discuss action items. He stated that there is a lack of communication to sections.

    Neal Wyatt is looking at appointments on the ALA level committees.

    David said that online communities will be discontinued.

    Donavan Vicha is being promoted in ALA. A new technology person will be needed for RUSA.

    There was a brief discussion after David Tyckoson’s remarks. Moodle is being used by ALA for online courses. Jeannette Pierce called attention to the Pew Study on reference. Agnes mentioned an article in a December 2007 issue of the Washington Post.

    There was brainstorming about how to reach those who don’t come to ALA Conferences and how to work with state and regional associations. Notes from the preconference in Washington could be put on the blog. There could be proposals to repeat programming at state associations. Ann Reinert called attention to the lack of RUSA ribbons which can be used as a marketing tool. David Langenberg recommended mounting links, written presentations and visuals on the blog after programs. Podcasts were mentioned. There could be discounts for online courses for librarians who are members of ALA and RUSA. Stephen Young talked about the role of online courses in growing membership and providing benefits to librarians who don’t attend ALA Conferences.

    There was discussion about History Section members who could be recommended to serve on ALA level committees.

  5. Most Pressing Business

    The 40th Anniversary Event at the 2008 ALA Annual Conference was discussed. Stephen reported that the Genealogy Committee would like to invite Megan Smolenyak to speak on DNA in the evening of June 26 after the genealogy preconference. He will request financial support for the speaker from Ancestry. There would be a reception in connection with her presentation. There would be no charge for those attending the event. Stephen will get the information to Agnes and Mary Mannix so a proposal can be submitted for funding from RUSA. He would like to have 40th Anniversary souvenirs like pens or bookmarks. Jeannette recommended 40th Anniversary ribbons.

    Stephen also stated that Kathryn Devine, a member of the Genealogy Committee, is working on the Genealogy Program, “What Can Genealogy Do for Your Library.”

    Mary said that there would also be a panel discussion about genealogy by vendors which is an event not a program. No funds are needed.

    David Langenberg asked what is wanted on the History Section Web page and what should be removed from the web page or handled in a different way. ALA is going to use Collage, a different content management system. Content and links should be reviewed. The History Section’s website should have an initial screen which is more promotional. The good work of the committees is buried. Links from the History Section website to the committees should be more obvious. There should be links to Guides to Local History. The History Section website is constrained by the RUSA Website. Agnes inquired whether there could be graphics.

    Information about programs at the 2008 ALA Annual Conference and the online genealogy course could be added. Content from the genealogy preconference and free workshop at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Conference could be considered for adding to the website. History Section minutes previous to the 2007 ALA Conferences could be archived. Ann said that the ALA Archives is at the University of Illinois. She has minutes and other History Section materials which she will send to the ALA Archives. Jeanette will contact Eric Novotny about sending minutes to Barb Macikas and Mark.

    The History Section Webmaster can’t add minutes to the Website until Collage is available so minutes will need to be forwarded to the RUSA Webmaster.

    There is confusion about who should be receiving different information. Information needs to be better organized. What the History Section Webmaster can do and issues with the websites were discussed.

  6. What Does Our Section Want the RUSA Access to Information Committee To Do?

    David Langenberg is the History Section Liaison to the RUSA Access to Information Committee. There was discussion about what the History Section Webmaster can do, issues with the websites and access to information including RUSA information. The meaning of access and its effects were discussed. A December 11, 2007 Washington Post article entitled “Web Leaders Seek More Searchable Government” was mentioned. Help is needed by people to navigate government websites which are layered and not user friendly. Jack Simpson said that ALA could play an advocacy role regarding free access to government documents. Access shouldn’t be through private companies. David talked about the digitization of government documents. Agnes said that members of RUSA need access to their own division information.

  7. Other Business

    Ann said that she had accidentally used the wrong form to volunteer for the Membership Committee.

    It was mentioned that Bill Buckner’s name was still on the Genealogy Committee Roster as Chair after he no longer served as Chair of that committee.

