Midwinter minutes 2009

COMMITTEE: RSS - Management of Reference


DATES: 1/24/09; 1/25/09

EMAIL: esmart@ebr.lib.la.us

MEMBERS PRESENT: Kelly Barrick, William Weare, Betsy Park, Emilie Smart

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Lori Thornton, John Stratton, Kirsten Kinsley, Holly McCullough,
Jane Kessler (virtual member)

VISITORS: 1/24/09: 3 visitors; 1/25/09: 20 participants

1/24: general meeting/discussion of projects
1/25: Open Discussion Session:  Embracing the Reference Desk

1/24/09 -- The Committee met generally to discuss ongoing projects and to prepare
for the discussion session.  The Chair of Adult Services came by to discuss our
co-sponsorship of their annual program.  We will be setting up a social networking
site as a follow-up venue for their program on disengaging the talkative patron.

1/25/09 -- The Committee held a very lively discussion of the reference desk as
"place."  Participants, both public and academic librarians, talked about the
physical desk and whether it is still a viable model in an environment of
consultation rather than quick answer reference work.  Everyone agreed that a mobile
desk concept would better serve both patrons and staff.

EVALUATION:  The all-committee meeting was productive, although we are concerned
with the poor attendance of our members.  The second meeting/open discussion was
very successful.  The turnout was better than anticipated.

PROBLEMS:  Only one member (Holly McCullough) contacted me prior to the conference
that she would not be able to attend due to budget cuts at her institution.
Post-conference, the other members contacted about their absences.  Kirsten Kinsley
and Lori Thornton were unable to attend due to budget cuts.  Lori will not be able
to attend annual and may not be able to attend either conference for 2 years.
Kirsten says that she will attend annual conference.  John Stratton said that he had
spent his travel allowance attending other conferences and would not be at annual
unless his proposal was accepted.  Kelley Barrick will not be at annual due to a
prior committment.

RECOMMENDATIONS:  I'm not sure what to do about attendance -- especially since
institutional budget cuts are the deciding factor for the lack.  The committee
cannot function with only 3 members attending.  I am not confident that a virtual
committee is the answer; however, I am willing to give that model a try.