2007 Annual Minutes

American Library Association
Reference and User Services Association
Reference Services Section

Management of Reference Committee (MOR)
Minutes of the Meetings

Annual Conference 2007
Washington, D.C.

1st meeting – RSS All Committee Meeting
Saturday (23 June 2007)

Hotel Washington - Ballroom
8:00 am – 8:45 am (RSS open house)
8:45 am – 10:00 am (committee meetings)

2nd meeting
Sunday (24 June 2007)

Marriott at Metro Center - Potomac
10:30 am – noon


Members present: John Stratton, Christine Stempinski, Elizabeth (Betsy) Park (2007-2008 chair), Pamela Morgan (on Saturday at another RSS meeting), Jane Kessler, Elizabeth Doolittle, Wendy Diamond, Larayne Dallas (2006-2007 chair and recorder), Nancy Cunningham (at a conflicting session on Saturday).

Members absent: Christine Menard and Kim Leaming

Visitors
: In-coming members: William Weare and Emilie Smart at both meetings and Gail Egbers on Saturday. Danielle Theiss-White on Saturday. Susan Neuman on Sunday. The names of at least one other Sunday visitor was probably lost in a hotel snafu involving the attendance sheet and other notes.

Discussion:
(Saturday)
A Reference Services Section welcome-to-the-section began the morning. At the start of the committee’s meeting time, members introduced themselves. Betsy Park was introduced as the 2007-2008 chair of the committee. The current chair briefly described the recent work of the committee, including the most successful effort, the revision of the RUSA guideline document, Guidelines for Behavioral Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers. Other projects had not gathered momentum, though a reading list for new managers (with work begun after the Annual 2006 conference) seemed to be showing promise.

One past (and perhaps on-going) effort had been to build on the committee’s success with the Guidelines and to publicize them. Participants mentioned examples of use and made some suggestions for how the committee might investigate use, but consensus was that a majority hoped for another sort of project to pursue.

The group went back to a topic of interest discussed prior to the convening of the meeting. Various participants had expressed concern about the challenge of maintaining high quality reference service while dealing with so many forces seeming to work against quality. Producing a conference program seemed one useful effort. Beyond spurring discussion at a conference, speaker’s remarks could be made available more widely. The reading list could also be tied to a program. The planning timeline would mean that a formal conference program could be offered no sooner than Annual 2009. The group considered the possibility of having a session in the nearer future by partnering with a discussion group or by using a committee meeting slot as an advertised time for discussion. These less-formal sessions could be held as soon as Midwinter 2008. Conversation and planning was expected to continue at the next day’s meeting.

Also, the current chair reminded the group of the conference program , “Is the Learning Commons Enough? ---Asking the Better Questions.” Thanks to a reminder from RSS chair, Susan Beck, she was planning to take RUSA and RSS membership brochures to the event. The Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) Buildings and Equipment Section’s (BES) Library Interiors, Furnishing and Equipment (LIFE) Committee sponsored the program, with co-sponsorship by the Reference Services Section. The Management of Reference Committee served as liaison for the section.

Follow-up tasks:
Larayne Dallas – check on use of committee meeting slots for program-like events.

(Sunday) After introductions, the current chair announced the new RUSA Toolkit, a Wiki linked from the RUSA homepage and provided to give members another way to find forms and other information from the ALA web pages.

The current chair highlighted topics from the previous day’s meeting and reported on what she had learned about using a committee meeting slot for a discussion session or information-gathering session. This usage is considered acceptable and a committee may request three meeting slots, if desired. She had also learned that RSS leaders were not aware of programs for Annual 2009 being developed for RSS sponsorship and were hoping that some would be proposed – perhaps meaning an opportunity for Management of Reference to sponsor a program.

Pam Morgan described to the group an area in which she thought the committee could provide support for reference management. While working on a book for publication, she had searched for recent literature on policy and procedure manuals for reference departments and found little. Group members showed enthusiasm for helping fill a gap. Discussion led to the idea of preparing a “template for a reference policy.” Some hoped for guideline status for the proposed document but there was some doubt about the ability to reach that status, and even a committee-recommended guide (without the endorsement of an official guideline) seemed useful. Jane Kessler volunteered to set up a Wiki so that Pam Morgan could post and share the materials she had gathered, and so that other work could be posted as it was available. (Pam remembered a Wiki set up for the committee about two years before and she planned to check on its status.) Having the Wiki available for public view was mentioned as a possible service to the library community. Wendy Diamond will coordinate the work timeline. Nancy Cunningham will post to LibRef-L asking for those who have recently updated manuals to share their work. The hope was to have good work accomplished by Midwinter 2008. Jane Kessler encouraged members to think of the “Template” and other committee projects as part of a possible “Toolkit” for managers.

No firm decision was reached on the best course for planning a conference program or discussion (or both), but William Weare (coordinator), Emilie Smart, Chris Stempinski, and John Stratton agreed to form an exploratory group.

Briefly, committee members discussed preferred meetings times – without coming to a clear consensus for a second meeting -- for the next conference and then adjourned.

Follow-up tasks for the policy manual project:
Wendy Diamond – coordinate timetable.
Pam Morgan – post materials discovered during research process.
Nancy Cunningham – post to LibRef-L asking for sharing of recently updated manuals.
Jane Kessler – Set up Wiki.
Committee / all members -- suggest appropriate sections for the template.
Betsy Park – help coordinate and ask committee members to participate.

Follow-up tasks for the program/discussion project:
William Weare (coordinator), Emilie Smart, Chris Stempinski, and John Stratton – investigate options and make recommendations.