    Jeanette brought up the membership brochure. Ann stated that Barb wants to do something else with the brochure which has been updated but not revised.

    David Lincove, the Vice Chair of the History Section. inquired which committees need members. He asked chairs to give names of continuing members and members going off the committees as well as numbers of committee members needed to him.

    There was an inquiry about which committees hold programs. The Instruction and Research Services Committee was mentioned.

Meeting adjourned.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Agnes Widder (Chair), Shelley Arlen, Mary E. Bogan (Recorder), Angela Bonnell, David L. Langenberg (Webmaster), David Lincove (Vice Chair), Russell Lynch, Susan Malbin, Mary Mannix, Michelle McNabb, Ann Reinert, Carla Rickerson, Janice Schultz, Kathy Strauss, Jennalyn Tellman, Stephen Young

  1. New Business

    Publicizing the online genealogy class, which will be taught by Jack Simpson, was discussed.

    Agnes Widder said that she thinks punch and cake will be served at all the History Section sessions to commemorate the 40th Anniversary.

    There was a discussion of requesting action by the RUSA Board of Directors for the Genealogy Preconference Planning Committee to host a dessert reception with a speaker at a conference venue or the Anaheim Public Library on Friday June 27 at 7 p.m. $2000 would be needed for the reception. The Genealogy Preconference will be held at the Anaheim Public Library that day. Ancestry will be asked for financial support of the speaker, Megan Smolenyak, who would be invited to speak on DNA. There was a question about whether Agnes could explain to the RUSA Board of Directors before the meeting and get approval without action.

    It was requested that reports be turned in to the History Section Secretary so she could draft the minutes.

  2. Genealogical Publishing Company Award


    Agnes Widder reported for Lou Vyhnanek, who was attending another meeting

    The award will be announced in February.

  3. Genealogy Commitee

    Stephen Young thanked Agnes for her work regarding the proposed reception. He will make a formal request to Ancestry for financial support of the proposed speaker at the reception. Stephen will also contact Kathryn Devine, a member of the Genealogy Committee, for details about the committee’s program.

  4. Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group

    Mary Mannix reported for Curt Witcher, who was unable to attend the conference. The responses to the survey of the attendees at the free genealogy workshop were excellent or very good. She said that we want to do more things like this.

  5. Genealogy Preconference Planning Committee

    Janice Schultz reported that the evaluations for the Genealogy Preconference in Philadelphia were positive. She stated that the Genealogy Boot Camp in Anaheim will feature Elizabeth Shown Mills, Michael Kirley, Russell Lynch and Diana Watkins. Janice said that she will try to get more publicity for the preconference. She reported that two proposals for 2009 ALA Conferences have been approved. Janice said that Mary is the Chair-in-Waiting of the Genealogy Preconference Planning Committee.

  6. Historical Materials Committee

    Shelley Arlen reported that the name of the Historical Materials Committee has been changed to Print Bibliographies and Websites Committee. A number of print bibliographies and websites were discussed by the committee. The discussion will be continued by e-mail. The fall issue of RUSQ will include the bibliography. The Executive Committee discussed the criteria for selection, how information about the print bibliographies and websites is gathered, how assessments are made and how balance is achieved.

  7. History Librarians Discussion Group

    Susan Malbin reported that the group had an excellent forum and will publish the results on the Website. Three people attended the meeting who are interested in joining the discussion group. It was reported that ALCTS is reducing the number of discussion groups in that division.

  8. History Section Nominating Committee

    Ann Reinert reported that the Committee had completed its work. Janice Schultz and Kathy Strauss were nominated as candidates for the position of Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect. Jennalyn Tellman and Dr. Greg Eow are candidates for Member-at-Large.

  9. Instruction and Research Services Committee

    Angela Bonnell reported on the Instruction and Research Services Committee’s plans for the program at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference. The program will cover unleashing the undigitized, establishing successful collaboration with teaching faculty and re-contextualizing History in a digital age. She announced that 2009 is the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln. There was a discussion by the Executive Committee about the Bylaws and the number of people needed to serve on different committees. The Bibliographies and Indexes Committee and the Instruction and Research Services Committee could have used more members.

  10. Local History Committee

    Russell Lynch reported that the Committee is interested in a workshop or forum on training to create local history digital collections at the 2009 Midwinter Conference. It will be a workshop or a forum not a program. It could be held at the committee’s meeting with the time of the meeting extended. A speaker would need to be found. He will contact Curt about working with the Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group on this workshop or forum.

  11. RUSA Access to Information Committee

    David Langenberg reported that the committee discussed what is meant by access and access to government information. There was also a discussion about the product of the committee. RSS has a Wiki which contains all access statements. Access problems are being collated.

  12. RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee

    Mary Mannix reported that the Committee approved two programs which were kicked back by the RUSA Board of Directors. There was discussion about how to spend $2000 which was available for Anaheim. May 16 is the deadline for proposals for 2009 ALA Conferences.

  13. RUSA Membership Committee

    Ann Reinert reported on the Open House for New Members which turned out to be more for old members since few members or prospective members attended. She also talked about the Ambassador Project to Library Schools and the Emerging Leaders Program for which BRASS has a guide. Videos for recruiting new members are in the planning stage. Ann discovered that Eileen will send us the names of new members if we request the information. Some sections have programs to welcome new members. Agnes or some one appointed by Agnes could welcome them. Some sections send letters to people who have left a section or people who renew membership in a section. WESS sends letters to people in those two categories and new members.
    Agnes remarked that marketing is bigger. She will talk to David Tyckoson about getting the information about membership without having to pay for it.

  14. RUSA Nominating Committee

  15. RUSA Organization Committee

    Carla Rickerson reported that the RUSA Wiki and the ALA Wiki were discussed. Brochures are being put on the Wiki instead of being printed. Printing of brochures should be a topic for the RUSA Board of Directors. Brochures should be an action item. There was discussion about the use of the RUSA budget related to recruiting new members, brochures and ribbons. The lack of brochures affects membership in the sections. The History Section wants printed materials to distribute for recruiting. Ribbons could be paid for by a line item in the budget or the endowment.

    There were discussions of section reviews for committees, restructuring of RUSA committees, the Report of the Task Force on Membership Recruitment, and the review of the RUSA Guide to Policies and Procedures. Agnes stated that she wants the RUSA Organization Committee to be responsible for keeping RUSA on track. She talked about the importance of strategic planning.

  16. RUSA Planning and Finance Committee

    David Lincove reported on the Planning and Finance Committee. Large reserves had been built up for programs or projects. Budget requests for 2008/2009 need to be submitted by May 1. $50 per year is available for sections or committees.


    A History Section goal is membership. The cost of brochures was discussed. Five hundred or more brochures could be distributed at programs, the preconference and the dessert reception at Anaheim. More brochures could be used for the 2009 ALA Midwinter Conference in Denver.

    There was a discussion of needing to go through the RUSA Office first if funding from vendors is sought. The question about whether the History Section had ever paid for new members’ meals at the History Dinner was discussed. WESS has paid for new members for a cruise at three ALA Conferences.

    Requesting more money for programs and projects was discussed. Agnes said that non-librarian speakers could be considered. There could be proposals for new uses of funds other than conference proposals. Membership promotion was mentioned. Agnes suggested payment for meals for new History Section members at the History Section Dinner at the 2008 ALA Annual Conference. David Lincove brought up the availability of money for membership promotion at the 2008 ALA Annual Conference in connection with the 40th Anniversary. He also wondered what period of time is involved in defining a new member if we get a list of new members for that conference.

  17. Professional Development Committee

    Susan Malbin reported that Carla Rickerson will be succeeding Michelle McNabb as a member-at-large. Library Support Staff Certification was discussed. There was discussion about the history of the online genealogy course being offered without review by the Professional Development Committee.

  18. RUSA Publications

    Jennalyn Tellman reported on the changing role of the RUSA Publications Committee and the RUSA website. The committee is in flux. RUSA used to publish Occasional Papers. Paper publications are to be discouraged. RSQ has its own editorial board.

    Each section has control over pages on the RUSA website. A section could have joint space with another section on the RUSA website. Stephen suggested having photos of committee members on the website. The History Section does not have a publicity committee. There was a question about whether the History Section wants to publish. David said that it takes three years to create a committee. The bylaws need to be changed. Having a sub-committee was suggested. David Langenberg said that there could be web sub-masters under him. The need for academic librarians to publish in print format for promotion and tenure was mentioned. There are publications which should remain in print.

  19. RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee

    Susan Malbin reported on the RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee, whose meeting she can attend at the 2008 ALA Annual Conference. Russell Lynch will attend the committee meeting at the 2009 ALA Midwinter Conference.

    Agnes sent reasons to Eileen Hardy about why Guidelines for Editors of Historical and Genealogical Bulletins and Family Newsletters as well as Guidelines for Preservation, Conservation and Restoration of Local History and Local Genealogical Materials should be sunsetted. Eileen said that both will be sunsetted.

  20. RUSA Board of Directors

    Agnes Widder reported on the Board of Directors meeting on January 12. Objectives for the RUSA Strategic Plan will be updated. CODES requested that each section should have a budget line item to hold an event. Carla commented on differentiating between events and programs as well as the need for a definition of an event. Events shouldn’t conflict with programs.


    David Tyckoson is emphasizing research on reference. It was recommended that the History Librarians Discussion Group could devote 30-45 minutes to presentations on research in reference in History with peer feedback. Money could be sought to help finance a person’s research. There could be a request for funds for refreshments in connection with these presentations.

    David Tyckoson is also advocating more connections between RUSA and state and regional library associations. It was mentioned that the Missouri and Texas Library Associations have History Round Tables. State organizations could be contacted to see which organizations have best practices. Connections with History Day and state history associations were mentioned. Janice said that the Chair of History Day in Missouri is a librarian. There could be a discussion item at the next meeting of the Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group.


    David Tyckoson is also seeking ideas for content for online events for RUSA members who can’t come to ALA Conferences. It was suggested that a webinar could be held with a discussion about Websites. Susan recommended posting a list of such websites online. Use of the Wiki was also mentioned.

    Neal Wyatt would like more functional links to the RUSA Board of Directors and liaisons. Other items to be considered are reorganization of RUSA Committees, awards, organization, budgets, access to information, committee work being more transparent, RUSA Committees and appointments, continuity on committees, and section representatives. Five of six proposals regarding Emerging Leaders were chosen. The revised definition of reference was adopted.

    There was a question about whether the Executive Committee wants to do field work with a grant of $500 to develop a course related to competencies. A permanent slot for readers advisory was mentioned.
    Attendance in Philadelphia is 10,282; attendance in Seattle was 9,160. There was discussion about the exhibit area. Campaigning by candidates for ALA offices was also discussed. There was discussion of the revised definition of reference.

  21. ABC Clio Online History Award Committee

    David Lincove reported that he, Phoebe Janes, Jennalyn, and Denver Compton, who is the vendor representative, are the committee members. The Committee will begin work by the end of the summer. They could use another committee member. The work of the committee members and chair was explained. Possible candidates for committee membership were discussed. Susan will e-mail information about some people who attended the History Librarians Discussion Group, who could be possible candidates, to David Lincove and Agnes.

  22. Other Business

    There was discussion about research competencies. ACRL has Research Competency Guidelines for Literatures in English. There are also Research Guidelines in American History. SAILS has standardized assessment of student incomes including a component for history. Angela recommended that the Executive Committee discuss the issue of research competencies again. The American Historical Association website was mentioned as a source for information regarding research competencies.

    The obituary for Norma Cormack was circulated during the meeting.

Meeting adjourned.